Enduring Beyond: Hope for 2017 – Dr. P.S. Lorin, Principal

Nagas are fortunate people with a strong foundation open to possibilities in the future. We have English medium schools. In other places in South India, especially in the rural areas there are only regional medium schools where English language education is taught only from the 5th standard (class). As a result of this there is a lot of catching up to do by these students when they reach class 9 and 10, for the textbook terms and words are not familiar to them. This causes many to drop out and discourages them to study further. Despite this, we still find a number of them excelling. In comparison, Naga students are getting greater opportunities. Our education foundation proves advantages over many Hindi and Tamilian speaking students. The question is ‘Can we excel’?
Enduring Beyond: Hope for 2017

When we talk about hope, we also need look at our shortcomings, realize them and work towards strengthening them. One disadvantage our Naga students have is that our Naga students normally do not talk in class or speak up with answers as fast as North/South Indian students even if they are 90% sure of the answer. Till today I do not understand where this timid tradition came from. Speaking from my own experience, I remember how timid I was when I was with Americans in the classroom. My presence was not noticed. I finally realized that even I needed to become bold like others. I had nothing to lose. And it was only when I became bold that I became a better student. It is sad but true that even these days I still notice this apprehensive behavior among students in my College as well. We need to tackle such attitude issues. We must know when to put ourselves forward and take the initiative. All this may seem like minor issues but take serious note, it is only from the minute and smallest things that differences are made and transformed into positive and negative consequences on the larger canvas. So I have a question for all of you today ‘can we overcome this timid tradition’?

Another disadvantage with us is playing truancy and being regularly absent in the class with so called good reasons. On the other hand, one does not admit ones weakness. Promotions are demanded even if examinations are missed. More worried about losing years than the quality of academic standard and how well one has learnt, even parents or guardians seem to concur with them. I think this experience is found more common in the Colleges.

Many HSSLC and equivalent successful candidates who studied in HSSLC do not carry expected backgrounds. They are sub-standard and are equivalent to 5/6th standard of some medium standard schools in the cities or towns. Are those schools capable of producing only mediocre students?

Another practice I would like to see more of amongst our Naga people is ‘Dignity of Labour’. Foreign students are ready to work from the simplest of jobs like waitressing, janitoring and sweeping to baby-sitting while pursuing their studies. The other problem that arises is when we get our degrees; no one is willing to start work from the lowest rung. We want white collar jobs with big names. We don’t seem to be willing to work our way up. Can we change this attitude? Today I am not here to give directives about what it is you have to do because in the end only you can figure out exactly what is best for you along with the education and maturity you gain. The choice is yours. But we should reflect on this and thereby act upon how education can change our society.

We have a lot of educated unemployed in a small state like Nagaland. The educated unemployed problem is going to frustrate many graduates. Many might get discouraged because they have the education yet cannot get jobs. They may feel that education does not guarantee them for a secure future. As we face a higher competition level, it seems that normal standards of excellence just cannot cut it anymore. There are jobs available but the questions are – are you eligible for them? Has your study prepared you to meet the challenges? Simply getting a degree is not enough since competition is high. For that you are going to have to compete with others (both within the state, outside state and even outside the country). Your marks or your grades must be at the same level with others or above them. A degree is not a guarantee for a sound future. You must be true to yourself, know your family background and financial position. Our Naga obsession, preconceived notions and prejudices of good life like the obsessive need to become instantly rich and possession of unattainable ideals of imaginary positions must be discarded forth-with.

Here is a very simple story but meaningful. We have a classmate laughing at a school boy who is wearing Bata shoes. And why? Because he was not wearing one of those known brands like Nike, Adidas or Reebok. No doubt this is absurd. This outlook may destroy the very essence of pursuing education. Simply coming to the city or towns, and wasting time without attending classes must be stopped. Instead, a clear plan with ambition and hard-work must be cultivated. Determination is the key to success. You may be thinking, that’s easy to say but it has been nothing but strong determination and of course not forgetting the grace of God that has made many Nagas successful today. Despite all the setbacks and discouragements that become a part of the package to success, I strongly believe determination can guarantee success. I think that one is bound to face difficulties along the way but to give up hope or be discouraged would be taking the wrong way out.

We must make a commitment to endure beyond the challenges, setbacks and difficulties life throws our way. What is beyond for the Nagas? Naga history has taught us more than enough to endure beyond and become a successful educated person. There is no substitute for hard work, dedication, and commitment. Given the opportunities, Nagas can excel and are capable of competing with others. I truly believe that because of our turbulent environment, and because of the violent and bitter experiences, Nagas can manage better in the practical field compared to others. We must take up what we have been gifted with, what is available to us and transform it into a positive and successful future. For this you must be willing to face the realities of life. You must be able to face the truth, admit mistakes and shortcomings, take bold steps, and move confidently forward until you achieve your goal. It is in this way that our future is thus secured.

Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognized Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Dr. Salikyu Sangtam, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: dot@tetsocollege.org.

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