Monday, 31 August 2015

How Are ICTs Affecting the Education System of our Naga Society? - Kavika K Yepthomi, Assistant professor, Department of Economics

Education is experiencing a paradigm shift through the use of technology and more innovative ways of learning from online courses and tutorials to conference calls or web attendance etc. Incorporating new age technology in the learning process seems to be the future of education. However, is Nagaland ready for this? While there may be mixed responses to this question, we are rapidly witnessing education in emerging societies employing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to facilitate large-scale learning needs for social and economic development. This week’s writer reviews the use of ICT in education, its merits and demerits while calling attention to all educators to study more about how we can maximise its benefits wisely. 

How Are ICTs Affecting the Education System of our Naga Society?

Knowledge is a major asset and product of the society, upon which continued economic well-being and social development depends on, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are in the mainstream of these developments. ICTs are the means for providing an access to the continuous learning which is necessary for successful participation in the society and development of all social groups of the population. ICTs have in fact become a critical tool for professional training; the sooner learners know how to use ICTs, the easier they can find their way to capture the newest methods of data acquisition and transformation to knowledge. The level of technological development is used as an indicator not only of the economic power and standard of living of a country, but also of the place and role of this country in the global community.

Tinio (2002) in his article “ICT in Education: UN Development Programme” has stated the potentials of ICTs in increasing access and improving relevance and quality of education in developing countries. D. M. Watson (2001) describes that, ICTs have revolutionized the way people work today and are now transforming education systems. As a result, if schools train children in yesterday’s skills and technologies they may not be effective and fit in tomorrow’s world. This is a sufficient reason for ICTs to win global recognition and attention. ICTs are dependable tools in facilitating the attainment of one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is achievement of universal primary education by the year 2015. Kofi Anan, the former United Nations Secretary General, pointed out that in order to attain the goal of Universal Primary Education by the year 2015; we must ensure that information and communication technologies (ICTs) unlock the door of education systems. Thus this directs our attention towards the growing demand and the progressively more important place which (ICTs) has received in education.

The Benefits of ICT use in Education
The uses of ICT is making major differences in the learning of students and teaching approaches. Several studies revealed that students using ICT facilities mostly show higher learning gains than those who do not use. For instance, J. A. Kulik’s (1994) findings indicated that primary school students who used tutorial software in reading scored significantly higher on reading scores. It has been put up by M. Volman (2005), that there is a common belief about the use of ICTs in education as a contributor to a more constructivist learning and an increase in activity and greater responsibility of students. He further stressed that the gradual progress in using computers changes from learning about computers, to learning computers, and finally to learning with computers.

Limitations of ICT use in Education
ICT which simplifies and facilitates human activities is not only advantageous in many respects, but also has many limitations. Although teachers’ attitude towards use of these technologies is vital, many observations have revealed that teachers do not have clarity about how far technology can be a beneficial for the facilitation and enhancement of learning. Teachers’ resistance and lack of enthusiasm to use ICT in education may be one of the first limitations common in our Naga society. Furthermore, many teachers may not even have the required IT skills and feels uncomfortable. Therefore unless teachers develop some basic skills and willingness to experiment with students, ICT use in education will remain a disadvantage to our society.

On the other hand, the limitation of ICT use in education is related to students’ behaviour as well. A student tends to misuse the technology for leisure time activities and thus have less time to learn and study. A. B. Yousef and M. Dahmani (2008) in their article “The Economics of E- Learning: The Impact of ICT on Student Performance in Higher Education: Direct Effects, Indirect Effects and Organizational Change” described online gaming, use of face book, chat rooms, and other communication channels as perceived drawbacks of ICT use in education, because, students easily switch to these sites at the expense of their study. Therefore, the impact of availability of ICT on student learning strongly depends on its specific uses.

Thus, if ICT is not properly used, the disadvantage will overweigh the advantage. And therefore it is very important to identify the major limitations of ICT use in education in order to rectify the causes and maximize its positive effects in providing quality education for a successful and constructive development of education system in our Naga society.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

You Are What You ‘Work’ - Anatoli Rochill, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Corruption, bribery, and extortion – are some of the problems that we want rooted out of our State. We blame the system, the government and ourselves for the impasse that we live in. Have we ever considered the possibility that these problems could be done away with if we changed our work ethic and took our work and responsibilities more seriously? Can we hold ourselves accountable for the quality of work we churn out, and be rewarded for exactly what we deserve or is it just free, easy money that we want? The ability to say ‘no’ to a bribe, to refuse to indulge in corruption or extortion is a culture we now need to adopt. Maybe it’s time to think about how much we value the kind of work we do or how we make a living, as the practices and decisions we make in our work place, reflect the kind of person of who you really are. 

You Are What You ‘Work’


With time, we seem to have forgotten or failed to practice many valuable qualities of humanity. Of all those lost, one such quality is the importance of having a strong ethic in work culture. But today, many treat it as a curse. We do not want to lift a finger but expect everything to be served to us. We often miss the fact that there is purpose in work. Only those who do, will experience the sense of fulfilment. For in ideally squandering one’s life away one will gain nothing but a feeling of discontentment and frustration.

We are here today because of our forefather’s labours. They have toiled under the sun with the vision of a brighter future for us. We have much to learn from their lives; their work ethics, social norms, their life style and most importantly their outlook on life. Today many of our fellow Nagas are seen wasting their lives by doing nothing. We have enough educated unemployed people. Some are highly qualified and some even carry with them impressive portfolios and diplomas. But why are they not working? Is it lack of opportunity? What are they waiting on? Most of them have a preconceived notion that true work is where one is employed in a government office. Work in my opinion is doing whatever one can to survive. We can create our own office. Our room can be our office if need be, so long as we are doing something worth a living.

