Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Bad system

Education is looked upon by most of us as the most potent source of edification. For some, however, it is a bit of a conundrum and for others it is simply a means of earning a livelihood. Whatever be the case everyone loves being called an educated person. But what is ideal education? Finding an answer to this question is not the easiest thing in the world but after thinking long and hard we realize that education is a ceaseless process which continues throughout our lives and perhaps life is the greatest of all teachers. The overriding purpose of education should be to civilize us and to develop our powers of perception. Education can be most delightful if we are given the carte blanche to study what we like. Unfortunately, in practice, we are often compelled to study specific things sometimes out of our field of interest. Had it been the other way round education could bring out the very best in us. George Bernard Shaw in his typically humorous style once remarked that he who can, does – he who cannot, teaches. Although Shaw might have said this in an altogether different context but when we apply it to the profession of teaching the statement certainly sounds a bit overblown. Nonetheless, when we think of it, bearing in mind, the prevailing academic climate in the State, it definitely rings true. Education appears to be a foredoomed thing with most people landing in academics not by choice but by chance. They either have to turn to academics because they are not able to fulfil their primary aspirations or for the simple reason that they are not good enough for other jobs. Academics generally beckons erudite and enlightened men but unfortunately here in Nagaland the field of academics is analogous to a resort which is easily accessible and accommodates people indiscriminately. It is heartrending to see the field of academics bristling with people who are not temperamentally suitable of it. Wish we could have more profound and percipient people in our academic circles. One can’t expect to learn much from someone who only has a nodding acquaintance with things outside his field. There is no doubt that in our academic set up we have some very accomplished people, people who are repositories of knowledge but unfortunately alongside those good people we have legions of people who are not up to scratch. The worst part of the story is that these men of middling intellect sometimes delude themselves into thinking that they are competent people. As to what might happen if such amateurs come to the forefront is anyone’s guess. One of the repercussions of this sorry state of affairs is that once a student from our State moves outside, he feels jittery about competing at places with higher academic standards. Our university education is the worst hit. First of all the cream of our students never reaches the university. Almost all promising students either get admissions to professional courses much earlier in their careers or move to outside universities to pursue their higher studies. As for those who reach the universities they are not smart enough to put our teachers to test. The result is that teaching has become a much less challenging job than what it could have been. Our ingenuous university students are easily overwhelmed by the bumptiousness or sometimes even the rhetorical skills of the teacher and there is hardly anyone who could test the real mettle of the teacher. At the undergraduate level the situation is worse. The colleges are thronged by hundreds of contractual teachers. This exacerbates the already deteriorating educational standard. Securing 55% percent marks at the PG level means a licence to teach at the college. There sure are a handful of postgraduates who have the inner resources to handle the job of teaching. But we have instances where we have teachers who are not even intellectually at par with their students. What makes one sick to one’s stomach is that the authorities, instead of trying to find a way out of this crisis, are encouraging contractualism. The situation is pretty much the same at the school level. One fails to understand as to why the Government is not interested in devising a mechanism whereby adept people can come to the fore.