Imphal: With his new tag “National Awardee” Ningthoujam Binoy Singh, headmaster-in-charge of a local government upper primary school stands tall and gives big smiles to the people of the placid Keibul Lamjao, his native village in Manipur’s Bishnupur district.

Located close to the famous Keibul Lamjao National Park, the largest floating wildlife park of the world and home to the rare and endangered brow antlered deer, locally known as Sangai, the school shines bright with new building construction though a finishing touch is due.

Singh is the power behind upgrading the once neglected and shabby Chingmei Primary School, Keibul Lamjao with a just 5 students’ strength to an upper primary school with a staggering 232 students with sufficient teachers and now the school becomes an attractive and popular study centre for the people of the area. The dedicated teacher is also currently providing education in his school to around 20 students who are putting up at 4 nearby relief camps owing to the unceasing ethnic strife. He provided free school uniforms and study materials to the displaced students.

Acknowledging his massive contribution towards an overall development in the field of education, Singh along with 74 teachers from across the nation was honoured with the prestigious National Teachers’ Award 2023. President Draupadi Murmu gave away the awards to them at a grand ceremony at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on the occasion of Teachers’ Day on September 5.

“I’m happy with the award. This is the prize of my humble contribution towards developing education in my village. This is not the end as my journey to uplift education is still on. My target is to make the young generation of Keibul and nearby literate,” Binoy said on Saturday.

Recounting his journey of his teaching profession, a soft-spoken Singh said he joined the Chingmei Primary School, of his own village Keibul Lamjao as an assistant teacher in 2002.

“That time the school was in bad shape. It’s walls were broken, all furniture items were old and grungy and the floor was not tidy. Moreover, there were only five students and three teachers, including me,” the benevolent teacher said.

“On seeing the poor condition of the school, people of our village sent their children to private schools spending a hefty amount of money. With the primary target to develop our school, I made up my mind and got my school repaired and bought new furniture items from my own money,” he added.

Then he engaged five teachers from nearby private schools after giving a slightly bigger salary than what they got, Singh continued.

“On seeing the changes of our school with 8 teachers and its repaired structure, parents and guardians of our village and nearby areas began sending their children gradually to our school which had classes from 1 to 5,” continued Singh.

For students who belonged to economically deprived families, he provided study materials and uniforms free of cost, and this had attracted more students to his school, Singh said, adding that during annual school excursions, he also provided the total expenditure from his pocket.

Apart from this, he also managed to bring in drop out students of this village to his school.

“Having noticed our efforts in shaping up our school and upon our request, the then schools education director Th Kirankumar Singh was kind enough to upgrade our school to Upper Primary School (from classes 1 to 8) in 2018,” he continued.

“Our respectable Sir Kirankumar, who is the present deputy commissioner of Imphal West district knew our efforts and straightaway recommended for the up gradation ,” he asserted.

Now, the Chingmei Upper primary school he groomed has 232 students and 16 teachers of which 7 are regular, 4 on contract basis and 5 are engaged ones, he said. (DIPR)

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