Formal education in Mizoram started with the arrival of Christian missionaries. The Christian Missionaries introduced the Roman scripts in 1894 with a phonetic form of spelling. They started opening schools in few villages, such as Khawrihnim, Phulpui and Chhingchhip 1901. In 1903, three more schools were opened and seven more in the next year. In 1909, the first ever Middle Schools were opened in Aizawl and Serkawn respectively. In 1944, the first High School was started in Aizawl by public donations. The opening of High School marked a new epoch of event in the educational progress in the hilly area, now called Mizoram.
For more than half a century, i.e. from 1895 to 1952, Elementary Education was looked after by Christian Mission through Honorary Inspector of Schools. During the period between 1953 and1972, the management of Primary Education was in the hand of District Council. When Mizoram became Union Territory in 1972, the administration and management of Elementary Education, i.e. Primary & Middle School was transferred to the Government. Since then there has been phenomenal growth quantitatively.
The educational progress in the post independent period is quite remarkable. The progress was due to the joint efforts of the government and active participation of the community. The first five decades of the 20th century shows the expansion and steady consolidation of the first level of education and beginning of the second level. The Directorate of Education was established in the year 1972. The various wings of the department were streamlined and strengthened with state level officers, as respective head of offices. These are (a) General Administration (b) State Social Welfare Officer, (c) Science Promotion Officer (d) Senior Research Officer (e) Special Officer (Scouts and Guides & Sports and Games) (f) Joint Director Adult Education (g) Curator of State Museum. Apart from this, the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC), Middle School Leaving Certificate (MSLC) and Primary School Leaving Certificate (PSLC) were under the Inspector of Schools until the Mizoram Board of School Education (MBSE) was established in 1976. State Council of Educational Research & Training (SCERT) Wing was established in 1980. Social Welfare Wing was established as a separate Directorate in the year 1984. Later, the Sports Wing was also established as a separate Directorate in the year 1986. In 1989, the Department was trifurcated into 3(three) directorates namely, Directorate of School Education, Directorate of Higher & Technical Education and Directorate of Art & Culture. In the year 2008, SCERT with District Institute of Education & Training (DIET) combined became a separate Department.
It may be said Mizoram is a late starter in the field of general education. Starting with a literacy rate of 0.9% in 1901 census, 88.49% in 2001 census, Mizoram has now achieved a literacy rate of 91.58% in 2011 census. The School Education Department has a vowed aim to achieve 100% literacy through the project known as Rapid Action for Total Literacy Campaign. Effort is on to raise the literacy percentage through this project.
Mention may be made in rapid growth of various institutions few years ago. The community established schools and colleges with their own resources. Later on such institutions were taken over by the Government on merit of the case. The zeal and enthusiasm of the community in establishing and opening of educational institutions is quite encouraging.
The Directorate of School Education located at Mc Donald Hill, Zarkawt, Aizawl looks after Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Higher Secondary Education, Adult Education, Hindi Education and Physical Education within the State. The Department is headed by the Director who is assisted by 1 (one) Additional Director, 2 Joint Directors and 7 Deputy Directors.
The Elementary Education in the State consists of Primary Schools from Class I to IV as Lower Primary and from Class V to VII as Upper Primary Schools. From the year 2011 academic session, Class VIII which used to be one of the components of Secondary Schools has been shifted to Middle Schools so that the Elementary structure is now from Class I to VIII. As of today, there are 1950 Primary Schools with 8330 Teachers having 159334 students; there are 1511 Middle Schools with 10159 Teachers having 93277 students.
The Secondary Education consists of High Schools (Class IX and X) and Higher Secondary Schools (Class XI and XII). The Higher Secondary Schools came into existence only in the year 1996 when the Pre-University class equivalent to Class XI & XII was shifted from Colleges to Schools. As of today, there are 614 High Schools with 4394 Teachers having 41534 students; there are 138 Higher Secondary Schools with 1536 Teachers having 22986 students.
The Adult Education Wing at the Directorate of School Education is headed by Joint Director of Adult Education. It has 3 (three) District Offices who look after the entire State in connection to literacy. These offices are headed by District Adult Education Officers (DAEOs) who in turn are supported by Circle Adult Education Officers (CAEOs):-
1) Aizawl East District Adult Education Office to look after eastern parts of Aizawl District, Serchhip District and Champhai District
2) Aizawl West District Adult Education Office to look after western parts of Aizawl District, Kolasib District and Mamit District
3) Lunglei District Adult Education Office to look after Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Saiha Districts
The main objective of the Wing is to promote Literacy in the State. As a result of concerted efforts of the Wing and support from the community, the State could achieve 95.34% literacy (Departmental Assessment 2015).
