Saturday, 29 November 2014

Welcome to the Semester System - Amar Ranjan Dey | Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce

College students all over Nagaland are now appearing for their End Semester Exams. So, what really is the semester system? We need to realize that the introduction of the Semester System by Nagaland University in 2009 for the Undergraduate Programmeis very different from the Annual System, which we had been following for years since High School. Teachers now follow a different grading system and teaching methodology that could change the scope of education, if implemented correctly. That is why, it is important that teachers, students and parents clearly understand more about the NU Undergraduate Semester System.

Welcome to the Semester System

The semester system is becoming a very proactive system as it engages both the faculty and students throughout the year in academic activity. In a semester system, student has more advantages; since examinations are helda few months from the start of the session, which also means what is studied will remain fresh in their brain.; The syllabus load will be less; And different topics need not be combined in the same paper;

Higher Education today dependson quality for its advancement.If we look at the education system over time, it has been almost consistent all over the world. Through advancement and exposure to new concepts, educationists investigate possibilities to teach texts in innovative ways. There are a number of good ideas, proposals and suggestions for reforms and changes in the educational system. The aim should be to not just pick one of them but rather, have a comprehensive attitude and approach to implement those that are most effective. Therefore, introduction of semester can be said to be a product of this. The semester system has been introduced in the undergraduate curriculumin affiliated colleges in the university with effect from 2009 onwards. Teachers, students and guardians who were used to the practice and idea of the annual system were slightly hesitant in its implementation. Especially in schools, the students and teachers are used to rigorous work, and are compelled to study almost the whole year with two or three major breaks as vacations in the bi-yearly or tri-yearly examinations. The introduction of this system can be evaluated as part of the consistency of the school years.

A semester system is an academic term denoting the duration of a programme or course. Usually, an academic semester is divided in two parts or terms in a year. Literally, semester means six month period. In India this six month system is generally followed. The Central universities in India have long been following this for quite sometime. At present, the under graduate colleges in Nagaland too follow   the semester system, which has many advantages that I would like to highlight below.

The main objective is to broaden the outlook of the students and instil in them a sense of confidence and responsibility. It orients the students with different forms, style and thoughts in other parts of the country and beyond. The students are continuously evaluated throughout the duration of a semester which keeps them more alert.Unit or class tests act as model tests for the final examination. A detailed account of the student’s progress can be produced in semester. It also allows greater interaction with teachers and the students through presentations and discussions. . Students are now assessed not only on the basis of final examination that used to be at the end of each year anymore. Results are now declared on grade basis with credit points in each semester rather than on division basis i.e., Grade O whichmeans marks between 80-100, Grade A which means marks between 70-79.99, Grade B which means marks between 60-69.99, Grade C which falls between 55 – 59.99, Grade D for 50 – 54.99 marks, Grade E for 45 – 49.99 marks and Grade F (Fail) for marks less than 44.99.Students now have more opportunity to secure higher marks than the annual system, due to the marking scheme which entails 30 marks for internal tests and 70 marks for the final exam or semester end-exam.

We find that most nations of the world today are constantly switching to the semester system. It is estimated that the famous global economics of the world today are USA, China and India. In the world of competitions, one of the largest is education. We find that China is almost replacing USA in this area too, apart from fighting hand in hand in occupying the global markets. In fact, trying to occupy the markets in the world of education is actually occupying the largest share of intellectual position in the global education ladder. To compete and win, the rules should be the same. Following the footsteps of the important nations of the world, India, without wastingany more time wants to fall in the same system, which also means Nagaland is a contender too.Introduction of the semester system in Nagaland, I believe, might help in increasingthe quality of education. This system has already been used rather successfully in professional courses like B.B.A, B.Com and Journalism taught at the under graduate level at some universities across the country. Despite some initial resistance, there is growing appeal to the semester system. It is a sign of encouragement to the academic world. The human resources lie in the youth under the guidance of the teachers. The hard work and integrity of the teacher is proved too in this new experimentation. It does not mean that theannual system is worthless system, however,experimentation with something new is a habit with human beings to create something better in competing with the other markets around the world.The policy maker of our education system thus needs a forward looking strategy, which could safeguard our interests at the global level. It needs to organize itself in such a manner that it makes our student community competent and skilled to succeed in an independent world.
“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:”.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

R.I.P PRIVACY - Anjan Behera, Asst. Professor, Department of English

“My life had changed overnight. No longer could I ignore Whatsapp messages and pretend that my battery had been down… thanks to Whatsapp’s silent update - the double blue tick.” With new apps and social networking sites dominating our lives, how much of our personal space can we really call ‘private’?

