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Seminar finds big holes in Nagaland’s ‘book’ curriculum

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jul 13, 2016 12:49 am

KOHIMA, JULY 12: The current educational system is based mostly on theory, and lacks in research-based planning and development foundations. It generally fails in meeting the growing needs of the fast-changing world.
A daylong seminar focusing on the educational system in Nagaland was conducted recently in Kohima town. The subject was ‘generating improvement through research and development in educational system of Nagaland.’ The program was conducted on Tuesday at Hotel Japfü in Kohima town.
The seminar was organized by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF). The organizers hoped to ‘improve the present education system through discourse from different individuals and professionals.’
In his keynote address, the president of the NSF, Subenthung Kithan, said that the objective of the seminar was to review and exchange educational concepts to ‘restructure the educational system in Nagaland with a special focus on curriculum development, marking system and management.’
The federation, he said, hopes to pave way for an ‘absolutely free, democratic, scientific, egalitarian and human education of equitable quality at all levels.’
Emphasizing that learning should not be ‘text-book centric,’ Dr Bendangyapangla, of the SCTE opined that curriculum development ought to be a continuous process of designing, implementation, feedback, review and redesigning. The reason is, she said, the educational requirements of the people have changed with the passage of time. At the same, Dr. Bendangyapangla said, content should be made relevant to local needs and based on the socio-cultural, politico-historical, and geographical context of the learners.
The speaker also stressed on the importance of a vocational secondary level and research-based planning and development. She wondered if ‘we preparing a workforce that will make our state/country economically viable in the changing economy?’ She asserted that the challenge was to make the current educational system in such a way that it would prepare children to face the challenges and opportunities of the world in which they would live and grow.
Another speaker, Rangumbuing Nsarangbe, Controller of Examinations of the NBSE, observed that the teaching profession was being ‘taken very lightly in Nagaland, with no commitment, and failure on the part of the teachers to understand they are responsible for the students.’
Also, he opined that private school teachers need to be given more incentives in terms of pay and allowances. He suggested that priority should be given to strengthen elementary/primary education and the pivotal role of parents and guardians to study together with their children, which he noted was ‘almost nil.’
Nsarangbe also opined that the assessment of educational qualification of teachers was crucial in both government and private sectors to ensure quality teaching.
Speaking as a resource person on the topic, ‘Education and identity’ Dr Venusa Tinyi, assistant professor with the department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad, noted with regret the lack of literature about the Naga’s history and culture in the current syllabus of the state’s educational system. He pointed out that many a Naga had grown up without a sense of attachment to their culture and history. Dr Tinyi said ‘our sense of who we are as a people will never grow and develop unless we have enough literature to work on.’
Also, the assistant professor maintained that the people, the Naga, ‘Need to learn to critique our own culture and appreciate our own culture, and to seriously think of translating them into literary forms form of studies.’
Lakpachui Siro, research scholar with the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) of New Delhi said that prosperity and development remain ‘far in our land, though the Naga have a fair literacy rate.’
Describing education as a three-way approach i.e., ‘conventional, progressive and librating’, the participants were asked to ponder over whether the current educational system in Nagaland was addressing the purpose of education to meet individual fulfillment, ‘societal cohesion,’ nation building and advancing learning.
Appreciating the ‘ancestral education system’ of the Naga, the dormitory system, Siro said it was inclusive where no discrimination and exclusion existed. Students learned in their surroundings and environment, which at the same also promoted oneness and cooperativeness instead of individualism and competition.
Siro also noted that a comprehensive system of education allows the youth to expand their creativity and knowledge and prepares them completely to face any challenges in life. When the world is trying to introduce something that our ancestors used it as part of their education system, ‘I find no reason why we must not restore and learn from it’.
‘Much of the answers that we seek to make our education system more effective may come from going back to our roots,’ he asserted.
Speaking during the second session, Dr Abemo, Controller of Examination of Nagaland University, referred to the literacy rate of the state which stands at 83.11%. He wondered if it was ‘quantitative or qualitative literacy.’
There are 66 colleges under Nagaland University with 50 private colleges and 16 government colleges, he said. There is lack of commitment and teaching skills in the present education system in the state, he said. He asserted that these two areas need to be looked into urgently in order to improve the education system, as much as the current curriculum needs to be reexamined.
Pheluopfelie Kesiezie, administrator of Northfield School, also addressed the event. He said that the only viable resource areas in the state were agriculture, horticulture, forestry, animal husbandry and human resources as industrial development has yet to take place here.
Kesiezie has opined that the education system in the state should be based on said reality, so that the growing issue of unemployment ‘would not destroy our society.’ Referring to the subjects offered in higher secondary education as mostly traditional courses, he said they offer few opportunities for economic growth. Hence, he suggested that unless the youths have been steered towards professional and skilled-based education, it would be ‘like a train running without a driver.’
Also, stating that the main source of employment in the state was ‘being a government servant,’ which he said ‘does not produce economic strength,’ he emphasized on the need to build up institutions that create human capital as per the needs and requirements of the state.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jul 13, 2016 12:49:33 am