Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Job Race - Kezevinuo, Assistant Professor, Department of Education

Life after college or university can be a difficult transition for anyone. While some aim to go for further studies, others may want to start working. When it comes to job hunting, how does one begin? In Nagaland, there are thousands of educated unemployed, all looking out for the right job. For students who are soon graduating this year and ready to enter the work force, there is a lot more you need to know about facing interviews while competing against a roomful of others, and also finding a job that can not only meet your needs but provide work satisfaction. This week’s writer offers some tips for all job aspirants.

The Job Race

According to a survey in 2014, 70% of hiring professionals opined that sending a resume online is preferred. Dropping off a resume in person gives employers the impression you are not comfortable with the electronic process or technology, and that reflects negatively on your adaptability and proficiency. A survey of what employers look for in a candidate shows that 36% want someone who can multitask, 31% want who shows initiative, and 21% want someone who is creative. While the average length of interviews is 40 minutes, 33% of 2000 surveyed bosses indicated that they know within the first 90 seconds if they will hire that candidate. How can they make such a decision in less than 2 minutes? In the same survey, respondents noted the following non-verbal mistakes as some of the reasons why you may be eliminated during the interview: 70% indicated the candidates were too trendy or fashionable, 67% indicated failure to make eye contact, 55% the way the candidate dressed, acted or walked through the door, 47% who had little or no knowledge of the company, 38% for lack of smile, quality of voice and overall confidence, 33% for bad postures, 26% because their handshakes was too weak, 21% for crossing their arms over their chest during the interview.

Education that one receives ultimately leads to one place; that is, the search for a job. Finding a job is not easy especially if it is for the first time. When dark clouds gather in the high skies, they are usually accompanied by lightening. In the same manner wherever there is education, it should be accompanied by wisdom. Students have to recognize such an association as an essential truth. For some it is quick and easy to get a job, while for others it is a difficult and a long process. Looking for a job right after graduation can be intimidating. Sometimes work is just one of those things you don’t want to deal with. Work can be stressful and affect the other areas of life. Job stress is more closely linked to health problems than finances or family issues. You must have heard about how competitive the job affair is. But remember there is never a small or big job. What is required is your hard work.

It is important for you to work out what career you are interested in. Just because you have completed a law degree does not mean you have to become a lawyer. You may be interested in business, administration, journalism, social worker etc. With so many options, how do you narrow it down? Think of any work experience that you might have enjoyed. Perhaps you took an interest in writing articles or even engaged working in small teams. Even think of subjects, assignments, project works in your course that you liked and excelled in. Whatever your strengths are, apply for jobs with them in minds. Along with the job comes the work satisfaction. Finding a job we are passionate about isn’t easy as it seems. Life goes by quickly and before you know it, you may find yourself stuck in a not so great job, working for a not so great boss and wondering how you got there.

It so happens that you applied for many jobs and someone finally called you to set up an interview. You are ecstatic and you can barely wait for that moment. But then you realize you are not alone who is anticipating to get the job. There is a handful of people like you who are anticipating as well. You have to make it through the job interview. And no matter how many times you go through a job interview, the fear never seems to go away. You never know what your interviewer will be like or what kind of questions he or she will ask. Also the endless possibilities of how you should present yourself, how you should answer, how you should dress. Your degree isn’t the only thing that matters. You should think about what skills you can offer, how much time you can commit to voluntary work, how pro-active you are etc.

