Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cell Phones: Pros and Cons - Berlin Kent, Asst. Professor, Political Science

Try to spend an entire day without your cell phone. For most of us, it would be next to impossible. We are all so connected and in touch with each other, the loss of a cell phone handicaps us in so many ways. Many of us would probably not be able to survive very long without one. Children are also getting cell phones at much younger ages. Technology keeps advancing and with it, changing the way we do things. In our Naga context, cell phones are one of the primary reasons for speeding up the advancement of knowledge and propping up our economy. A lot of business and work is done today using cell phones, from the sms notifications of bank transactions to recharging your DTH connection. We also see the phone being a distraction in church and in class with many unable to stop checking their phones. The cell phone has been one instrument that has slowly taken over many traditional ways of communication and the way we work and socialise.

Cell Phones: Pros and Cons
Berlin Kent, Asst. Professor, Political Science

In the early days, pigeons were used as means of communication. Later, written messages were sent through letters by post. As time passed, telephones came into existence and today, the era of wireless communication has given rise to mobile phones. Martin Cooper, an American pioneer and visionary in the wireless communications industry and innovator in radio spectrum, started Motorola (the cell phone company) in the 1970s. He is considered the “Father of the cell phone” and is also cited as the first person in history to make a public telephone call placed on a portable cellular phone. A few years ago, the basic function of mobile phones was limited to just attending and responding to calls. But in this day and age, mobile phones have become an integral part of our daily life. Many of us cannot imagine life without a cell phone; without mobile phones life has become handicapped because we use it for all of our essential work. A corporate person makes use of mobile phones to maintain contact with their clients, business partners, vendors and employees, etc. A musician also uses mobile phones to track down the latest trend in music industry. It has even replaced the wrist watch, since people find it easier to tell time through their cell phones; it also acts like a mother and helps you to wake up early in the morning. It even reminds us about upcoming events, meetings, etc. This feature is a cheap way of staying in touch, not just locally or regionally but also globally. As we all know, the main utility of the mobile phone is the ability to contact family, friends and during emergency etc. Most parents also provide phones to their children to stay in touch and also to reduce anxiety as and when they are away from them.

Mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous among adolescents. With newer cell phones having features, such as cameras, internet access, and availability of different types of mobile phones- high-end and low-end, in the market has made a students’ life easier and simpler. Besides the obvious communication advantages, internet access also helps college students with their assignments and project works. It also helps them to upgrade their development skills and social lives. They even get information and updates through their college website which keeps them in track of what is happening in and around the institute. They stay connected with their parents, friends and even teachers which make communication more effective. With the use of apps, students can easily access additional information of their surroundings and effectively learn more about the world they live in. Hence, fostering these skills is probably the most important mission of education worldwide.
The evolving technological capacity of mobile phones has increased scope for educational purposes. However, mobile phones can sometimes be disruptive rather than useful. Usually, use of the mobile phones among college students is concentrated on the production of images and video clips. They hardly use it for learning purposes. Sometimes students may use cell phones inside the classroom for other purposes which aren’t educational. This sort of misuse of cell phones proves to be a distraction in the educational environment; it also hampers their studies and can lead to poor career choices.

Using mobile phones also has further disadvantages. Most students have become addicted to social networking that they hardly have time for anything else. Extreme addiction to social networking can lead to poor performance in tests and exams. The addiction can lead to communication gap even among the members of their own family. This is a clear instance of the misuse of cell phones and other electronic devices. Cell phones have also been found to be used for malpractices in test and exams. Students even create false emergencies in an attempt to get out of class just to log into their social networking sites and escape from class activities. All this has led to an individual not being socially active and can result in a lethargic younger generation.

The use of cell phones has its fair share of advantages as well as disadvantages. Ultimately, it all depends on the individual and on how he or she uses it. Mobile phones are important tools for communication. They are indispensable tools in our daily lives and a vital aspect for advancement, which is why, we must learn how to balance its pros and cons and use it to our advantage.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Adapt or Perish - Imtitola, Asst. Professor, Commerce Department

Competition exists in every sphere and facet of our lives from politics, sports to business. Political parties are redefining themselves to appeal to the people, sports men are using better equipment and ideas to get an edge over their opponents, businesses have to generate profit or eventually collapse. Healthy competition demands that we adapt to survive and to stay relevant. However, for competition to be useful it requires an environment with a level playing field consisting of the basic essentials of a well governed society. It also requires an understanding that we need competitors to push us sometimes.

