The Power of Truth
The Morung Express FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER 2008 VOL. III ISSUE 295
Radio Ga Ga
s Nepal cements its transition from a monarchy to a republic in yet another critical process of defining the course of its future political destiny, it is evident that the Radio has come to assume an indispensable role in defining the opinion of the people; and hence the fate of its future. A unique and central feature of Nepal’s sovereign dispensation has been its willingness to facilitate the development of the Radio as a means to encourage the making of an informed society. Indeed, the Radio has been a central pathway of connecting and empowering the diverse people of Nepal as a unified political entity. While India by large is an entertainment centered society, manifested and reiterated through its mainstream media, Nepal by comparison thrives on the hunger for want of information and knowledge through public discourses on issues that are important to their existence. This is so evidently clear in the positions that the media have taken and the priority it gives to information over entertainment. It therefore is not surprising that independent media was a leading figure in the peoples’ movement for democracy. In the face of threat and grave danger, the media in Nepal took a conscious and deliberate decision to collectively withstand all forms of state pressure and to resolutely stand firm upon a moral and ethical position; to strive for democracy. Its passionate resolve to truly represent peoples aspiration makes up for its lack of suave and sophistication. In essence its simplicity and sincerity has made it possible to communicate with the people, thereby creating trust and reliability. Fundamentally, its political stand to be ‘in the boat’ rather than ‘outside the boat’ has made independent media in Nepal a decisive factor. Considering that print media has limited reach and accessibility in Nepal, the Radio in effect is the one and only true medium of mass communication. With cheap and easy accessibility, the Radio has succeeded in developing a personal relationship with the listener. From remote villages to the heart of Katmandu valley, from scanty shacks to sophisticated studios, Radio stations stand proudly in the skyline, serving as a reminder its testament as a vanguard of people’s aspiration. Nepal’s pioneering community Radios have had positive affect on the people; and because it is community-centered with ownership in the hands of the people, it has become an affective and trustworthy medium for addressing concerns, disseminating information, empowering people to make informed decisions. In essence, these have been the factors that enabled its resistance in the height of state repression and have enhanced decentralization of power. Consequently, it moved from resistance to actively assuming the critical yeast in forging unity in purpose among civil society and harmonizing internal and external conditions, which finally led to the restoration of democracy in Nepal. Let’s hope that the Radio will continue to assume greater responsibilities in the building of a democratic and informed Nepal. There is no doubt that the Radio has proven to be an effective medium in sharing viewpoints, cultivating public opinion and evolving consensus towards fundamental questions of justpeace and human security. With an open Air and a critical Voice of reason, this RadioNation exemplary demonstrates that revolutions come by way of honest and open dialogues, made possible through, Radio.
LEFT WING |
Peter Ki Maram
The Hunt for a Job: When does the real Journey begin?
