N-TET-2013 Vis-à-vis the Northern Rengmas
The Speaking Mirror
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]ducation is the most vital ingredient in the development of human evolution, keeping this point in perspective, the Ministry Of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Govt. of India came up with the Right to Education Act (RTE Act, 2009) which in fact gives a citizen the right to free education upto the age of 14 years. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) which is one of the independent bodies formed in India for monitoring the teacher education and training introduced the eligibility test for teachers. In simple term according to the act a person who wants to be a teacher should qualify theTeachers Eligibility Test (TET). Those candidates who have successfully passed this test are eligible for appointment as teachers at elementary level (Class 1 to 8). The primary objective of conducting TET is to select the best teachers for our schools and children.Prior to the RTE Act 2009, the Govt. of Nagaland, Department of Education through its notification Vide EDS/16-34/2009 (pt-111) dated 21.03.2011 notified that “the Teacher Eligibility Test shall be conducted by the Academic Authority of the state, (SCERT) in pursuance with the NCTE notification”.
In accordance with the notification the Academic Authority of the state i.e SCERT decided to conduct the first TET in the state known as Nagaland Teacher Eligibility Test (N-TET, 17th nov. 2013). I personally can’t apprehend the reason of delay in conducting the TET in the state after the RTE Act. been passed in 2009, the reason best known by the concern department of such delay of such an important matter which other states in the country has implemented simultaneously with the passing of the RTE Act 2009.
Being eligibility test for the state level which in turn is nothing short of any other competitive exam in the state, the N-TET- 2013 came as a sheer shocker to me though I am not an aspirant for the same, but for sure from that Northern part of Rengma country who speak Nthenyi (the mother tongue spoken by almost half of the total Rengmas, the other half speak Nzonkhwen (Southern Rengmas). The test according to me is of very high standard when going through the structure and content of the question paper of the test, after all needless to mention, the department is manned by most capable scholar and staffs in the field of education in the state. The test is of two papers, Paper I for a person who intends to be a teacher for classes 1 to 5 and Paper II for a person who intends to be a teacher for classes 6 to 8. Both papers have same durations and markings accept for Mathematics, Science and Social Science subject, slight difference but almost the same. The test is of 150 marks, all question in the form of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and the duration of the test is 1 and half hours, the structure of the question paper is divided into 5 categories viz. (1) Child Development and Pedagogy, 30 MCQs- 30 marks (2) Language- I, 30 MCQs-30 marks (3) Language- II, 30 MCQs- 30 marks (4) Mathematics, 30 MCQs- 30 marks (5) Environmental Studies, 30 MCQs- 30 marks. (N.B- Paper II- Mathematics, Science and Social Science subjects has slight changes but over all almost the same pattern).
My point of contention here is with the language –II, which carries 30 marks and is a compulsory choice. As in our case (the Northerner) we are been deprived of 30 marks which is just beyond comprehensible to go through this test as in any competitive exam even a half mark is a question of success or a failure and here we are not talking about 10 or 20 marks but of 30 marks which is a mount Everest here, so it’s not a small issue which can be ignored or simply put aside for reference in other fine day, by doing that we will be dooming our educated generation next aspiration.
As a matter of fact, Nzonkhwen and Nthenyi are like Mandarin and Spanish, entirely different from each other and the nexus of the problem here is Nzonkhwen is officially recognized by SCERT so the question for paper I & II for language II is set in Nzonkhwen (Southern) which I have mention only about half of the populace of the Rengma know or speak and the remaining half speak Nthenyi (Northern). Like in the case of our Chakhesang brethren, there is two mother tongue spoken group i.e Chokri & Khuzhale, and in their case both the language is recognized by SCERT, which it should be, keeping in mind the importance of different language and identity. After all language is your basic identity whether spoken by thousand or billion. Why not emulate the same far sighted path that our Chakhesang intelligentsia and academician had taken? In doing that we would be doing justice and given equal opportunity to those unfortunate educated unemployed youth of our own and also for the said language in question? The question I want to pose to all the right thinking Rengma intellectuals, academicians, officers, apex organization (NGOs, church & student), senior citizens and all stake holders is (1) what are their thoughts about this murky situation which is a total blunder, a total discrimination to one own half? (2) What is the stumbling block for getting Nthenyi language in the recognized language list of SCERT? If there is a criteria for recognition of language by SCERT, in which area are we lacking, if there is any? (3) Do we Northerner have a language/literature board? (4) Are we not duty bound to fix this mess before the future of our educated unemployed youth get doomed? Here I am calling a spade a spade, so the Pandora box should be opened and the solution of the problem arrived at before the next N-TET exam is scheduled, by doing this, we will be doing a commendable job in giving equal opportunity and fair chance to our generation next aspirant teachers in particular and future populace of the Northerner in general. As a concern citizen I am penning this important issue for the interest of our future generation so those kind of humiliation and discrimination doesn’t occur in future. This is a clarion call for the caboodle. As the saying goes “a stitch in time saves nine”.
Phatilo Wanth Rengma