You may encounter some hurdles along the way for sure; as carving a successful career is never that easy and the start is often the most difficult part of the entire process. But as the saying goes well begun is half done. The trick is to keep positive attitude and never say no to opportunities that might come on your way; read the advertisement you are applying to; use common sense; be polite, courteous and smile; be self-confident; know a bit more about the department or the institution; don’t be late; check your body posture and dress for the occasion, don’t badmouth other people, be a good communicator. One should be wise to sharpen their presentation skills if they wish to land their dream job.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Proxy Teacher versus the Ideal Teacher - Monjit Roy, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce


As Nagaland continues to battle the rampant problem of proxy teachers and unsuitable learning environment and infrastructure in some areas, the high demand for education increases every year. Students want an education and parents want a future for their children. There is a growing demand from parents and students for quality teachers who are committed with a passion to their professions, and in return a suitable amount of respect demanded towards the profession itself. Teachers have the difficult task of engaging the minds of a diverse group of students that sometimes require one to extend their knowledge beyond the textbook and the confines of the classroom. It leads one to question, what exactly makes for an ideal teacher? This question is frequently asked to students in the classroom and surveys indicate that students also require adapting to teaching styles that may be suitable to one but which are not for the other. As an educator, we must also ask ourselves how far are we willing to commit ourselves towards trying to become an ideal teacher for a vast majority of students or a select few?

Proxy Teacher versus the Ideal Teacher

A teacher plays the most important role in the life of every person. According to the Hindu mythology the importance of a teacher is greater than the importance of God. Kabir Das, the great poet of medieval India also said that, “it is right that God is the master of the world. Every function of the world is regulated by the order of God and the main target of the human being is to secure his place near the foot of God but one cannot reach God without the proper guidance of teachers.”  Even the great personalities like Rama, Arjuna, Tulsidas, Chandragupta Maurya, Mahatma Gandhi etc were great because of  the guidance of their teacher or Guru.
A teacher is a respectable profession in our society because it is the teacher  who molds a child into an established person. It is the responsibility of a teacher to make a person become a good citizen. What the child learns from a teacher has great impact on his/her future. Teaching is a noble profession but nowadays we see that people opt for this profession only as a means of their livelihood and without giving a thought to the sacrifice, commitment and dedication it demands. However, it is not true in the case of those teachers who have the passion for teaching. One can be a good teacher but to become an ideal teacher one needs to have the spirit of devotion and dedication. An ideal teacher is rare to find but it is not impossible either. We have all had a teacher in our life who played an important role in molding us into who we are now; or maybe we still have one whom we look up to and who has impacted our life a great deal. I had one such ideal teacher who inspired me in many ways and his name was P.K. Chakraborty. He was my English teacher during my school days. He was the one who influenced me the most. I steer the ship of my destiny by his examples and advice. He once told me that, knowledge is not the end but the end of all knowledge is wisdom. Every book is our book. We should keep our eyes and ears open at all times and never stop learning as long as we live. He was a guide in all walks of my life. He was a person of noble character, a man who believed in the idea of simple living and high thinking. He was thorough in his subject and his method of teaching was very impressive. He taught with care in a clear and audible voice.  Whenever there was any problem with the students or if any student committed a mistake, he would handle them tactfully. He is one person who is responsible for molding my character and my career. I can never forget him as long as I live and I am still very proud of my English teacher.

Academic achievements are not the only requirement for a teacher but an ideal teacher should help in developing the all round personality of the student. A good teacher brings into play the hidden mental power of the students and must be a man of ideas. Thus, letting the students acquire self-respect and dignity from the teacher. He should be creative and not only spread information but also develop the love for learning. A teacher should not allow discipline to be taken lightly for the sake of showing love to a student. He should be a cultured man, honest to himself, to his student and to his profession; while having a sense of duty and responsibility.

Teachers are regarded as the backbone of the society. They are the greatest contributors in building up the character of the student and helping them to become an ideal citizen of the country. Teachers arouse the students with the light of knowledge and remove all kinds of ignorance. Yes, teaching is not an easy profession. There are many problems for a teacher that makes the profession more complicated than it has to be. The work of a teacher is physically and mentally challenging. A teacher needs to use a lot of energy in the classroom coupled with his personal and family commitment. Also, dealing with the students with difficult behavior can be stressful. However, there are also substantial benefits and awards for those who choose this career with passion and work hard to become a role model and inspire the students. An ideal teacher is the greatest asset of a country; and if the role of a teacher is to teach then the role of a student must be to learn.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Who is your Mentor? - Mhabeni Tungoe, Assistant professor Department of Education

College life has now kicked off for many students in Nagaland. As you enter new territory and find yourselves amongst new friends and teachers, it’s important to find the right support system to help propel your future forward. It may be in the form of a role model, a person you look up to, a teacher, a family member or even an elder brother or sister. Mentorship programme is another new initiative being introduced in many institutes in Nagaland for students who want more guidance and direction.

