An Eye Towards Modern Education? IMKÜMRA
Communities cannot close their [youth] eyes to the future by denying the validity of their concerns … where the link between the young people and the leaders is broken, a future negotiated only by politicians and elders will last only as long as those people stay in control. Then who will lead the communities? Alfred Taiaiake A FRAMEWORK Education is neither a valuefree activity nor a value-free process. It is value laden and stands to mould human behavior, human responses to the various elements of life and shapes society’s discourses towards an intended direction. It is therefore, no wonder that colonial powers in their pursuit for power and expansionism imposed their own colonial forms of education and institutions which were used as tools of oppression from which former colonized nations continue to suffer. i The power of critical thinking and developing consciousness is perceived as a threat to power monopolies, and in response, the ‘powers that be’ have consciously attempted to ensure that they promote educational policies that will only serve their interests. This imperialistic strategy that seeks to strip and deny a peoples’ capacity to be makers of their own culture was expressed by Steve Biko who warned that ‘the most potent weapons in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.’ For the most part, education as it exists today in fourth world nations continues to be a central element through which the State and ‘the powers that be’ pursue their agenda in maintaining the status quo. Formal education contributes little to society’s overall development though it has raised levels of competitiveness among students. One fundamental reason for this is that education is broadly determined by governments which in turn are deeply influenced by big business who set the policies and guidelines. Both governments and the multinational co-operations expect educational institutions to produce hard working technocrats and bureaucrats who should be creative, while at the same time obedient disciples to those in power. Education is often a tool for those in power and authority which takes place more frequently in situations where ongoing conflict exists between the State and People. Often it is the power relations that alter the course of policies. Since the end of the Cold War, larger companies have greater interests at stake in defining patterns of human behavior and response. Hence, in spite of all the ‘progress’ the modern world has contributed to humankind, it has been at the expense of values and principles fundamental to human existence which are primarily driven by greed. Is what we call ‘modern’ essentially modern, or is it predominantly globalism driven by the West? Indeed, the modern world has also strayed far from Aristotle’s philosophy that the pursuit of knowledge is realized through praxis of acquiring and upholding, always in the order of Truth, Morality and Technique. In the modern world truth is no longer talked about because individualism dominates and individual feelings matter more than truth. Since truth no longer upholds morality, because morals are no longer important, the modern world thrives on technique and technology. At the core of all historical processes, education and educational institutions have been the primary force for shaping the discourse of human relations and the relationship between states, which in turn has reshaped the educational discourse. Its cyclical nature, ironi-
cally, has been a medium of both oppression and liberation; more so of oppression because of the close relationship between educational institutions and ‘the powers that be.’ Recognizing the existence of this internal contradiction and power politics is essential in understanding the role of education in societal transformation. ‘Powers that be’ use a centralized education system with little or no autonomy as a major stabilizing force in society. They expect educational institutions at all levels to produce useful individuals who will help them to maintain the status quo. It is often considered that governments in the third and fourth world nations primarily serve multi-national co-operations. So does education. The word ‘education’ derived from the Latin word ‘educare’ when literally translated means ‘to bring forth’ or ‘to lead forth.’ Therefore, when talking about education it does not mean imposing or forcing information into people’s minds, rather it implies making it possible for knowledge and wisdom to flow out of them. Hence, the pedagogy involved to ‘bring forth’ is one of the decisive factors that facilitates human development and serves as precursors of the knowledge all along. Education ought not be about books and skills, tests and examinations; rather, it should be for developing or optimizing learner’s abilities to live a full and dignified life by providing opportunities to discover their own uniqueness; and ways to explore the purpose and deeper meaning of their life so that eventually their potentials will be more fully realized. Taiaiake goes on to point out that, ‘One of the major consequence of colonialism was the loss of our ability to think of ourselves; thus many of our leaders and communities rely on others to think for them (for a price). The cost of delegating intelligence is enormous in terms of the misinterpretation or misappropriation of indigenous knowledge and perspectives.’ The present pattern of education concentrates on filling the students with conceptual knowledge that is unrelated to daily life. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed calls this ‘banking education’. He says, “Education is suffering from narration sickness. The teacher talks about reality as if it were motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable; expounding on a topic completely alien to the existential experience of the students; and to fill the students with the narration-contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance. Words are emptied of their concreteness and are hollow, alienated, and alienating wordiness. The banking concept destroys the natural capacity of selfdetermination in an individual, stripping all inherent virtues to be an initiator of transformation.”
PEDAGOGY FOR TRANSFORMATION Since colonial times, law making and matters of existence have largely remained the preserve of an élite few who, for the most part, have excelled in mystifying both law and reality. For many, the laws and policies have remained alien. Equally alien are the structures
and functions of the nation-state inherited from the colonialists. Our experiences of the educational system confirm that, indeed, policies need to be derived from our experiences, struggles, needs and desires. Inevitably, the questions of nation-hood, statehood and, of course, power are continually revisited. The content and methods of education are inextricably linked to issues of maldevelopment, patriarchy, hierarchy, militarism and the pursuit of wealth by a few individuals, corporations and states at the expense of meeting people’s needs universally. Although human rights education is essential, it is not an adequate response to these threats to human survival and security. Formal education and informal learning environments must be places where faculty, students and staff have the opportunity to search for meaning, to pursue the search for justice and to develop their uniqueness in a safe, caring, and stimulating atmosphere. Ultimately, students who are fully engaged in such an educational process are much more likely to challenge social and cultural domination. The pedagogy required for such a process will undoubtedly involve a wide variety of methods and approaches that should reflect and be guided by principles that are basic to human security. These principles include: •
• • • •
Full respect for and include all people regardless of class, caste, sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, income, ability, age, or other condition; Independence of educational institutions with full responsible autonomy; Valuing developing critical thinking processes; Shared participation of students, parents and community members in the decisionmaking process; Celebrating the human experience as
an expression of diversity, as well as an important source of knowledge and wisdom; The vital importance of social, economic and political responsibility.