ormally, the journey ends and the wait begins once you have done very well in the interview. This is how it should be when it comes to the hunt for a job. But in our part of the world a good interview is the beginning of a new journey, perhaps, more tortuous than the one that has gone before. That is not to belittle the effort that goes into preparing for the written examination and the interview. It takes pain and effort, and the burning of the midnight oil to get through the written examination. The smarter ones will look for trends in the line of questioning. A review of past question papers help. Better still is talking to those who have crossed the bridge before. Others will, with great determination, scour the daily newspapers, competitive magazines, yearbooks and text books. In the end, luck does play a role. No matter how much you prepare, there is always a chance that questions will come from unexpected quarters. However, it is true that the more prepared you are the luckier you will be. You can reduce the margins of unexpected questions. Next is the interview. Here, subjectivity counts. After all, two or three dignified interviewers will grill you. Some will try to make you feel even tenser than you already are. Others will be more pleasant. They can even make some effort to put you at ease. But, beware of meeting someone with whom you have already had an unpleasant encounter! The hatchet could be dragged into the present interview as well. Otherwise, things should be fine, as long as you have adequately prepared yourself. So, you think you have done very well in your interview? Bolstered by the impressive score in the written examination and good interview, can you afford to relax? Do you think you should confidently wait for the call letter, intimating your appointment to that coveted post? Sorry. More often than not, the opposite is true. If you have done well, or even if you have not done so well, the real journey actually begins now. The journey that is not aided by knowledge but by something much more real and contingent. Money. You are now at a stage in which you realise that “the job” is so near yet so far. You are “so near” because you have done well in the written as well as the interview. Yet, you are “so far” because money plays a deciding role in the appointment to the post. Can you pay or can you not? That is the question. The answer, however, depends on where you come from. If you come from a family of wealth, you need not worry too much. But if you live from hand-tomouth, you really need to console yourself. In the end the criteria for the hunt for the most suitable candidate is not knowledge but money. And if you happen to be from the other end of the wealth-poverty spectrum, the time to despair is right around the corner. How do we explain this malaise? We take recourse to sweeping general statements like “systemic” and “topdown” corruption. There is too much of it everywhere; a numbing sort of an effect sets in. Someone actually proposed legalising corruption. Yet such negative humour misses the point. We need to move from the general to the specific. The general picture is bad. What about the specific? What about the individual(s) holding the reins of power? What about the conscience of those few with the ability to appoint and dismiss? We could look at the “individual” as the agency for change. Perhaps, if each individual decided to be honest it would do a lot of good. Good actions are contagious. Are you ready to be a drop of good action that makes up the mighty ocean of goodness?
S O U N D BITE “Developing countries like India are also affected by the crisis and have to be part of the solution. We cannot afford to risk the gains we have made in the last few years. Nor do we wish to remain vulnerable to infirmities in international surveillance, supervision and regulatory mechanisms in the future.” Manmohan Singh
“This is the new India. We have found aggression and know how to win matches against the toughest opponents. We saw that in the second Test. It was a fantastic performance by the team in Mohali.” Chairman of selectors, Krishnamachari Srikkanth
THE EDIT PAGE
C O M M E N T A R Y
Developing an Educated Mind: A perspective on Schooling What then is the purpose of education? Rather than devise complex theoretical interpretations, it is better to start by looking to the child who sits on your lap and ask yourself: What can I do to assure that this child will be able to lead the happiest life possible?” - Tsunebaro Makiguchi (a reformist educator, author and philosopher who founded the Soka Gakkai in Japan)
ducation is not a one time shot, but a lifetime process. It is not just about imparting knowledge, but training young minds with skills to this knowledge purposefully, and effectively, towards the betterment of self and society. How a child tunes his/ her fundamental channels for learning becomes his or her learning style later in life. The demands of the global economy, now more than ever, have upped the ante of how young people need to equip themselves to lead quality lives that is both meaningful and accomplished. Thus, the basic aim of education should be to provide the right inputs to help children grow up into conscientious individuals, equipped to make the right choices in life and be responsible citizens. This can be achieved only when there is a well-designed schooling programme that balances formal and informal education – a holistic approach. Traditional Education primarily focuses on the methods of teaching. It has largely been influenced by Behavioral Science, which is based on the assumption that effective learning is a matter of ‘conditioned