Adapt or Perish

What comes to your mind when one says the word ‘Survival of the Fittest’? “Survival of the Fittest” is actually a phrase that originated in the evolutionary theory as an alternative way of describing the mechanism of natural selection and was coined by the naturalist, Herbert Spencer. He first used this phrase after reading Charles Darwin’s (an English naturalist and geologist) 5th edition of On the Origin of Species published in 1869.

The interpretation of this phrase is to express the theory of ‘fit’ and ‘unfit’ individual or species in a test. It is the theory that the fittest individual/species survives; there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. Every person has their own opinion and in this case, it may not be acceptable to all or applicable, in all the areas. The individual/species that survives are not always the strongest, fastest, or smartest. When pressed for a further explanation of the term, however, the majority will probably accept this statement, while others may deny.

Today, we are witnessing lots of emerging trends, not only in the political scenario, but also in different social, economic and technological fields - which involve heavy competition to survive. Besides competition, the ability to adapt to any situation or environment is the driving force behind survival. Competition prevails in different spheres of life like politics where there is inevitable competition within the government, and even - to provide an easy example - in sports in which winning is the primary goal of every sportsman. It is also present in the field of business in which businessmen compete with one another to survive in the market and so on. What’s important to ask here is: Why do we compete with one another? And why is it necessary to compete? The answer to this question could be explained by the theory of “survival of the fittest”. To put it simply, we compete because we want to be the best and also because our very survival depends on it.

Here, I would like to express this phrase from the business environment terminology. Growing a business is not an easy task. It is not about isolating oneself from a competitor or working against one another in order to succeed. The fact is, successful competitors tend to meet on a more common ground. One day they will be collaborating, and the next day they will be bidding against each other. The key to survive or win market shares is to differentiate one’s company from ones competitors by providing products, services, and solutions that will make their product more desirable than that of their competitors. The central question is: why do some companies thrive while others perish? Why do some make extravagant profits, while others losses? What is the secret to survival? The factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental condition (some of which might be changes in customer taste and behavior). The strategy of a business or a brand is to be best “fitted” or best “adapted”, to its environment (market and customers) to survive and flourish. Right products/services to the right customer at the right time take the lead. No one can argue with the fact that our economy has become progressively more globalised and as such, all customers expect great products/services, regardless of their background. Businessmen or companies needs to cater to the many different needs and expectations of today’s increasingly diverse customers. We are also witnessing dramatic changes in our own market itself. Different competitors exist, which show that the attitude and buying behavior or the capacity of consumers is changing. The challenge here is consumers tend to keep on switching from one product to another. The reason behind this is the availability of different brands and companies. A smart entrepreneur needs to be aware of the changing environment scenario and the behavior of the consumer. By providing the right product at the right time at the right place and at the right price through the right channels of distribution, customer loyalty will be achieved. This will enable a company to remain in the race of the survival of the fittest.

Take a pause and look around, you will see mushrooming of smart, creative and innovative entrepreneurs. Can we make use of such resources for everyone’s benefit? Many entrepreneurs attempt to start their own venture, which is very good, but unfortunately some happen to shut down, while some are on the edge and barely surviving. Many businesses fail to survive long because they produce goods which are not fit with the environment and not according to the needs and wants of their consumers.

Entrepreneurs must learn to adapt and do things differently; he/she should have a plan and not merely a dream. An important quality one must possess is the ability to listen to other people’s advice because they need people to bounce off ideas and scrutinise what is being done, because ultimately it is the public they need to please and not themselves alone. One’s success is about the survival of a business and not about individual interests. If one can consistently cater to public demand and wants, then I believe that at the end of the day, you can be proud of your company’s achievement. Wise decisions made today will definitely ensure survival in the future.
“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 recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email:”.  