Alternative educational institutions both formal and informal – need to be created that will nurture critical consciousness, leadership, self-esteem and affirm the values of justice and dignity. This transformation is critical not in terms of looks and lifestyle, but should manifest through changing attitudes, perception and worldviews. The pedagogy requires creativity that celebrates the uniqueness of each individual, each community where learning is a fluid open process. This type of learning environment will help learners to realize their full human worth through an interactive co-operative learning environment where they are given opportunities to learn and apply knowledge and concepts and practice group decision making. Pedagogy of transformation is imperative in light of the reality and the magnitude of the challenges we face. Such pedagogy is to be contrasted with pedagogy of social engineering in which perpetuates, legitimizes and preserves patterns of hierarchy, patriarchy, abuse, addiction and exclusion. Structural and psychological decolonization is not only an intellectual process; but it is a praxis that embraces politics, sociology and spirituality it order to catalyse critical thinking and optimize human potential. i The conceptual framework and ideology of the modern state that emerged through the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 had a profound effect on education, its institutions and systems which in turn influenced the dynamics of the social, political and economic spheres of a given society.
[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed 1
Education is Freedom
the right to education
PHOTOGRAPH by Shanthungo
Current Scenario of Secular College Education in Nagaland Dr. P. S. Lorin, Principal, Tetso College Nagaland has 56 secular colleges out of which 15 are Government and 41 are Private Colleges in Nagaland. The number of College students in Nagaland as per the Annual Administrative Report of the Directorate of Higher Education is 29,601 for 2011-12. Out of this number, less than 1% of the students studying in Nagaland come from other states. A lot of things about our education system, ranging from the declaration of results to grievances of the student unions are about sending our brightest minds to study outside Nagaland state. Is that really the most ideal model for our state to follow? Maybe the time is now ripe to reverse this trend. We should make our schools and colleges the best in the country and have students all over India and abroad studying here. When students from other parts of the country or abroad study here, it automatically promotes tourism, commerce and employment. Given the above scenario, in spite of the increase in the number of colleges, higher education in Nagaland is still not spoken in the same breath as the well known educational hubs of Shillong and Guwahati among the North-Eastern States. In the sixties and seventies, most Naga students used to go to Shillong or Guwahati for school and undergraduate studies and then proceeding to Delhi. It is only in the eighties and nineties that Nagaland has witnessed the growth of many quality schools espousing various teaching methodologies. Today, I think Nagaland has a lot of quality schools and the school system seems to be continuously reinventing itself. This seems to be helping to overcome many of its earlier shortcomings. In my opinion, the school education scenario looks bright, provided the people concerned continue working in this manner. On the other hand, the state of Higher Education in Nagaland sometimes worries me. Higher education seems to have taken a back seat for quite a while among our state’s list of priorities. Infrastructure and amenities in higher educational institutions pale in comparison to today’s schools. Even though, the 1990’s saw the mushrooming of many colleges, Nagaland has failed to pick up as an educational destination of choice for students from neighboring states or even for our own top students. We have failed to create an atmosphere that is conducive for academic excellence. This neglect is ultimately affecting our state’s economy. Without an educated work force industry will not invest, if industry does not invest then jobs can’t be created and if jobs can’t be created then the economy and business opportunities in our state automatically dwindle. Our state might already be in the process of a brain drain to some extent with our best brains studying, working and eventually settling outside of Nagaland state. Working and studying outside Na-
galand is certainly not a negative thing; but it is our Naga society as a whole which eventually loses out when our brightest minds don’t return home because of the chaotic situation in present day Nagaland. A clearer picture of the importance Nagaland places on Higher Education emerges when looking at the state’s budget allotment on higher education. In 2010, Nagaland’s state budget allotment on higher education was the lowest among 24 states at 0.49%. States like Assam have provisions to support 188 colleges up to the extent of 100% funding under the Provincialization Act of 2005. In Meghalaya, out of 61 Colleges, 5 are Government Colleges and 20 others are under deficit financing (the government meets the salary shortfall of teachers) while the remaining 36 Colleges are receiving grant-in-aid from the government. In Delhi, out of 72 Colleges, 14 are provincialized (100% funding) Colleges and 58 others are receiving 90% funding (AIFUCTO). These policies ensure that teachers are adequately compensated, while still keeping the college fees low. They provide greater leverage to Colleges to pay appealing salaries that can attract quality talent, without having to raise fees that go beyond the reach of the common man. According to the latest statement by our Honorable Higher Education Minister of Nagaland on 7th September 2012, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, the department has substantially enhanced grant-in-aid to colleges this year. Positive steps like this are the need of the hour today. I strongly believe that if the younger generations of today are the leaders of tomorrow, the Government along with the educational institutions in particular must provide them with the support structures to become true leaders of tomorrow. Education needs to be elevated as top priority after which everything else will follow progressively. On the positive side, lately we notice many colleges in Nagaland pursuing NAAC accreditation, including efforts to attract and retain the best minds in the teaching profession. Government Teachers are now being provided 6th pay scale and many private colleges are taking steps to restructure their processes and match the shortfall to some extent. There is no doubt that we have a long way to go. It needs step by step
progress and as long as we continue to move forward then that is a positive sign. Ultimately, higher education in Nagaland can only develop if all the stakeholders involved learn to work with each other. By stakeholders, I mean the University, teachers, government, students, parents and society as a whole. Having only one exceptional college will never make Nagaland an educational destination. To make Nagaland into an educational hub that attracts students from all over the country and abroad, Nagaland needs many exceptional colleges led by an exceptional University. It’s the responsibility of the Government to create conditions in society which make such a dream a reality. A key requirement from all stakeholders is the element of trust. There seems to be a deep rooted sense of skepticism and mistrust prevalent in a lot of our educational institutions. Teachers don’t trust the management, the government doesn’t trust the university, students don’t trust the teachers, parents don’t have faith in the educational institutions etc. While some of the mistrust might be valid, the drawback is that a pessimistic view can sometimes blind us to actual honest endeavors. Even honest attempts to create positive change may be mis-
“There are some people who will find a problem within every solution while there are others who will find a solution to every problem.”