response’. Consequently, the teacher’s function is defined in terms of the ability to meet certain learning requirements - deciding what and how students should learn. The focus is on tailoring a ‘one-size fits all’ delivery method. Students are taught how to meet the teacher’s expectations. Their motivation is extrinsic to the process of learning, which is defined only in terms of ‘success’ and ‘failure’. Here learning is passive and is based on memorization of set patterns. The evaluation is standardized in the form of grades to measure the so called ‘knowledge’. Traditional School Education evolved in the context of the era of Industrialism. Schools were designed as an effective way to pre-adapt children to industrial society and its rigid demands for discipline and authoritarianism. Children were merely molded to fill pre-designated slots and independent thinking was not encouraged. This Traditional-Behavioral paradigm with its emphasis on ‘methods of teaching’ is being seriously questioned
today. Schools are faced with the problem on how to increase student motivation while satisfying standard educational requirement. Current perspectives on education make a strong case for shifting to a more ‘Holistic’ approach to education. Holistic education lays emphasis on the processes of learning or ‘cognition’, thereby focusing on the optimal functioning of the brain as a whole. It is more concerned with drawing forth the latent capacities and sensitivities of the mind rather than stuffing it with pre-digested information. Recent findings in brain research have proven that learning is most effective when it involves the brain’s natural function of creating meaning from experience. It sees the learning process as a natural function of the brain as a meaning maker. Here, learning is natural, active and meaningful as it takes place in the context of the experience that one goes through. This active learning involves the unconscious motivation for intrinsic rewards of knowledge and understanding. The teachers function as ‘facilitators’ of learning by providing an environment where students search for meaning, appreciate uncertainty and inquire responsibly. This in turn, help students to take responsibility for their own learning, to be autonomous thinkers, to develop integrated understanding of concepts, and to pose and seek questions rather than being rote learners. This involves learning by understanding rather than mere memorization. In recent times, parents in increasing numbers are seeking alternatives to mainstream education. Few would criticize the commitment to academic excellence that most schools and teachers have worked hard to actualize. But more and more parents realize that just learning academics is not enough, and they see young people in their communities suffering from a lack of needed learning, and society suffering as well. For instance, increasing suicide rates of students who are unable to cope with the pressure of failure may be a case in point. In 2006, a major survey of India’s top private schools spread across five metros was jointly conducted by a research organization called Educational Initiatives, Ahmedabad and Wipro Applying Thought, Bangalore. The study tested over 32,000 students of Classes IV, VI, and VIII on learning and understanding of key concepts in English, Math and Science. It was basically conducted to assess the quality of education imparted in these elite schools. The results were quite disquieting. Some trends highlighted were: • Students appear to be learning mechanically rather than truly understanding the concepts. • Learning is rote-based and does not focus on real knowledge. • The ability to apply learning to real life situations-essential for competence building-was extremely poor. • Indian students fare poorly in com-
parison to International counterparts. (Source: India Today) The survey strikes at the core of what is increasingly going wrong with the approach to education-the focus on high value scores in board exams rather than concentrating on imparting real learning. Parents also look at our current society in which social problems seem to be getting worse; in which those considered successful are too often greedy, corrupt, and brutal; in which families and communities seem increasingly dysfunctional; and they ask, “Why are we not as humans learning what we need to know in order to live good and meaningful lives?” Learning more mathematics, literature, or history does not seem to be equipping us better to face life. Parents see the need for their children to learn other skills along with academics, and thence the quest for schools that give time, attention, energy, and resources, to such learning. Parents generally do not approach holistic education out of mere philosophical musings, but rather from the perceived need that the present system of education has failed to mould their children into wholesome well rounded personalities. Many schools have also now realized this startling gap in learning-knowledgeapplication. Attempts have been made by them to bridge this distance by innovating their curriculum transaction or just going in for a whole school transformation process. New schools, on the other hand, are coming up with new philosophies and vision. Increasingly, concepts like, experiential learning, learning by fun, child-centric education, multiple intelligences, children as individual learners, are becoming the new mantras. Even an organization like the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training), that sets the tone for India’s education process, have recognized the learning disparities between school knowledge and