The following activities are carried out to promote literacy in the State.
a) Each one teach one: This scheme is one of the most important and effective factor to attain higher literacy rate in the State. Most of the illiterate adults are cultivators spending most of their day times at Jhum. Also many illiterates are house wives, busy with small babies or with domestic chores. In order to achieve higher literacy, a scheme each-one-teach-one was introduced in 1990. A village Education committee was formed in every village under the chairmanship of Village Council President. The committee conducts adult illiterate survey, identify volunteers, matching of animator and learners and arrange suitable place for training/teaching. An honorarium of Rs 100 is given to each animator for making one illiterate person illiterate. One animator is allowed to teach a maximum of 5 (five) illiterates at a time. An incentive award is also given to all new literates in the form of books. The fruitful result of this scheme can be seen as there was a rapid rise in literacy percentage in the state.
b) Continuing Education: The central Government directly introduced a new scheme called “Continuing education” in the year 1997 – 1998 under Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for 40 Nodal Continuing Education Centres (NCEC) and 360 Continuing Education Centres (CEC). Each nodal and continuing education centre has one Prerak and one Asst. Prerak. The scheme is mainly for neo-literates and School drop outs for retention of their literacy competencies, continuation of learning beyond elementary literacy and application of this learning for improving their living conditions,etc.. A massive literacy campaign was launched during 1990 – 1991. Most of the inhabitants of Mizoram speak one language called Mizo dialect and also they are living in a society which is free from discrimination.This is a big advantage which certainly paved the way in spreading literacy in Mizoram. The activities taken up under this scheme are: equivalency programme (EP), Income Generating Programme (IGP), Vocational Training Programme (VTP), Quality of Life Improvement Programme (QLIP) and Individual Interest Promotion Programme (IIPP).
c) Literacy: In order to prevent relapsing of Neo-literates and inculcate awareness, spreading of knowledge to neo-literates and local youths, a small library is maintained in each Nodal Continuing Educational Centre. The Adult Education Wing published a good number of books and booklets meant for neo-literate adults, school drop outs, as well as local youths. The wing also publishes regularly a literary monthly magazine called “Meichher” in Mizo language since March 1975 till date.
A noteworthy initiative of the Wing is the Rapid Action for Total Literacy Campaign which was launched in December 2010 to achieve number 1 position in Literacy Rate in the whole country. Through the Campaign, identified areas of the State with larger numbers of illiterates have been intensively covered. The main focus of this campaign is the illiterates in 3 districts i.e Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Mamit.
Propagation of Hindi Language is considered very important for a non-Hindi speaking State like Mizoram. Therefore, there is a separate Hindi Propagation Wing in the Directorate of School Education headed by Deputy Director. The Hindi Education is imparted in Schools from Class V to IX.
As per the records, there were only 44 posts of Hindi Teachers before Mizoram attained the status of Union Territory in 1972. Scheme of Propagation of Hindi in Mizoram has been in operation since 1973 – 1974. At present, there are 1108 number of Hindi Teacher posts maintained under the Directorate of School Education.
Physical Education Wing is established back in the under 1973 under Education Department and the wing is headed by Physical Education Officer. When the Sports & Youth Services Department was created by the Govt. of Mizoram in the year 1986 Physical Education Wing, Scout & Guides Wing and Coaching Wing were transferred to Sports Department. But, due to inconveniences in the field of duty as all the activities of Physical Education Wing are related to School going children and teacher, the Physical Education Wing is transferred back to its parent Department in the year 1993.
Since then, the wing is looking after all the Sports and Physical Education Programme for School going children like Zonal Sports for Primary and Middle Schools, Mizoram Secondary School Games, Mizoram Higher Secondary School Games, as annual features. Apart from these State programmes it also handles the National School Games Programme, sending School going children to participate in the National School Games in various Sports disciplines every year, bagging Medals as many as 19 Gold, 19 Silver and 46 Bronze till 2016-2017 sessions.
Further, this wing also sent two football players in the International Competition namely Zomuanthanga (RIP) and Vanlalnghaka Ralte to represent India School Football Team in the Asian School Football Championship held at Darusalam, Brunei and Bautou, China in the year 1986 and 2015 respectively. And also Pu Zoliana Royte, the then Physical Education Officer and Pu H. Sanglura, Cirlce Physical Education Officer were appointed as Deputy Manager and Manager of the Indian School Football Team in the Asian Schools Football Championship at Jakarta, Indonesia in 1981 and Bautou, China in 2015 respectively.
Apart from these Sports Programmes for School going children, it also imparts Teachers Training in Physical Education for Primary to High School Teachers. And sending of B.P..Ed. trainees to a recognised Physical Education College is also looked after by the this Wing.
1 District Education Offices (DEOs): For administrative control and convenience, the School Education is having 8 District Education Offices in each of the eight District capitals. These Offices are looked after and manned by District Education Officer who looks after and has control over all Secondary Education including Higher Secondary Education in the District.
List of District Education Offices:
1). District Education Office, Aizawl
2). District Education Office, Lunglei
3). District Education Office, Champhai
4). District Education Office, Kolasib
5). District Education Office, Serchhip
6). District Education Office, Mamit
7). District Education Office, Siaha
8). District Education Office, Lawngtlai
2 Sub-Divisional Education Offices (SDEOs): The Department is looking after 19 (nineteen) Sub-Educational Divisions under the charged of Sub-Divisional Education Officers, namely
1). SDEO Aizawl East
2). SDEO Aizawl South
3). SDEO Aizawl South
4). SDEO Darlawn
5). SDEO Saitual
6). SDEO Lunglei North
7). SDEO Lunglei South
8). SDEO Lungsen
9). SDEO Hnahthial
11) SDEO Khawzawl
12) SDEO Kolasib
13) SDEO Kawnpui
14) SDEO Serchhip
15) SDEO North Vanlaiphai
16) SDEO Thenzawl
17) SDEO Mamit
18) SDEO West Phaileng
19) SDEO Kawrthah
Three Autonomous District Councils in the state, such as Lai Autonomous District Council, Mara Autonomous District Council and Chakma Autonomous District Council look after Elementary Education within their respective jurisdictions.