I think it’s time we started concentrating on the latter. taken as self-serving. Change takes time and sometimes it does take a while before we see the fruits of policy changes, however, with assistance and cooperation from the government and other stakeholders we might be able to bring about this change much sooner rather than later. There is a saying, “There are some people who will find a problem within every solution while there are others who will find a solution to every problem.” I think it’s time we started concentrating on the latter.
Education in Nagaland :
Education in Nagaland came through the Christian missionaries – both Catholic and Protestant. The Catholics continue to give excellent service to Nagaland. They are extremely well organized and have single minded unmarried nuns and fathers to run their institutions and so are unbeatable. Some protestant run schools are OK. Today, Nagaland has one of the highest literacy rates in the country – in primary and secondary education. We greatly lack in higher education. Nagaland is the most backward state in India in terms of higher education – Arunachal Pradesh is overtaking us and other states are light years ahead. Reasonably good private schools have grown today in the main cities of Kohima and Dimapur and so also the colleges. The peripheral places and smaller towns still languish with poor infrastructure, lack of teachers and struggling schools. The richer private schools and colleges do not find great commercial value setting up high end schools in the peripheries. Eastern Nagaland continues to lag behind their counterparts for many reasons – one of the main reasons being – lack of good schools. The Arts colleges are mushrooming. Science teachers are hard to come by and excellent science teachers are a rarity. Nagas seem to be really scared of Mathematics and science subjects (except Botany and Zoology). Music is booming. There is a lot of money in music since all sensible Naga parents want their children to learn some instrument or the other.
Private schools do better than government run schools since they have to fight for survival. Unfortunately most private schools and colleges barring a few pay very poorly. They are also unable to raise the fees of students. As a result many of these teachers leave the private schools when they get a government job. On joining Govt jobs, some of these appoint substitutes to work in their place and continue pursuing their business in the bigger towns. Since the disparity in salary between the private and government institutes is huge, retention of staff in private set ups is a herculean task. Most well to do Government servants in Nagaland will never put their children in Government schools. They all opt for private schools. Everybody knows why. With communitisation, SCERT, DIET etc there seems to be a trend towards govt institutions improving – at least in the Matric exam results. If education in Nagaland is to improve what needs to be done? My suggestions are 1. Develop an education task force (like music task force) – Get the best minds in the state – both Govt and private institutions. Include dynamic bureaucrats, industry, entrepreneurs and credible professionals who can contribute in this field. Empower this task force with authority to evaluate, analyze, research education in the state and recommend to the government. Give them at least two 5 year terms. Let their findings be made public and above board. 2. Privatize some of the government schools in the state. Do this as an experiment. Enter into a public private partnership with some good credible organizations in the
state to run the schools. Partner with the Catholics and organizations like ECS in Tuensang. Fund them completely and scrutinize their activities aggressively so that they have to deliver the goods and maintain very high standards. Pay very good salaries to these teachers who are posted in the eastern Nagaland areas so that they have nothing to complain about. Their facilities – classrooms, library, housing, internet connection, electricity must be better than Kohima and Dimapur. Each district should have at least one such government funded privately run institution. Eastern Nagaland must be better funded than other districts. We must invest heavily in our children’s education. Do not let vested interests touch one paisa of this money. Funds must be released promptly without diverting it. 3. Churches in the Ao, Angami, Sumi and Lotha areas need to take responsibility for funding education in the eastern Nagaland areas. We were lucky to get education first. It will be selfish of us to now neglect our brethren in the peripheries. I have seen a school in Pangsha being run by Aotemshi of Straight Way Christian Mission. That is great. Now they must invest more money and manpower in it as their star project – and develop it into a state of the art school in the next 5 years. Churches can also develop common tuition classes for their children. Churches also need to sponsor more of the under the mango tree schools – for street kids and people who cannot send their children to regular schools. 4. Science is our weakness in Nagaland. We will need to work hard to develop science as one of the easiest and most delicious subjects to study. We must provide more online facili-
Education in Nagaland Inatoli K Sema, Principal CATS&M My faith in humanity has been shaken to the core experiencing the capability of human’s intolerant attitude towards one another not only because of recent events, but also in the light of the challenging experiences that came my way. Not that I have lost my total faith in humanity, because I still believe in the goodness of humanity and the goodness outweighs far greater than the wickedness of human minds and hearts. Most importantly, I believe that God has the power to transform the life of a person, transform even the worst sinner to a godly person. And so my faith in humanity is not so totally lost. Yet, even with this sense of assurance there is a sense of niggling doubt in my mind. Not that I question the power of God, rather I question the frailty of humanity. The concept of humanness is being lost in our society today. The very fabric of our society is being torn apart by the people’s selfish attitude. Maybe this is one of the reasons why there is no quality growth taking place in our land called Nagaland, be it in the religious, education or political scenarios. And therefore, the reason