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Attitude: It Matters - Anatoli Rochill, Assistant Professor, History

It was possible for a short man like Napoleon to conquer Europe. A young man like Alexander the Great had old kings surrendering to his tactical prowess in battle when he expanded the Macedonian Empire. We also know about the biblical David who challenged the huge Goliath when the rest of the Israelites were cowering in fear. While all the people are from different cultures and different times, they became what they were because of their attitude. 

"There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative." -W. Clement Stone

Attitude: It Matters

Attitude as defined by psychologist as, “a mental state. It is a point of view, which one holds towards a person, objects, task, or an idea.” It stimulates the behaviour of an individual towards a purposeful direction. It can further be explained as a state of mental preparedness. Attitude is a social trait, which gradually develops as a result of an individual’s experiences. The misconception about attitude is that it is quite closely used to terms such as opinion and belief. Opinion refers to the expression of one’s judgement of a particular set of facts, where as an attitude is a generalised tendency to react towards an object or concept. Differences can be made between attitude and belief: belief is the cognitive component of attitude which reflects the manner in which an object is perceived.

Attitude is of two types i.e. positive and negative attitude. Each one of us exhibits either a positive or negative attitude with regard to food habits, culture, religion, politics, subjects, etc. Our attitude defines our entire personality and depending on that, we either possess a strong or weak personality. Attitude, I would say, is dynamic. Attitudes can be impressionable, at the same time they can have a persuasive effect on others. Attitude also motivates an individual towards a particular goal or direction. They differ from individual to individual.

The nature of one’s attitude greatly impacts one’s approach to life, whether personal or professional. I’ve learned from my personal experience that students mostly adopt a readymade attitude towards subjects like history, political science and economics and treat them as difficult subjects. Here, ‘readymade’ means the attitude which one picks up from someone else (friends, seniors, elders etc.). In this context, the student usually forms an attitude towards a subject even before they are introduced to their syllabus, and this attitude has a profound influence on their learning. It is therefore, advisable for a student to possess a positive attitude in respect to different subjects, as the amount of this attitude will motivate them to perform better. As a teacher, it depends on how much we can inculcate a healthy attitude in students with regard to the different subjects we teach. For instance, in order to motivate my students, I teach history in the simplest and most understandable way by using the story telling method, which creates interest among the students. This method of teaching inculcates interest and directly leads to the kind of attention that I expect from them. In this way, we can help the students form a positive attitude to specific subjects.

Teaching is a bi-polar process where both the teachers and the students have to participate actively otherwise, teaching becomes monotonous. A student should possess a positive attitude by developing the habit of  asking questions, clarifying their doubts, responding, taking initiative in various activities, etc. However, in the absence of these positive attitudes,  the teaching-learning process becomes boring and inefficient. As a teacher, one can inculcate the above positive qualities to the students by approaching them individually, asking questions and clarifying their doubts, etc. A teacher should have patience and sympathy in listening to the response of the students. If the student gives a wrong response, the teacher can correct it by using friendly feedback like ‘try harder’, ‘you almost got it’, and other such similar responses. It is advisable to avoid sarcastic remarks and offensive words. In case of a correct response, the teacher should use a positive reinforcement such as ‘well done’, ‘carry on’, ‘good job’, etc. In this way, the students will open up and express themselves more freely. They will clarify their doubts, difficulties, and learning problems which hinder their education. At the same time, the students get room to contribute their ideas and opinions. Classroom learning depends on the participation of both the teacher and the student. Verbal interaction which takes place between the teacher and the learner helps in moulding the personality of the students to a great extent.

An individual’s attitude is significant for satisfaction and success in educational and vocational fields. Development of a desirable attitude towards oneself and others, and participating in a variety of activities are some of the major objectives of education. Education plays a vital role in the formation of attitudes. It is possible to know the extent to which necessary attitudes have been developed among the students. Attitudes also play an important role in the success of an individual in different vocations. Different types of professions require different attitudes. Attitudes determine the choice of career plans. An educational and vocational plan related to the child’s ability and aptitude may be out of reach for an individual because it may not be consistent with his/her attitude. Attitudes give clues regarding adjustment and personality. For instance, our attitude towards different situations determine our mode of reaction and adjustment in these situations. Thus, attitude is an important personality trait.
“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 recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email:”.  