everyday experience. In fact, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 of the NCERT is considered by many as a watershed in the country’s education process not only because it recognizes the deep disquiet in several aspects of our educational practice but also for the far reaching corrective measures that it has suggested. In one of its report titled, Learning without Burden, it states that: “Our perception of the child as a receiver of knowledge rather than recognizing their creative instinct and capacity to construct knowledge out of experience is a major reason why learning at school cannot become a joyful experience.” However, there are some concerns in implementing this form of conceptbased learning in schools. One being, the disconnect between the curriculum adopted and the final board exams, which still test children on ‘superficial’ knowledge. It is, however, heartening to know that boards like the CBSE has started to attune itself to the current needs and
situation. This year it introduced what it called the HOTS (High Order Thinking Skills) system in a small portion of its examination papers. Reports suggest that this would increase to about 40 percent in the coming year. This is a welcome step as it not only tests the child on memory-based questions but also his or her critical thinking skills, understanding and ability to take initiative. This would fairly address the gap between a child’s learning and the assessment. If one were to look at a place like Nagaland, it is of outmost importance that we generate parental awareness to look at school education beyond just marks scored. Many parents are still obsessed with their child’s score in exams that instead of questioning the school to fill the gap in learning, they take the easiest possible route through private tuitions. This is a piece-meal solution and the child would find it difficult to enhance their thinking skills if everything is fed to them on a platter. On one hand, it absolves the school from any form of accountability while on the other, private tutors cash in on this demand. Private tuitions have today come close to being a ‘civilized’ form of extortion. In a pilot survey by our organization- Benchmark Education Initiative- among some parents of school going children in Dimapur, the major concern almost in a chorus was the mushrooming of private tuition culture. Most felt that this could have been countered effectively by enhancing the quality of classroom learning and delivery methods but there was a dearth of quality teachers in many schools. Quality classroom transaction is possible only when teachers question the traditional approaches to instruction and learning, and invest significant time and energy to design new methods for reaching their students. It is imperative for parents to remember here that education does not end with the 12th standard board exams. Many students, armed with brilliant marks in boards, falter when they get into specialized fields because they find it increasingly difficult to grasp concepts. In his best selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes: “...we have inadvertently become so obsessed with our building that we have forgotten the foundation that holds it up; or in reaping for so long where we have not sown, perhaps we have forgotten the need to sow.” It is not necessary to be academically brilliant to be a success and to do well in life. It is more important to be able to know how to learn and to adjust to changing circumstances by building on our adaptive qualities, to recognize one’s strengths and to learn to apply them. It is not just about being academically intelligent but also being emotionally intelligent. The writer is a former civil servant with the Govt.of India, now heads a social enterprise – Benchmark Education Initiative. He can be contacted at email@example.com
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Fourth Pillar discarded by HM? BSNL lauds Pfutsero •Sir-What deliberate lies could the media Police Force persons have ever reported in the newspapers or news channels that made the Home Minister, Imkong L. Imchen utter “Media, we cannot believe in whole totality, that we all know”, and that the reports in the state’s media cannot be trusted? Home Minister may have felt bold enough to have criticized the Fourth Estate, maybe in his excitement for whatever reasons then. But what a shame, a person with so much of responsibility towards the society could hold such grudge against “the eyes, the ears, the mouth (even nose)” in the society. He should not have forgotten in his excitement (?) that he owes his leadership opportunity a lot to the Fourth Estate. In fact, he is being fed regularly through the Medias without which, he himself would not be able to function and perform his duties as a public servant of the highest honour. How could he say that the news reports are not trustworthy and heap such uncalled for language, that too, in the presence of the media persons, who were there to cover his programme? Just a reminder to the honourable Home Minister (and all whosoever may be concerned) that ‘truth hurts’, because Reporters ‘will not’ and ‘cannot’ just file stories, or the Editors just accept any stories. But of course, there are times and occasions where the Reporters may have blundered, but for which, an apology is tendered, because, no reporter(s) will deliberately file stories ‘out of the blue’. There always is something happening, for which, there is something to read in the newspaper or listen to the news casters or newsreaders. Whether one likes it or not, without the ‘trust’ on the Fourth Estate, can any society progress?
