Mizoram’s Devotion to Education

Mizoram continues to make headlines due to its disaccord with the centre on the issue of refugee influx from Bangladesh and Myanmar, and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from the Indian State of Manipur. As of 10th October 2023,  the state hosts around 72,000 refugees—12,600 IDPs from the violence hit Manipur and about 60,000 refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar (Hindustan Times), and the number continues to surge.

Despite having to deal with the monumental tasks of shouldering the influx of these refugees and IDPs, the state was able to assemble its resources to successfully conduct the general election in November 2023. The task accomplished without firing a single bullet—an embodiment of a peaceful state. Furthermore, with narrow and meandering roads amidst the steep hills, the state is also recognised for its strict adherence to traffic rules—following the ‘no overtaking’, 'no honking' civic etiquette by all motorists. This is one feature that sets Mizoram apart from the other Indian states. According to a recent study conducted by a Gurugram-based firm, Mizoram is also ranked the happiest state in the country. A commendable achievement that deserves all plaudits. To me, these are simply the manifestations of a learned discipline fostered by high-quality education.

Let me cut to the chase: when the dominant Meitei community in Manipur orchestrated an ethnic pogrom against the minority Kuki-Zos on May 3, 2023, hundreds of IDPs arrived in Mizoram. The State was a natural destiny due to the Kuki-Zos' strong familial ties and bonding with the Mizos of Mizoram. The Mizos, being the kind-hearted people that they are, went above and beyond any protocol to welcome the IDPs from Manipur. The government, from Chief Minister Zoramthanga to Rajya Sabha MP Vanlalvena, was quick to respond to the SoS in that critical hour. Not only were over 12,300 internally displaced persons from violence-torn Manipur given humanitarian relief, but all displaced students were also given free education. Till date in a remarkable display of humanitarian commitment, the Mizoram government has enrolled over 8,000 children from Myanmar, Bangladesh, and strife-torn Manipur in its schools. The apex student body of the Mizos—Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Mizo Students’ Association) and several other CSOs and Philanthropic Organisations came to the forefront in lending a helping hand to those that are critically in need of succour. 

According to the 2011 Census, Mizoram has the third highest literacy rate among Indian states and union territories, trailing only Kerala and Lakshadweep. Mizoram at 91.33 per cent has the highest literacy rate among all of India's eight Northeastern states; Tripura follows in second, with 87.75 percent. The state is also on the verge of being the second in the country to achieve 100 percent literacy rate. Mizoram University founded in 2001 at the 76th position is one of the only three universities in the Northeast to make it to top 100 as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) by the Ministry of Education. All these remarkable achievements have been attained within 37 years of its existence as a State in 1986, a lesson that a young state with just 11 lakh population has taught 142.8 crore Indians. This is in concurrence with India’s commitment to Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) 2009, and National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 that strives to ensure equitable access to the highest-quality education for all learners regardless of social and economic background. Further, this will also improve India's commitment towards the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4) which aims to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all."

Mizoram has travelled a long and winding road to get to where it is now. It has clearly proven to all other Indian states that right moral education and good governance are the best antidote to keep corruption at bay. Despite its youth, Mizoram has demonstrated that regardless of stature, one can be a beacon of hope with the impartation of the right education. The state has risen above adversity and placed itself on a pedestal for all to see. A feat that every Mizo should be proud of. Maintaining existing progress, on the other hand, will be a monumental task that will demand the tenacity and perseverance of all Mizos. 


Thangminlal Doungel, 

Research Scholar, NIEPA

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