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Management: It’s Not Just About Business - Rose Mary Apon, Assistant Professor, Commerce

Commerce students who take up management honours pursue courses ranging from entrepreneurship, Human resources management, business communication to auditing and more. However, if we were to actually take a closer look at Management, then we would see it touch almost every aspect of our lives. Management skills are needed not only for the business professional but the church leader, the parent and the student.   

Management: It’s Not Just About Business

Every individual or organisation has their own goals and desires which can be achieved only through efficient and effective management.  Management in simple words means managing things (men, time, finance, resources) tactfully. Management refers to all those activities which are concerned with the formulation of objectives, plans and policies. According to Mary Parker Follett, a great management thinker’, “Management is the art of getting things done through others”. . Henry Fayol, another great management thinker believes that to manage is, “to forecast, to plan, to organise, to command, to co-ordinate, and to control.” Management is also a process (defined as a systematic way of doing activities to achieve the objectives) consisting of inter-related functions like planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling.. Proper implementation of management makes a person or an organisation stand tallest amongst all. The word ‘Management’ is a huge subject. It carries different meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. Here, I would like to stress on some areas which will be important for an individual in achieving its goal and its contribution towards the society or organisation.

The need for an importance of management to become successful in life, assumes great significance. It requires a special skill and knowledge to seek the fullest co-operation to achieve one’s objectives set by an individual or an organisation. Management is important for an individual or an organisation because it helps in achieving its goals and objectives through effective utilisation of time and different resources. Those organisations that perform management functions effectively, survives. The success of an organisation, both formal and informal, depends largely on how well the various activities and resources are managed, planned and organised.  Likewise, the success of an individual depends on how effectively he/she manages the activities of life.

Management exists everywhere. In fact, each one of us practices management in every walk of our life, but the fact is, we don’t actually realise it. When we hear the word ‘management’, the first thing that comes to our mind is business or managing money or finance or human resources. We must realise that management is not only for institutions, organisations or companies but it is also related to our personal life. When I mention this, some of us will question how do I exercise managerial functions? But the fact is, everyone, irrespective of our different profession, job or position, performs management, starting from our own doorstep. As rightly defined by Louis Allen, ‘Management is what a manager does’. Every individual is responsible for one’s own life, depending on how one decides, plans and implements its objectives. We are all managers of our own life as we are all managing our life in our own way. Our success will be determined by how effective we use our management skills in dealing with different situations of life.
Parents have the responsibility of bringing up their children as well as managing their activities. Parents perform managerial activities to a large extend. They have to manage their time for their work, for their children, and other social responsibilities as well. Parents should guide their children in a way that they get the right thing at the right time, and also at the right place. If their managing skill is effective, their children will grow up to be responsible citizens, else the wheel will turn the other way round. Parents should realise the interests and capabilities of their children, nurture them and point them to the right direction, where they best fit.  

Students are the ones who need proper management in every aspect of life. Every morning, they manage themselves by standing in front of the mirror, to groom themselves and make sure that their uniforms are immaculately put on for the class. If all these formalities are not taken care of, the whole thing will be a mess. In order to be a better performer, one needs to be a responsible student. They need to know how to manage their time, studies and other co-curricular activities. In the end, those students who manage well will excel in every area of life, for instance, in academic, sports or in any other co-curricular activities.

Even teachers, preachers, bankers, businessman, administrators, social workers or any other profession requires management so as to flourish in his/her work, as well as in personal life. They should manage their time and resources (human and non-human) efficiently in order to achieve the desired goals. Proper planning, organising, executing and controlling are mandatory in attaining greater heights of goals.
Management is, therefore, basically concerned with getting things done at a right time with the right resources and at the right place. Ultimately, it is understood that a meticulous manager is on the absolute track of attaining the goals without any delay.

The Missing Principles in Naga Society - Zuchano Khuvung, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Moral and ethical values as social categories are crucial for generating a sound culture in any given society. However, people tend t...