Who is your Mentor?

Mentorship existed since ancient Greek times. Historically, significant systems of mentorship include the guru-disciple tradition practiced in Hinduism and Buddhism. In today’s world we see and experience different mentoring in every arena of life, some examples are like Business mentoring, workplace mentors, leadership mentoring, student mentoring etc. Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person (mentor) helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person (mentee). Mentoring is a professional activity, a trusted relationship, a meaningful commitment that involves communications. Mentorship meetings can be formal or informal, which directly or indirectly helps an individual to become an efficient and successful person in their chosen area.  

In this write up my focus is on mentorship programme for the higher secondary and under graduate students. Why is it necessary? In what ways will it make life easier for the students? How to gain from this programme so that it will be beneficial for your studies, career and personal growth?  A student’s life is full of fun and adventure where one can experience and gain lots of knowledge, which can be either good or bad. Being a college student it is the time of your life when you can devote yourself pretty much entirely to something that interests you that will help you in your chosen career. It is an important period in a student’s life where one is standing on the path of roads and will be thinking and saying,” Ahh! What do I do? Do I go left, do I go right, or do I just go straight…?” Throughout the year different issues and problems may arise for the students, while not all students will experience the problems at the same time but at one point of time students will go through problems like -academic stress and pressure, confused about which career to chose, roommate conflicts , dating, time management and study habits, depression and anxiety ,financial worries, lack of motivation, intense pressure from family to excel, health problems  etc. To get help from these kinds of problems, mentorship programme is necessary for students. If you are a part of mentorship there will be someone who will mentor, care, and guide you. Mentors are there for you, knowing you individually – your weaknesses and strengths, disciplining you, encouraging you to do well in your studies as well in extra curricular activities, preparing you for life, improve your self-esteem and confidence. Not only that,  they can give goals, ideas, conflict and decisions to  develop careers that reflect your skills, potential and goals; and offer wisdom, knowledge, experience, constructive criticism, connections and resources focussing on your overall career direction. Mentors assure that interactions with mentees comply with applicable ethical standards. Typically, the process of mentoring also involves talking about mentors’ mistakes and successes. We need to keep in mind that mentor is there to help the students but it is up to the students whether to take the advice, suggestion and guidance that is given by their mentor. Students should keep in mind that it is important to share their problems expectations and goals in life to their mentors. In that way a mentor can guide you to succeed in your goals. Students also need to be ready to take positive and negative feedback from their mentors.

Mentorship programme is becoming recognized in educational institutions at college level in Nagaland as a highly effective personnel development method. Some of the Colleges in Dimapur that I know that offer mentoring program me are like Tetso college, St John College, Unity College , Government college and Patkai College. I asked some of the teachers from these colleges about mentorship programme at their college. The responses that I got are mostly positive. In every college mentoring meetings is scheduled, tracked, documented and evaluated. Mentoring programme goals are not always immediate. Some take time to harvest. On the other hand, for some, we can see immediate outcomes in this programme. For instance, students produce better results, their attendance improves, they display less behavioral problems and also those students who are introvert in nature are opening up to their mentors with different kinds of problems relating to personal and academic area. I also asked some of my students to give feedback on how the mentorship programme has helped them. The responses I got are very encouraging: some said that it helped in their academic and social activities; some were saying that they have clarified doubts and gained a lot of knowledge for further career options, and how to plan out for their career. Some were also thanking and appreciating the efforts of their mentors. The objective behind writing this article is therefore, to motivate students to take up the opportunities of a mentorship program at your college, as well as to encourage more initiatives like this for our students.  