and the need to share my opinion. I write, not based on second hand information, or opinions of the people. But what I experience and encounter in the small role that I play as a Christian educator. If I am not mistaken every individual values education. However, learning to read and write is not the only means of education. Learning to read and write is formal education and a tool to equip us. Education starts from the moment of our birth until we die. And as we are born into a family, education starts from our very own home, our very own hearth, then onto socialization process, educational institution, etc. And to support this statement based on historical facts, one can draw examples from the early Romans and the Jewish community where the family was the primary educational institution. The mother cared for the child and equipped the child with the knowledge, whereas the role of the father was to discipline his son. He was an example to his son in the skills and duties required of a man and mother was the role model for their daughters. For this reason, Romans such as Marcus Cato (234-149 B.C) and Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C) agreed that the education of the child was the parent’s duty. It is a matter of fact that children internalize the values passed from their homes, and at the same time we cannot deny the socialization process of their peers which has an indirect influence on their life as well. But considering that a child internalizes the values of their parents, one cannot deny the fact that education starts from our very own home. In this context, may I ask how many are ideal parents for children in terms of teaching the right values to children like character-building, honesty, truthfulness, just to name a few. What
Dr. Sedevi Angami
kinds of teachings or values are being passed on to children? Needless to say, corruption has wormed its way into the lives of the people and for this reason so many people are not able to stand up as ideal parents to their children. Parents are responsible for shaping the greater part of their children lives and, therefore, the responsibility of raising good leaders with sound ethical character lies in the hands of parents as well. Having said this, let us also try to look at the other side of the coin regarding Nagaland’s education system and the role of the educators. What kind of education are we imparting to the young minds? Here I would like to mention one of the greatest educators and contributors to effective education, that is none other than Paulo Freire. In his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, he points out that education can domesticate people or liberate people. Only education can liberate the minds of the people and liberate them from the oppressed situation. Generally, the system of education in Nagaland so far has been spoon-feeding. The students are asked to memorize what they have been taught and to reproduce the same for exams. Teachers teach what they are supposed to teach and learners sit, receive and memorize without thinking deeply. This type of education does not liberate the minds of the children, rather it makes the learners just receiving objects than subjects, manipulating the learner’s thinking and action in that they are taught not to think critically or develop as critical thinkers. Maybe this is one of the reasons again why our state is producing degree holders in larger quantities and few critical thinkers. A thought to ponder for all of us! What I feel therefore is the role of the teacher must be to enable the students to think out of box and enable the learners in their development of the awakening of critical awareness. Educators must work not only as the transmitters of knowledge, but as facilitators who can share their ideas, knowledge, experience and philosophies. Educators must serve as facilitators who foster active learning, thus mould the learner as one who can contribute towards bringing transformational changes in one’s society. And that all educated persons may say with a new sense of awareness, here I quote Paulo Freire, “I now realize I am a (sic) Human, an educated human (sic), we were blind, now our eyes have been opened. I work, and working I transform the world.” Our generation needs to wake up to the clarion call of a just society. Every one of us must be an active contributor in bringing changes to our society. Yes, I do appreciate the fact that today’s generation is making ripples in the water by voicing out against the corrupt system in our society. The echo of a just society must resound in all the hearts of educated persons so that we may be able to proclaim just like prophet Amos against the corrupt system of his day to ‘let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.’
ties in the state. Get more of the youtube science lectures, Khan academy free online classes and make them accessible to all. Govt will need to provide extra subsidies to schools and colleges for developing science departments. 5. Teachers must be paid better. Good teachers will transform our society. I know of many friends whose children’s main ambition was to be teachers. These were extremely high quality people who knew the worth of a good teacher. Government needs to develop a system of acknowledging outstanding teachers ( not governor’s award only) both in the private and Govt schools and colleges. 6. Vocational and skills teaching needs to be introduced in all schools and colleges. There must be Workshops for crafts, carpentry, painting, steel fabrication, electricals, plumbing, masonry etc in all schools. This can again be subsidized by government. Colleges can introduce degree courses in carpentry etc and government needs to recognize these degrees as valid for employment in the government sector. 7. Scholarships – Both the government and rich folks need to develop scholarships for underprivileged children. If a monthly school fee is Rs 300/- a normal average office goer can give Rs 600/- a month to fund two children. If 2 lakh govt employees in the state sponsor one child each – Nagaland will change. I have written about things I am passionate about. Education is not only the responsibility of the Government or education dept. It is every body’s responsibility. When our youth do not get educated well, they drop out and some of them become criminals who adversely affect the whole society. Every one suffers if we do not invest enough in education.