My life had changed overnight. No longer could I ignore Whatsapp messages and pretend that my battery had been down, or that my phone was hanging more than Atal Behari Vajpayee’s speech. Gone were the days when I could blame poor BSNL or Airtel networks for my snobbishness, and escape the tyranny of responding to dumb messages like some godforsaken puppy’s image, or the most offensive racist and sexist jokes. My etiquette is now under strict scrutiny, thanks to Whatsapp’s silent update- the double blue tick. A single tick means the message is sent, double tick shows the message is received by the recipient’s handset, and a double blue tick means the message has been read. In a matter of seconds, our privacy had been violated, and social media had reached yet another milestone.
Whatsapp Messenger is a proprietary, cross-platform instant messaging subscription service for smartphones and selected feature phones that uses the internet for communication. Simply put, it is a messenger app that allows text messaging as well as sending images, video, and audio media messages as well as their location using integrated mapping features. Whatsapp Inc. was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!. The company is based in Mountain View, California and employs 55 people.
Whatsapp revolutionized instant messaging by automatically adding users from one’s contact list. Its hassle free usage and minimal internet requirement added on to its advantages that made it the most popular IM app. Whatsapp in India is free because payment for it requires Google Money, an app for money transactions which is still unavailable in India. The app auto-renews itself at the end of the subscription period. As of October 2014, Whatsapp has crossed 70 million monthly active users in India, which is 10% of its total user base.
Facebook and other social networking sites freely access our albums, messages, call history, camera, GPS information and contacts. This means that even our phone is no longer private and that is a genuine problem! Comparatively, Whatsapp is a preferred app since it did not display information about whether messages had been read. It also had, and still has the option of blocking out people not in the contact list of one’s phone to check one’s profile picture, time last logged in, and profile name. One can also block users. However, all of this has changed with the recent acquisition of the app by Facebook Inc. With more of our private lives on display, I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to privacy?
Whatsapp isn’t the only application to be blamed. Apps like Instagram, Facebook, Hike Messenger, WeChat, and others have given us a chance to display our private lives on the broad spectrum. Instagram made everyone a self-declared photographer, where photography was mainly, if not always, that of a dish about to be gulped down. Mundane life becomes an eventful life. The hashtags and geotagging would supply information about where and when the picture had been taken pinpointing the exact location of the user. Facebook also allowed geotagging of status messages and posts. In 2013, the New York Police Department (NYPD) attributed social networking to several cases of tracking down criminals and missing people.
But perhaps these apps and sites are not the sole culprit. I mean let’s face it, I created a Facebook profile, I shared my photographs and locations for the world to see, I allowed display of my content to strangers. Do I then really want privacy? Psychologist Andrew Thorne of the Massachusetts Psychiatry Institute is of the opinion that ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on Facebook and other social networking sites provide constant and instant gratification. “It is like someone patting you on the back, saying ‘job well done’.” And let’s face it; we all do appreciate a little bit of flattery. Is that why we display our lives for everyone to see? It is hard to admit, but we do find happiness being scrutinized positively by others. But another side of this argument is that social networking is now a trend, a basic custom set for us by the postmodern nouveau riche youth dominated society. Can we afford to not participate in this sharing of information and be classified as the networking subaltern?
Perhaps then privacy is a thing of the past. We stand on the brink of a new era. If history is any indicator, we have already been allowing technology to dictate our lives. There was a time when we could share images on social media and keep it limited to a handful of people. However, with every update, Facebook automatically relaxes policies, Instagram keeps my images public, Twitter forces me to read paid content, games force me to pay for upgrades despite having purchased a working game. Ads pop up based on my browsing history suggesting me content I didn’t even know I wanted to access. Google pops up search results based on browsing history, while Facebook suggests pages based on the groups I belong to. This means our entire online activity is actually being recorded. Recorded by whom? Why exactly? How much of data is actually recorded? No one knows.

The New York Daily Newspaper on 16th November 2014 reported that a man in Saudi Arabia was granted a divorce because his wife ignored his messages on Whatsapp. The transcript of their chat history was submitted as evidence in court where the blue ticks betrayed the “innocent” testimony of the wife. What is of interest to me here is the fact that laws are considering and even accepting ignored IM messages as legitimate grounds for a divorce. Are we starting to take IMing and Social Networking a little too seriously? Our ancestors would probably sit under trees and gossip about which girl is having an affair with which boy, and which wife is spending more time on her makeup than her family. We all do the exact same, except the medium is now a polished and modern app whose usage puts us in the category of the tech-savvy elite. What constitutes as privacy is no longer apparent, and all we can do is wait and watch as the world slips into this new era where the internet knows more about us than we do ourselves.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Conducive Environments for Learning - Mhabeni Tungoe, Assistant Professor, Education Department

The all India Swach Bharat Abhiyan campaign that was launched on 2nd October sent a message across the nation about the importance of cleanliness and protecting the environment around us. It is true that our environment largely shapes the kind of individuals we become. So whether it is aimed at building toilets to maintain hygiene and sanitation or better educational institutions to raise the quality of education, we must strive to create a conducive environment around us.