•Sir- The General Manager, BSNL, Nagaland Telecom appreciated the local Police Force at Pfutsero and Pfutsero Hill Area for their laudable efforts made to apprehend the culprits in the theft cases lodged by BSNL and protecting the BSNL properties. In the light of the events ensued during these few days, BSNL, Nagaland Telecom thanks one and all from Pfutsero Police Staff who have given moral support to BSNL. Public Relations Ofﬁcer O/o GMTD, BSNL. NLD SSA, Dimapu
•Sir-Nagamese is an unavoidable disgusted language for the Nagas. A fortnight ago, Dr.Rev.N. Paphino said in NCRCYF Silver Jubilee that he would be speaking in Nagamese but his Nagamese would be Naga-Angamese. Once Rev.K. Lorin said that when the Babel Tower was built, Naga forefathers might be pioneers in building it. Whether we like it or not, it cannot be avoided. Even antagonists cannot escape from speaking Nagamese in communicating with men and women of different communities who do not know English. I too though I can speak Angami English, I cannot express my opinion through which the Nagas can communicate with one another. We cannot help to be angry when Nagas are outside of Nagaland cannot have a secret conversation in the presence of others, so Nagamese is used in secret conversation. If English is to be used as the common language like in Hongkong, Singapore and Phillipine, for the Nagas it will take even 30 years more. The Nagas should have a viKopelo Krome, Kohima sion that after 30 years the Naga masses can
have the capability of using English as the common language. It will be most beneficial for the Nagas because English is the most important International language. Another common language can emerge and be developed but it will take us backward because it will take century to reach its maturity. Till such time Nagamese is inevitable to be used as the common medium of communication. It is of immense help to the Nagas as Nagamese services in Churches such as Koinonia Baptist Church, Nagamese Baptist Church and several others facilitate people of different communities to have services together above the respective dialectic barriers and they are being tremendously benefited. Nagamese has no grammatical consistency and order so it would be an arduous task to bring up a Bible in Nagamese. But praise God for a servant of God one Sam Kumar Uppadhaya has printed N.T. Nagamese Bible which was released several years ago and the whole Holy Bible is going to be completed and will be released next year. It is a great contribution to our people in time of our dire need. N.T. Bible is available in Koinonia Baptist Church. Rev.L. Suohie Mhasi
Trans-Asian Railways •Sir-India has signed the inter-Governmental Agreement on Trans-Asian Railways along with Bangladesh to strengthen rail linkages in the region, especially with South Asian countries and boost trade between Asia and Europe. The agreement was signed on Friday by JP Batra, Chairman of the Railway Board. Indian Railways, on behalf of India on 29th June, 2007. With India and Bangladesh signing the agreement, 20 countries became signatories of the pact. The 18 other countries had signed the pact at Busan,
South Korea on 6th November, 2006. The 80,900-km railway network covers 28 countries including 22,600 km in South Asia, Iran and Turkey. The southern corridor of the network, as decided in an expert group meeting held at Dhaka in 1999, commences from Kunming in China and Bangkok in Thailand and ends in Kapikule in Bulgaria. The total length of the route between Bangkok and Kapikule is 11,460 kms and it provides trans-continental rail connectivity to China, Thailand , Myanmar , Bangladesh , Pakistan , India , Iran and Turkey. The network will provide an opportunity for improving rail linkages to India’s northeastern states and harmonize the rail network in the region. The route will enter India at Tamu in Manipur, bordering Myanmar, before going to Bangladesh and re-enter India at Gede in North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. On the western side, the route is proposed to enter Pakistan at Attari. This route has a missing link of 315 kms between India and Myanmar of Which, 180 kms is in India between Jiribam and Tamu in Manipur. The railway network will improve transport linkages between Asia and Europe and facilitate movement of goods and containers among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, resulting the enhancement of trade. The said Trans Asian Railway is planned in the interest of 28 countries, and not in the interest of an individual state or country. It is therefore every responsible citizen and organization of any status may view it in the interest of the Euro-Asian people development linkages and support its implementation without undue interference. G. Gaingam Former V/President Naga Hoho
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The Morung Express, Nagaland. The leading newspaper that provides quality news, views, opinions and analysis on the Naga situation. Get your...
Published on Oct 23, 2008
The Morung Express, Nagaland. The leading newspaper that provides quality news, views, opinions and analysis on the Naga situation. Get your...