Decoding the Perceived Fear for Mathematics Kilang, Dept. of Mathematics Patkai Christian College A month ago during an interview one of the questions asked to me was: Why are Nagas lagging behind in mathematics? The question prompted me to probe the causal factor for the abysmally low interest for mathematics. For many, the disdain for mathematics begins at an early age in school. Mathematics is not a difficult subject. I do not find it difficult and neither should anyone.. When queried as to why they like the subject, a good number of my students answered “just like it.” Perhaps, for me mathematics was the only subject I could score a 100/100 which made me love it. Or perhaps. it was the only subject I could handle to a certain extent. The excitement and exhilaration you feel when you are able to solve a problem is immense. At the same time when you cannot solve, it gets frustrating. It keeps you awake even at night! A student wrote, “...makes me feel like a genius when I solve the problem.” A seemingly complex problem, when applying the correct formula yields a beautiful solution. “It makes you think, it exercises your brain,” wrote another student. We are trained to ask the right questions to ourselves so that the complicated bulky problem is reduced to a simple question which then leads to a treasure house of results. Unfortunately, it is the dreaded subject for many people. Only about one third of the students finishing high school choose to study the science subjects. Less than half of the science students study mathematics as an elective subject. It is either an optional paper or not studied at all. An even sadder picture is that only about one quarter of students pass mathematics. The majority of the students who pass mathematics decide to study engineering which is the end of their tryst with the subject. Maths then becomes a secondary subject only and the engineering papers gain importance. A few faithful math lovers study honours in mathematics. I confess it is no easy task. Solving problems until our higher secondary days is a lot more fun and interesting. As we pursue higher studies, the theories are harder, the theorems are more difficult to prove. Applications of the subject become more abstract. In spite of it all, if you get the concept right, nothing separates you from it. Mathematics is not just numbers. I must admit I often find myself using my fingers to add 9 and 7. Numbers scare a lot of people. Even a few of my numerical analysis students hate calculations and rightly so. I am no particular fan of calculations either. I silently thank the brains behind the invention of calculators and mobile phones! There is a lot more to enjoy in mathematics besides the calculations. I write this article because our schools and colleges have a dearth of math teachers. Most of the teachers who taught me maths were ‘non-locals’. They have done a good job but it is high time the ‘locals’ also start taking an interest in the subject. To hell with the notion that it is a difficult subject! It just needs daily practice, a little extra hard work. Nagas are so good at studying on the eve of exams and getting through that we are losing the essence of daily study. The arts subjects are seemingly more popular because of the mental orientation that they are easier or require less memorisation. I have the highest respect for the other subjects. But I am encouraging young people to start taking an interest in mathematics as well. Definitely the formulae need to be memorised but to tackle the problem we just need a little logical application of the mind. Our students need encouragement, appreciation when it is done correctly; guidance when it is wrong; direction as to why they need to study this particular subject; why it is important; and the techniques to master the subject and enjoy it. Mathematics is important in many ways. Core science subjects like physics and physical chemistry cannot be studied without mathematics. The banking sector relies heavily on maths. Engineers need maths. Marketing strategies are studied under ‘Operations Research’. Mathematical modelling is gaining popularity in life sciences, earth sciences, social sciences (economics, psychology, political science, sociology). Whether one studies maths for its beauty in the abstract realm or for its contribution to the various branches of study, one thing for certain is – life is a lot easier with mathematics.
Voice of the People on
Education Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. EASTERLINE
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. Education should consist of a series of enchantments, each raising the individual to a higher level of awareness, understanding, and kinship with all living things.
KIUTSUMONG B. LAMS
The origin of modern education in Nagaland can be traced back to the introduction of Christianity in Nagaland by some American Missionaries some 140 years ago. Today we have a very well organized educational system which is divided into primary, secondary and higher education, there are government run educational institutions as well as a large number of private institutions, it is due to excellent education system that today Nagaland is among the states of India with the highest literacy rate. CHASIE POJAR
Nagaland offers high education quality and if we trace back the past many things have been improved but we still discover that students are looked upon with their weakness and not capabilities. One should observe the strength of the students and study the inherent abilities of the students.
In Nagaland education is given first priority and different educational institution provides quality education. The relation between teacher and students are well maintained which is cordial for the development of students intellectually.. discipline are well maintained in classroom, attendance and punctuality is given due importance…….. But comparing to other states our educational system is not up to the level. Hope there will some changes in the coming future.
For almost 5 decades now, education in Nagaland has been run and funded by the Indian government through the state government of Nagaland. And as such, many information and knowledge which are considered anti-India are intentionally not included in the school syllabus. The result being that a very one-sided, lopsided and handicapped education is provided to the youngsters which has the potential to produce very undesirable consequences in the long run.
Honestly, Education system in Nagaland is attributed to idealism and lack of pragmatism. It’s like, I know how to drive a car but I don’t know how to make a car. To me, Theoretical knowledge along with practical avenues each for different streamlining studies will make complete meaning of the very word ‘EDUCATION’.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. IMLIENLA
I want my Nagaland to be called as one of the educated state. SUNGJEMMONGLA
Education system should undergo a Sea Change in Nagaland. The “marking system” needs to improve as it really affects the career of the Students who wants to go for further studies outside our State. The two-way communication method should be encouraged rather than just one-way communication of Learning. In this fast changing world of information Technology, “E-Learning” should be made compulsory in every institutions. KEDOROKO CASAVI
As a concern mother, with the present education system Nagaland should come up with various professional and vocational courses so that our children can get maximum facilities and privileges in our own land like any part of the country. LIPOKTULA
The education system of Nagaland is effective but it needs to be improved in some fields. They should provide more facilities and opportunities especially for the below average students. It is most common in our society that the below average students are not regarded, so a foundation should be provided so that they can excel in life. This way they can compete with the others and the society will be balanced.