Conducive Environments for Learning

Environment plays a very important role in developing the life of an individual. Psychologically speaking, environment refers to all those stimuli which an individual faces from the moment of fertilization till death. Evidently, under it are included all those things that somehow or other, affect an individual’s development except his genes. Genes provide various organs in order to show different behavior and the environment develops these organs. It is often said that a particular individual’s environment is good and bad referring to geographical, rural, urban and cultural. If we refer to environment in the psychological sense, this type of reference to environment is incomplete. Psychologically, environment of two individuals are not similar. For instance, two blood relation brothers aged ten and fifteen years are present at a time in a room under similar environment. In this situation, so many differences come in their individual environment, which on receiving the same situation, the responses of the two brothers may vary. It will depend on their past experience based on what they perceive or learn from the present condition or what type of responses they may make towards it. Despite being brought up in an apparently similar environment, difference in the likes, abilities and emotional susceptibilities may be found even in brothers and sisters. This is because the environment of two individuals is never the same. Due to their individual nature, persons receive different responses from others and they also exhibit different responses towards their environment.

Generally, environment is divided into two categories – natural and social. By natural environment we refer to all things and forces in and around the earth that influence a person. There is a clear distinction in the way of living, complexion and shape etc. of a person living in different environments. Human beings, with the help of various faculties, have succeeded in building a social environment for himself. This social environment is as old as human civilization itself. In this environment comes the civilization inherited from forefathers and the present human society. By civilization inherited from forefathers it means the environment which the person sees around himself on acquiring consciousness in the society i.e. language, arts, religion, constitution, means of communication, wealth, luxury etc. Human society refers to those institutions which human beings have established for their own protection and security; institutions like educational institutions, home, village, city, town, and other numerous organizations.

Education begins from birth and continues till death: it is an important human activity. There is no boundary for education. Educational implications are rich and varied. It includes the process of learning, knowledge and experiences acquired by a person in his life time. All the learning, knowledge and experiences gained by an individual are through environment. Among the environment factors in learning, educational institutions in the form of school, college and university are worth mentioning. Educational institutions are considered as the nucleus around which the society resolves. It is the social institution that set up the society to serve its ends. The environment of an educational institution, thus, plays a major role in molding the ideas, habits, and attitudes of the students to produce physically strong, mentally alert, emotionally stable, culturally sound, socially efficient and well balanced personality. The environment of the class room, physical facilities, as well as the campus does have a great deal to contribute to the total success of the educational institution. The environment of educational institution involves human resources and material resources. The human resources are the people involved in the teaching learning process - head of the institution, administration staff, teachers, students and all other individuals contributing in the institution. The material resources are the physical facilities of the institutional environment. Beautiful surroundings generate a congenial atmosphere for its success. In any educational institution, if the administration is strong and implementing the rules and regulations well, then we find a well discipline environment inside the campus of that institution, but if the administration is weak, the environment will be total chaos and it will largely affect the process of learning. Learning is the key aspect in education. To give over all learning experience to the student’s environment is a necessity. Learning, as we know, is considered an activity which develops habits, knowledge and attitude in individuals (in any respect, good or bad) and in return, influences his behavior and experiences. It is very important to create congenial and educative environment to achieve three domains of learning objectives-

1. Cognitive domain (Intellectual development)-Cognitive learning refers to the acquisition of problem-solving abilities by use of intelligent and conscious thought.

2. Affective domain (Emotional development) - The affective domain includes factors such as student motivation, attitudes, perceptions, values, and emotions.

3. Psychomotor domain (Physical development) - Psychomotor learning is demonstrated by physical skills such as movement, coordination, manipulation, dexterity, and strength.

The environment of an educational institution should make students establish the contact with truth and to take the decision accordingly, facilitating students to become the best worker and the best thinker,  helping them to understand the ground reality and adjust in a better way, enabling them to gain new experiences and  perform constructive tasks.

In the educational process, the environment of the institution plays a key role to fulfill the overall objectives of education.

Carol B. Hillman -“A positive learning climate in a school for young children is a composite of many things.  It is an attitude that respects children. It is a place where children receive guidance and encouragement from the responsible adults around them. It is an environment where children can experiment and try out new ideas without fear or failure.  It is an atmosphere that builds children’s self-confidence so they dare to take risks.  It is an environment that nurtures a love of learning”.
“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:”.

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...