After the declaration of various Boards’ Classes X and XII examinations and Nagaland University results, our newspapers are flooded with advertisements felicitating students, who have passed with flying colours and not-so-flying colours along with their photographs and the school/college premises. These are basically chest-thumbing exercises our schools and colleges indulge in, which unfortunately do not address several critical issues of the quality of education and employment/unemployment in Nagaland. It is well-known that as compared to about a decade ago, the NBSC’s marking system has been liberalized to keep pace with that of Central Boards such as the CBSC, which have the most liberal, and if one may opine, the most irrational and specious marking system. Who really awards and gets a 100% in English? It’s fine if it is Mathematics and some Science subjects ~ but English and Social Sciences? It’s ridiculous ~ especially when you converse with a student, who has scored 90 to 100% in English and Social Sciences subjects and discover that the poor child has no clue about the subject. These felicitations and advertisements are also an oblique way of educational institutions taking all credits for a child’s success while deeper investigations reveal that the poor child has undergone a rigorous tuition regime with teachers that are in no way associated with the particular schools and colleges. Then there’s the role of parents and other family members that have contributed to create the atmosphere and environment for a child to focus on her studies and excel. Indubitably, these felicitations and advertisements are meant to be subtle but are actually obscenely blatant measures to attract more student traffic ~ commercialization at its best, to put it succinctly. If one goes through the history of the best educational institutions in India and abroad, none of them ever needed to advertise ~ especially not with photographs of the institution’s buildings and other infrastructures. Yes, in today’s world of online connectivity, they have websites informing about dates of admissions, online admission procedures and courses available, etc., but never about their success rates. They don’t need to because their reputations don’t need to be advertised. This brings us to a very crucial point of educational institutions’ success rate ~ five to ten to twenty years down the road, where do their “ace” students stand in terms of employment, professions, careers and contributions to society and state? In the past few years, I have compared marks obtained by our students in these Board examinations and their marks in University examinations, thanks to results declared online and I cannot understand why a child obtaining 90+% in Board exams hardly manage to get 52/53% in exams conducted by Universities outside Nagaland. This is exactly what our educational institutions relentlessly “felicitating” and advertizing need to mull over. Where do most students scoring almost perfect percents in five to ten to fifteen years in these Board and University examinations, stand today? If the same educational institutions that advertized in the same period can felicitate and advertise their achievements, along with their photographs, such educational institutions certainly deserve to felicitate and advertise unabashedly. If not, they are creating major psychological issues for the “successful” and the “unsuccessful”, which actually amounts to child abuse ~ the market has never been the right place to bring up a child and help and facilitate her to realize her full potentials as a human being and an ideal citizen ~ which, incidentally, is the moral and constitutional obligation of educational institutions ~ not chest-thumping over scored marks, which do not define a child and her potentials. This isn’t the last word on the issue but let’s move on to another group of people, who insidiously and obliquely take credit for a child’s success in these examinations. This group consist of the clans, villages, ranges, tribes and student unions of successful students ~ as if they were they held the child’s hands, serving her Sandwiches and Bournvita, when she was burning the midnight oil to excel; as if they paid her school fee even for a month; as if they even knew of her existence or that of her parents. Felicitations from this group is also meant to be subtle but end up being a blatant exercise in clannish, villageism and tribalism ~ they ought to hang their heads in shame for taking underserved credits. These chest-thumping measures are not only brazen usurpation of a child’s moments of glory but also the most sinister abuse of children.