The education brought by certain Church denomination like Catholic, Protestant and American missionary with British administration in Nagaland led to a tremendous change in our society, which still play a pivotal role in shaping and changing our society into better future and hope .
Education in Nagaland is finally catching up with the fast growing society, as there had been rapid growth of private Colleges and Schools specially science stream. As we know we all need to be educated in this world where growth and development is changing with the seed of light. Nagaland with the rest of the world is not lacking in any field. VILHOUSIENUO KHRO
When it comes to imparting its a one way process. Education in Nagaland need new trend of teaching for better pronounces marks given in institution is very scarce in Nagaland which make the student aspiring for the colleges in other places not eligible. SHOSINLE KENT
Education cuts a sorry sight in the interior areas. Communitisation has failed to take flight. The only schools here are Govt. schools which are run in an outdated and lackluster way. Corruption, poor infrastructure, shortage of teachers, absentee/unqualified proxy teachers etc plague these schools. Also girls are bearing the brunt as parents prefer to send boys to study in towns so almost 80% of the enrollments are girls. Most children drop out before finishing middle school as education around here is neither interesting nor given priority. If this goes unabated our future looks bleak as we cannot wish the mass of these people away and half of us race ahead. They will someday be a burden on our moral conscience and overall development of our state.
Today’s system of Education in Nagaland is balanced as some area’s have a low education system whereas other have a good systems. We have many educated unemployed. Education in Nagaland needs to improve a lot more as we see many Nagas going abroad for higher studies. Educational corruption should decrease and educational institutional with better facilities, teachers with innovative ideas should increase.
In Nagaland education the quality of education is increasing continuously but in a slow and gradual manner. And it is all because of the top level executives and their subordinates, if they give more efforts and dedicated to their works. The education in Nagaland can see the new era of changes by the state. The decision makers of Nagaland education should have the ability of adroitness and innovations and change the old methods education.
Nagaland is not so developed in the field of education. Even though the state government offers the highest/best quality of education so as to make people self reliant, this educated people they prefer white-collar employment. However a well organized and précised system is necessary and must. As in future or in the days to come such organized efforts will definitely yield fruitful results.
Some of the changes I would like to see in Nagaland’s education would be there should be more practical’s like doing physically or so, people learn faster that way or other just teaching & trying to get them in their heads without any visualizations would only bore them more like the phrase which says “seeing is believing” totally applies here, and another thing would be field trips or so, it broadens the untouched minds, they get to see the image closer and in reality while learning that they’re taught.
Education system in Nagaland is assumed to be effective by the people in Nagaland and boast around with heads held up high! But, in a broader way to me, the system of education is very simple and regular with no scope for majority of the people I see. The education system focuses only in the academic side when we all know academic is never enough. Which thus results in leaving behind other fields leading to the undiscovery of many extra-ordinary talents and potentials. So also, many youths stuck in some trainings misled through unproper guide. Thus, the govt must organize organizations to help the people to risk change and also take up other fields as per their interest which will lead to a brighter Future!
Education in any fields, areas should also be understand as means of self reliant, marking system in the state education should be improve to compete with other parts of the of the country. Infrastructure, library, resource….. are in need to produce quality education. YESHICA SWU
Is it fair, some students work hard to score high marks where as some non hard working students not attending the test or being absent on the test. The non hard working students ask the test question paper from their friends and reappear the same question paper as re test and score high marks. So what is now the value of a hard working student and a non hard working student? MONU BHAGAT
ILLUSTRATION by SÜNGKÜM
EDUCATION AND NAGALAND Cdt. Shalo Nsu Rengma, Class- VIII, Sainik School Punglwa It seems we Nagas have compromised Nagaland as being an uneducated State. In Nagaland many officers, MLAs and politicians and the so-called respectable people educate themselves to practice more corruption. Nagaland is a Sate where, if people loose hope in their studies, they simply join the Naga army (underground) and threaten people to pay taxes. Nagaland is also a multitribal state where many tribes strive only for their own development. If Nagaland is an educated state, than who is answerable to the deplorable road conditions? Why are they not maintained or even looked at? What’s the condition of the drainage systems? Why have they become a massive garbage dump? Why are
our Capital and other towns so dirty?? Why are the people so corrupted and why are we not developing??? All these things are happening because we are not educated properly! The most important thing is what is happening to the people of Nagaland? Why are they not fighting against these social evils when the whole mainland is against it?! Don’t they long for a developed, peaceful and corruption free state? Why are we not helping our own brothers and sisters? Summing up, I would like the people of Nagaland to wake up and stop dreaming. We have to educate our selves MORALLY. We have to show the present corrupted leaders that we can be better dynamic leaders.