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

“Let’s Take a Short Commercial Break” - Imtitola, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce

How many of you cringe when you are watching your favourite TV show and right at that crucial moment, in comes a commercial flashing across the screen, leaving you to fend with a battle of emotions of anxiety, frustration and impatience. Yes, TV advertisements or commercials can be an absolute pain for some, while for some others they are even considered a source of entertainment. In the business world, they are key elements for marketing and branding purposes. This week’s writer highlights about the effectiveness of advertisement and how it can act as an important tool for emerging Naga entrepreneurs.

“Let’s Take a Short Commercial Break”
-         Imtitola, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce

“Let’s take a short commercial break!” These words are the bane of many TV viewers around the world. Many would just switch channels, some would continue watching without really concentrating; some would leave the room or do something when commercials appear. However, some actually watch it. This shows that every viewer has different preferences.

Advertising is a form of marketing communication used to persuade the audience to take or continue with some action. It is derived from the Latin word ‘ad vertere’ which means ‘to turn toward’. The objective is to change the thinking pattern (or buying behavior) of the recipient, so that he or she is persuaded to take the action desired by the advertiser. When aired on radio or television, an advertisement is called a commercial. On the other hand, any medium that can take a message from an organization to a potential consumer can also be identified as advertising. Some of the advertising media are newspapers and magazines (known as classified ads); radio, online advertising, in-store advertising, billboard advertising, global advertising etc. In addition to this, media planning and buying agencies are responsible for planning and buying the advertising media with an incredibly competitive price for the companies so that it can reach the intended or targeted audience. MediaCom and Mindshare are some of the agencies that handle lots of top companies in India.

Today, we are witnessing a drastic change in the business world in our state Nagaland. Entrepreneurship is becoming an emerging trend and the most debated topic. Keeping up with the ever growing business enterprises is an ongoing battle but adapting to the newest and latest innovative trends is a must. Whether one is a budding entrepreneur, or an executive, it is quite dicey for one to pursue any business venture without having a proper understanding of it. In such instances, advertisements can act as a great facilitator in helping one to make a germane choice. Someone rightly said that advertisement is like a substitute elder brother who helps in decision making. Very soon, a time will come when local entrepreneurs vie with each other like Chung Ju-Yung (Hyundai) and Soichiro Honda (Honda) or Azim Premji (Wipro) and N. R. Narayana Murthy (Infosys) and Shiv Nadar (HCL) or Ogilvy and Mather Ltd (O&M) and Mudra Communication Ltd., etc. In such situations advertisements will prove to be a powerful tool that will complement in the process of operating businesses in Nagaland. No matter how impressive our products or services may be; if no one knows that it exists, we cannot sell such products and services. Our people have come up with so many exciting original products but it is not very well known in other parts of the country. One of the reasons may be because of lack of proper advertising.

Marketing is like the backbone of every business and advertising plays a key role in its marketing plan. Sometimes advertisements are deceptive by giving out false claims while promoting products and often naive consumers get conned into buying products they don’t actually need, and at times end up buying inferior products. It also tends to exaggerate greatly by criticizing the competitor’s product and since an advertisement is repeated continuously, it creates a sense of desire in the minds of the consumer to want to buy the product they see. Interestingly, the amount of money spent on advertisement is added to the distribution cost of the product. Thus, in the end it is the consumer who is paying not just the cost of the product but also the amount spent on such advertisements. But despite the negative aspects of advertisements, it is the main ingredient in any marketing strategy for every business to succeed in the present business environment. It helps in educating the people regarding the availability and new uses of the various products. It also gives the people more options in exercising their freedom of choice. It also helps people improve their standard of living by availing new and modern products. Businessmen spend huge amounts of money in advertisements and thus contribute towards the economic growth of a country. So, there is no denying the fact that advertisements are a useful tool. The bottom line is commercials that appeal to people’s optimism make them far more likely to fall in love with the brand, regardless of the type of product being advertised.

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...