Although the contributions made by Manipuri women in many social issues like Nupi Lan, drive against drug abuse and alchohol etc was tremendous, the status of these women was not favourable. Women were not free in society then. With an aim to show that women folk too can do something unique for the society, Macha Leima School was established in 1972. It is run by only women-from the post of Headmistress to teachers, LDC and peon are women. Not a single man is employed as staff in the school. Woman empowerment is the main objective behind Macha Leima.
H. Borkeinya Devi, President of the Macha Leima School Society who is the management authority of the Macha Leima School shares about the school in a recent interaction with Manipur Times.
MACHA LEIMA is the acronym of Manipur Chanura Leishem Marup, one of the oldest woman social organisation in Manipur. The school located at Palace compound is managed by the Macha Leima school society which all its executive members are also women.
Macha Leima School, a co-educational Institute is located at Palace Compound, Pakhangba Pukhri. About 300 students study in the school. The school has staff strength of 25. The Land of the school was donated by the then titular king of Manipur Maharaja Okendrajit Singh. Under the great patronage of some dedicated founders like R.K Ranendrajit, NK Sanajaoba, Shantibala wife of RK Ranendrajit and some others, the school was founded in 1972.
The Present Manipur titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba himself studied in this school from class nursery. The name of the school was called National KG School. Later on, it was renamed as Macha Leima School. Initially, the school did not have its own premise, it was taught in the courtyard of a founder member. The then school founders approached Manipur King Maharaja Okendrajit Singh to provide a piece of land for the purpose of setting up the school. The king complied with their request and donated the Pakhangba Pukhri (Pond of Pakhangba) located inside the royal palace of Manipur. The Pakhangba Pukhri was filled with earth and the school was constructed there, recalled Borkeinya, a senior member of Macha Leima.
“The school was not established with a commercial point of view but to impart quality education to the students. The school aims at imparting the kind of education with a view to bring out well-disciplined students so that they can stand on their own feet in their life struggle, she observed.
Development of a nation depends on equality between man and woman. A nation will not develop until there is equality in the society. In the past, Manipuri women were kept under strict parental supervision. Our society used to consider a woman or a girl coming back home late in bad light. To promote the status of the then Manipuri women, an organisation called Manipuri Chanura Leishem Marup (MACHA LEIMA) was founded on April 21, 1969 by a group of like-minded women who dedicated themselves for the upliftment of woman status in Manipur. It is the oldest women organisation in Manipur which started its venture to work for the cause of woman empowerment. They started involving in many social issues like protection of women from domestic violence, safeguarding rights of the women. In 1972, they decided to set up a private school which was to be run by only women to show women’s might in the society. The members of Macha Leima published a Journal called “Macha Leima” and sold them to raise funds.
The school opened from class nursery to class V in the initial years. After some years it was upgraded upto class VIII. In 2000, Class IX and X were upgraded and got recognition from the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur. Now pre-Nursery class has also been included in the school. Since affiliation to Manipur Board, the school has brought out good students who in turn have become IAS, MCS officers, doctors and many other who have been successful in their life career.
Ms. Hidam Ongbi Sajana Devi, Asst. Headmistress of the school told Manipur Times that although the Macha Leima School has been one of the oldest private schools in Manipur, the school is not able to bring out even a single position holders except some first divisions in the HSLC examination conducted by the Manipur Board so far since its affiliation to Manipur board in 2004. However, the teachers are putting in their best effort to bring out more meritorious and well-disciplined students from the school. In coming years, it is expected that some position holders will be brought out by the school.
“Most students studying in the school are from broken and poor families. These children lack parental attention. Only teaching in the school cannot promote the knowledge of the children without parents. Students whose parents are government officers, big businessman are sent to the popular private schools which exorbitant tuition fees and get proper attention. As a result of this, students reading in these popular schools secure good results in the HSLC examinations in the state. It is not a tough job for the teachers of the school to bring out position holders, if only they can get the co-operation from the parents concerned. We have many well trained and expert teachers”, she observed.
Regarding the facilities provided by the school, she said that the school has six computers to provide computer education to the students. Rank holders in the annual school promotional examination are exempted from admission fee. One child out of three children is exempted from monthly tuition fees while one child out of two is charged with only half tuition fee. For improving the knowledge of the children, special free coaching class sponsored by the school is conducted twice a year i.e. during the summer vacation and winter vacation.