EDUCATION IN NAGALAND Ato I. Yeptho, Aghunato Town In Nagaland, when we talk about Education we are redirected to the Education Department under the Government of Nagaland. Sadly, it is the most tainted department with maximum resources from different perspectives, however, when it comes to imparting education it does not compare with the private institutes. The main blocks for the Government to provide quality education are due to: a) Low Education department standards (not having competent faculty) b) No uniform process for appointing dedicated teachers c) Lack of interest/zeal by high government officials in education department
Some measures to improve quality education in our State are: 1) Appointing dedicated teaching staff 2) Non-proxy teachers 3) Setting up of DIET centre throughout the Districts 4) Develop and maintain a uniform or standard infrastructure for all Government institutions. Above all, the staff and colleagues working under Nagaland’s education department should be focused on education that is based on quality standards rather than only thinking about their salaries and increments. Hats off to all private institution for imparting quality education, and those who are tirelessly working for the future generations.
Education in Nagaland?
A Good Idea! Seyiekhrielie Whiso, Kohima Science College, Jotsoma Your topic for the month ‘Education in Nagaland’ reminds me of a cheeky comment made by the great Mahatma when he was asked what he thought of western civilization. His answer was “a good idea.” I know to borrow this to assess the education in our state is not fair. (Our NBSE is second to none in the country, we have two colleges graded A by the nononsense NAAC-UGC, and we do have some wellmeaning people staffing some of our schools and colleges.) I think, broadly speaking, education has failed to climb as much as it should in our state. And what makes one sadder is the fact that we did get the opportunities once upon a time not that we do not have them now. A quick list: NEHU is one of the best universities in India now. Our beloved NU is ranked 8th out of the 9 universities in NE assessed and accredited by NAAC. (This data is about four years old.) And to think that we started together. We have also said ‘no’ to a medical, engineering and IT institute. One squirms with regret when one realizes that we could also have been an educational and research hub. For too long we have treated education as only a teacher-student affair, and this is helped by the fact that Nagas are lackadaisical about so many issues including education. As a cog (read teacher) in this great machinery, I understand that I cannot shy away from blame and responsibility, but to a great degree, we, as a society is to be blamed for the situation we are in now. We have also seen and are witnessing now the danger of treating education as an employment scheme only. Very unfortunately, the actual harvest of the whirlwind will be realized after a generation. Because the effects (either good or bad) of education are not seen immediately, I think, we tend to be careless about it. This failure to appro-
priate education as ‘ours’ and working accordingly, as I see it, is one of the chief causes of our state languishing in one of the lower rungs even in the North East context. It’s time the public, who are the most important stakeholders, showed more concern and vision for our education system. Leaving aside the moral/ethical aspect, education is the only foundation on which we need to build our super structure. We need a serious attitudinal shift when it comes to careers and career prospects in Nagaland. (I am happy to see that since the 90s there has been a paradigm shift albeit slight.) Somehow we have refused to understand that no two individuals are alike and as far as possible they should be guided (in the early stages) in the direction that they may excel and also love. Individuals are not empty vessels all waiting to be filled with the same thing. There are individual differences and hence intelligence differences. (Psychologists have listed eight kinds of intelligences not vertically but horizontally.) For too long we have put too much premium (even exaggerated importance) only on administrative services and technical services important as they are, while foolishly ignoring our pre-primary, primary and school sectors. It is a well know fact that in developed countries a primary school teacher is paid as much as a doctor or administrator. They also have status in the society. The rest is a healthy cycle that works to the advantage of the society. No doubt they are advanced. I would say that they are, though difficult to admit, generations ahead of us. And you know why. My conclusion: the people (and they also should be well-trained people who consider teaching a career not just a job) and system that come in contact with our children – and what more precious gift you have – especially in their formative and impressionable period should be treated with the utmost care and given the best in terms of respect and salary and perks. For these teachers do the most important job in our society.
“The education system of Nagaland provides the highest quality of education to produce statesman of international stature and peacemakers. In Nagaland, education is a continuous process in the real sense of the term, in the pursuit of excellence in every field, that the people become not only self-reliant, but the state becomes a giving state. Nagaland is a state of knowledge seekers. The people of Nagaland look forward for higher knowledge keeping in mind the value of knowledge in nation building”.
