Open opportunities

There is an urgent need in Nagaland to make the contents of syllabus directly relevant to the requirements of students and society. This is particularly so considering the unemployment statistic in the state, which shows most under-graduates and graduates are unemployed. What is the point of our school and colleges churning out graduates and under graduates when they can neither be self-employed nor find a job that matches the requirements? In fact educational certificates are meaningless pieces of paper if students fail to earn a reasonable livelihood and find good job. All over the world, the stress today is on opening courses in the academic areas that carry good employability potential. From this point of view, obviously, courses that would stand the student community in good stead for finding employment are welcome. But going beyond the employability factor, higher education also embodies the universally accepted objective of building character and vision among the student community that is about to shoulder the responsibility of carrying forward the task of building the nation. Sadly, at every front of education here the weeds of mediocrity are everywhere in the crop, quite healthier than the crop itself. To acquire education has become a formality to be able to read and write or to maintain a dignified position in the society. Because real educational setup is yet to be designed, due to which institutionalized education has gripped the minds of students. Lack of proper research scenario and lack of proper vocationalized education has further sickened the condition. Learning is not acquired with real understanding but superficially, based on recalling bookish stories. Knowledge is nowhere found in the mind of a student but locked there under the cold print of books. Education is not imparted to discover new heights of perfection but just to pass examinations. No wonder the future appears obscure and the frustration is obvious at the end. Inside the various classrooms there are students who aim at making it to the masters in various subjects. Despite the fact that our students have unquenchable thirst for knowledge, but they mostly are unable to excel in competitive exams. Unaware of the future plans these “masters” of various subjects end up either as class III employees in government services or join some private companies. The rest winds up unemployed. In between the schools and the university there are various colleges apparently busy imparting education to students but in practice they merely keep records of the enrolled and conduct exams as the academic session end. Teaching-learning processes also creep in but not the way it must have carved a space otherwise. It is the usual classroom teaching with the teachers busy in writing on the blackboards/whiteboards and the students busy in jotting the lines down. The oral teaching is just the same as the telling of grandmotherly tales. Moreover, the opportunities for curricular and co-curricular activities are always limited but biased at the most. All this helps breed a generation of such an educated youth that hardly can perform in practical life outside the campus. Clearly a major deficiency that has dogged employment chances for the youth is the lack of proper training and skills. This is an age of excellence and perfection. Each trade and each profession has to have manpower that is skilled and productive. Just having an educational degree would not help. We are living in a mechanized world system and all services needed to keep us alive have to be professionally competitive. Today most of our graduates do not have the skills that match the job market. They are often not qualified for the available job openings. Till date, our students are taught lots and lots of theories without putting it much into practice. Again, this is because not so long ago our students’ were being taught, not with an eye on giving them the cutting edge to excel in today’s competitive job market not just in our state but anywhere in the world, but only for getting a government job in the state. Unfortunately this mentality has not changed even today, and our graduates still believe that by getting a government job, however lousy, they have achieved everything in life. It is time political leaders need to realize that school curriculum is not the straitjacket that they remember from their schooling days but it is today the key to opening opportunities.