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NEP guidelines has nothing about NE tribal cultures: Vipralhou Kesiezie

Nagaland News

KOHIMA, JUNE 14: Retired Director of State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) Nagaland, Vipralhou Kesiezie while pointing that all national education policies says about importance of promotion of Indian arts and culture, today lamented that in the actual textual learning contents there is nothing about the diverse cultures of India except the culture of the ruling people who are the majority in India.
Addressing the media on the “Need of Naga traditional knowledge and indigenous education”, Kesiezie, who is also a member of Nagaland Education Association (NEA), said that all National Education Policies including NEP 2020 speaks about the importance of the culture of India.
It says that that it is a treasure trove of cultures, arts, literatures, languages, music & dances, foods, etc. and therefore, the nation has a popular slogan: “Unity in Diversity” as India is built with such a huge diversity of cultures, arts and languages, religions, etc, he said.
In this, Kesiezie said, “It is so embarrassing and conspicuous to find that hardly anything is mentioned about the people and their culture of the North East India in the textbooks read by students in the country”.
Therefore, all national education policies are nothing less than a cultural invasion of the majority over the minorities, he said.
As a result of the lopsided policy of the system of education in India many cultures in India are put into the danger of extinction, he said.
The unfortunate alienation is mostly felt by the tribal dominated people in the NE region of India, he said, adding that many a time the NEP guidelines are found to be farcical because we find nothing about our tribal cultures when it comes to implementation in the real classroom situation.
The indigenous tribal cultures, knowledge and their ways of life are in no way inferior to any other culture. Therefore, the National Policy of Education is expected to give equal treatment to all cultures irrespective of size and numbers.
He said Nagas’ knowledge about traditional ways of life and sustenance of their subsistence encompasses tools and techniques for hunting, agriculture, animal husbandry, ecological knowledge, traditional medicines, climate and seasons, celestial navigation, astronomy and months, craft skills, marriage and raising families, etc.
He said that indigenous education strengthens cultural identity and continuity, customary laws and customary governance systems while it restores a key role for the elders.
Indigenous tribal cultural values encompass social, moral, spiritual, ethical, care and respect for nature.
Stating that Nagas have no written records of their history, culture and tradition, he said everything is passed down orally, he said despite the absence of modern education Nagas have survived thus far based on tested primitive ways of life.
The NEP, he said talks about the medium of instruction through Mother Tongue till elementary level, however, in the absence of a common language Nagaland adopted English as the medium of instruction at all levels of education, he said.
Sharing a survey report conducted in the year 2013, in the city of Kohima on “The changing pattern of languages spoken by the Naga children”, Kesiezie said a sample of 1500 school children was collected from both Government and private schools with the findings that more than 10% can’t speak, read and write their own Mother Tongue.
They speak Nagamese and English with their parents, friends and teachers, in church, etc, he said.
Naga children are losing their own identity and losing their own cultural roots, he lamented.
In the light of the given situation, SCERT conceptualized the idea of replacing Alternative English and introduced Nagaland Heritage Studies to facilitate in helping the Naga children learn their dialects and cultures, he said.
Saying that Nagaland University (NU) has a Department of Tenyidie especially for the Tenyidie speaking people, he wondered why only Tenyidie and why not all Naga dialects and languages?
In this, he stressed on the need for a Department/Institute of Naga Languages in NU so that the students should be given the opportunity to do research and develop and promote their own languages.
“All Naga languages are endangered now because the number of speakers is dying with the passing of time. Let us not allow it to die or go extinct”, said Kesiezie.
(Page News Service)