K. S. Pandey, Senior Accountant, S. D. Jain Girls’ College
Education In Nagaland –
Need Of The Hour Nellayappan B, Principal Govt. Higher Secondary School, Bhandari, Nagaland. At the outset I would like to caution my readers that I am not going to highlight the positive aspects of ‘Education in Nagaland’ in this article. I am sure that many other writers would definitely project the brighter side of the theme. I prefer to focus on the opposite side because this an opportunity for introspection that may help to bring changes in the minds of at least few people. As it is not possible to analyze all the aspects of a complex issue in an article like this, my views will be restricted to few important problems encountered by the student community. I was educated from the primary level to the post graduate level in Government/Govt. Aided average schools and colleges situated at the southern villages of Tamilnadu. When comparing the facilities in my schools and colleges before 30 years, with those available to today’s students studying in Nagaland, I would say that majority of the students of Nagaland are underprivileged. Nagaland is one of the neglected North Eastern states of India that has many disadvantages and restrictions imposed by nature itself. To add salt to the wound, the conflicts of armed struggle deprive the children of Nagaland from the congenital environment necessary for the fullest development of their potentials. In spite of all the disadvantages, these children adapt well to the ground reality as their talents and skills are not inferior to that of anybody else in our country. The psychological fear of a majority of students in the subject mathematics is well known. People generally may shift the blame on the students but, the root cause of this problem lies with the schools. One could joyfully learn mathematics if they understand the basic concepts well. Unfortunately, most of the schools do not have qualified mathematics teachers and many schools even engage teachers from the arts stream to teach mathematics. Thus, children do not get a proper foundation in mathematics and face lot of difficulties in understanding subjects like physics, chemistry, etc., at the higher secondary level. The shortage of trained qualified teachers in subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics at the higher secondary level is a major cause of concern for many of Nagaland’s students. Finding a full time regular teacher in the above mentioned subjects has now become a tough task and many schools are at the mercy of ‘Guest Teachers’. We can easily understand what quality education would be imparted by a teacher when he teaches in 2 to 3 schools. In my opinion, the school’s management should be blamed for this crisis. Most of the teachers from private schools are underpaid and with lot of opportunities available in other parts of the country, talented
teachers do not prefer to serve in Nagaland. If the schools pay a reasonable salary and offer facilities such as quarters, EPF, gratuity, etc., I am sure that schools in Nagaland would definitely attract qualified regular teachers. Another disturbing factor of today’s education system is the prevalence of corrupt practices among many teachers. Teachers are the lowest paid professionals in our society and many of the underpaid teachers are involved in unethical practices. In the materialistic society teachers alone cannot be blamed because they too have families to look after. Generally, the school’s management turn a blind eye to the teachers’ wrong doings in this regard and the innocent children become victims of corrupt practices at a young age. How many students have the confidence of securing good marks without taking private tuition from their own school teachers? Of course everyone from a class may not have the same ability and a few slow learners of the overcrowded classes may need special attention. Such children may take private tuition from teachers of their choice. But, unfortunately, the concept of private tuition has also been changed radically. Teaching in today’s tuition classes are in no way different from the regular classroom teaching. Here also 30-40 students will be accommodated in a class and the students will rarely get individual attention. The only difference is that the teachers will solve the homework they give in schools and the students will get a preferential treatment at the school. The problems faced by the students of government schools are off another type. The lack of proper infrastructure facilities is a major constraint for the students of government schools throughout the state. Most of the government school teachers are well qualified but less motivated. They also need to overcome the characteristic lazy syndrome of government servants. Some more shortcomings of the government sector include the dearth of quality in primary education, transfer of teachers at the middle of the academic year and the practice of engaging proxy teachers. We could definitely overcome the above described shortcomings by undertaking few corrective measures. First of all, the society should become aware of their rights. Secondly, teachers should realize that they are entrusted with the noble task of molding the future of children and they should be the role model to their students. Above all the schools’ management should realize that they play a vital role in shaping the future of our country and the slaves working in their schools would never become role models to our children. Readers may note that the views expressed in this article are the thoughts of a teacher erupted out of love for the students and are not intended to hurt any individual or organization. Comments/Interactions are welcome at: http://nellayappan.blogspot.in
This came into my mind while I was in History class: Its not that we should totally forget about Indian history but we as Naga’s have our own different history, even before the time of British rule in India. So why don’t we gave equal importance to Naga history too. We the younger generation dont know much about the true history of Nagas; what Naga’s were during the early century. It will be nice if NBSE introduce a syllabus in school level,so that the coming generation would have a little knowledge about our Naga History.
We need a drastic and sensible transformation!! Sungjem Jamir We all know what we went through as a child, carrying those humongous bags which seemed to be bigger than us (and heavier). The things you’d have to carry. From notebooks to text books, pencil box, water bottle, and if the weather wanted to play pranks on you, an additional accessory included a big yellow raincoat. As I grew older I began to witness teachers beating their students with sticks. I am sure any sensible teacher wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. I speak for everyone when I say it is just plain wrong. One of the things that should be used with minimum force is corporal punishment because it not only causes physical pain but also lowers ones self esteem. One of my friends had an unlucky day when her ear got pulled a little too hard and it tore a bit which ended up bleeding. The teacher just shrugged it off as if it was nothing. There are always other ways to persuade or even punish a child if it is deemed necessary. Even to this day the education system in Nagaland doesn’t seem to meet the standards of other states. We have yet to recognise sports as an integral part of the education system. Not everyone wants to be an engineer or a doctor. And the likes of Mary Kom have proved to us that there is so much more to life than what can be learned from books. Most people favour chocolate ice
cream, but that does not mean everybody likes it. When I left high school and went for higher studies, there was a huge learning gap especially when it came to doing practical classes. We had barely 2 or 3 months of time and the education system expected us to cover chemistry, physics, and not to mention biology or computer labs. I tell you it was hectic and blinding. We are supposed to learn things through practical experience, but I still can’t figure out what I learned from all those lab classes except that you need to get good grades. The core of the problem with our education system is that most of the theories we study cannot be applied practically. Except for subjects like history, grammar and such we can’t even apply what we have learned in our day to day life. Have you ever tried applying Fleming’s right hand rule and solve anything, or Shrodinger’s uncertainty law for that matter? No, we mostly can’t. What we need is applied science or practical science where the teachers can teach the students how to meet everyday’s end with the help of science and practicality. What we need is a drastic, but sensible makeover of our education system for the sake of our children. Education should be about learning not only about getting good grades, but about how one can utilize it for the better. Anyone can memorize even a big textbook, but I am sure it won’t help anyone if we can’t even apply it in our everyday lives.
His school is Kms away from his home. Rain or Shine, his friends always help him in reaching school every time. Photograph by Nicka Chishi
These photographs were taken at Government Higher Secondary School, Wokha Town, Nagaland PHOTOGRAPHER: Shanthungo
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