These qualities of one being work oriented starts at home. It starts with the little things in life, be it doing the house chores, helping out in the garage, running the house errands, etc. Slowly but surely we adapt to work culture that is losing grip everyday from our lives. We need to be proactive and understand that we each need to contribute something in order for things to work. But unfortunately, instead we see a lot of blame game happening. We are always too hesitant to acknowledge our mistakes but ever ready to point a finger at another for all the failures that we face.

We envy the life of the west. We are easily influenced by the lavish and colourful culture of the western world. We want to dress like them, act like them; eat what they eat, live like them. We assume that they have and get everything that they need. No doubt they are more advanced and civil in many ways. But they were not always like they are now. They had to work on it; they decided to work on their God given talents religiously to the fullest, and ultimately bore the fruits of the hard labour. Even today, instead of sitting back and enjoying their luxury and comfort; they work tirelessly everyday to improve on their already advanced state. Hence, they are constantly growing and developing.

What about our Naga society then? We are certainly trying to cope up with the western culture but until and unless we change our work culture we will never succeed. For instance, whenever we go to any government office we notice that the people working there seem to be laid back and relaxed. Work proceeds in a very slow manner. To get even a signature on a document takes a very long time, and sometimes even involves the practice of offering “tea and snacks” to get the job done. If this is the wok culture in our society then how can we expect our society to grow and develop? This is just one example, but there are many others in many fields where we will find our people following and living the indolent way of life. We want all the good things in life but we are not ready to labour for it.

Even the Bible says in II Thessalonians 3:10 that “If anyone will not work, neither let them eat.” Further in II Thessalonians 3:12 reads “ to earn their own living” and in Ecclesiastes 10:8 “... when you are too lazy to repair your roof, it will leak and the house will fall in.”  We as Christians also have an unyielding responsibility to be hard working and give our best in life in all that we do. It is certain that our hard work will never go in vain. If we are determined and focused, our labour will surely bear good fruits. We must always remember that God helps those who help themselves. Thus, we must take comfort in the fact that if we are true to ourselves and work hard, we can achieve anything in life. For, there is no room at the top for lazy and idle people.

Through this short article, I would like all of us to realize our strengths and begin to work on it. We must do all that we can to excel in the areas that we are good at and not let our weaknesses hold us back. We should try to have a positive mindset. Continue to work hard, don’t be indolent but rather spend each day thinking of newer ways to improve and use our talents. I assure you, if you stay the course, you will succeed.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

From Ceasefire to the Peace Accord - Nivibo Y. Sumi, Assistant Professor Sociology

With 14th August celebrated as Naga Independence day, all Naga eyes and ears will probably be on NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah for further information on the details of the recently signed peace accord. Some have welcomed it, while some see it as a conspiracy. There are a lot of questions and also a lot of hope on the Peace Accord signed between the India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah). We take a closer look at what has transpired till date.

From Ceasefire to the Peace Accord
-         Nivibo Y. Sumi, Assistant Professor Tetso College Dimapur,  Nagaland

The peace accord signed between the Indian government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) on August 3, stunned most of the Nagas as it came earlier than anticipated. Government’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks R N Ravi and NSCN (I-M) said the ill health of outfit’s president Isak Chishi Swu hastened the process. Isak is receiving treatment in a hospital in Delhi for kidney failure and apparently signed the agreement while on a wheelchair. 

It was also reported that NSCN (IM) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, who signed the framework agreement with the Centre, made a special gesture to his long-standing friend Isak whose ambition is to bring honourable peace to the Nagas.

However, the ambiguous nature of this agreement as a “preamble” between the government and NSCN(I-M) to press for a final solution has made many Nagas apprehensive.

They are of the view that by signing this agreement, the NSCN (I-M) has placed the trust and confidence of the Nagas in the hands of the Central government while the Naga people, civil societies and the Legislative Assembly is left wandering in the dark on its contents. The people are hoping that the NSCN (I-M) will not betray the Naga people on their promise of a “honourable” and “acceptable” solution.

The government indicated its intent to be more accommodative towards the demands of the NSCN (I-M). This is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during the signing of the accord. Modi said only when the two sides “seek to understand the concerns and try to address aspirations,” a lasting solution in Nagaland can be achieved.

Regrettably, even Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang and the lone Lok Sabha MP from the state Neiphiu Rio did not know the contents of the “framework agreement”. Luckily for Modi, the duo heartily welcomed the peace accord. This brings us to the question of inclusiveness and the will of the Nagas and whether the “final solution” will be applicable for all Nagas across the board. However, this hurriedly signed accord has slightly fragmented the “Nagas of Nagaland” and the “Nagas of Manipur”.

Through the accord Modi may have sent a strong signal to China, but this could also have fallouts with the other Northeastern states. Far from the positivity that is reported and speculated in the Indian media, the prospect of integrating Naga-inhabited areas  – the idea of merging parts of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam – with the present state of Nagaland is enough to create tensions resulting in law and order problem.

Since the NSCN (I-M) has a strong influence in many Northeastern states, the signing of the peace accord could substantially lower the menace of insurgency in the region.

To make use of this peace accord to their advantage, the Centre might attempt to isolate another NSCN faction, NSCN (Khaplang). This will further divide an already divided Naga house – the Eastern Naga, Nagas of Manipur and Nagas of Nagaland. 

In the light of this problem, the objective of “honourable” and “acceptable” Naga solution is not achievable. Not long after the government and NSCN (I-M) signed the accord, different Naga political groups expressed their views and their stance.

Integration and sovereignty

The question of integration and sovereignty still looms large in the minds of the Nagas and they are still uneasy about the contents of the agreement being kept in the dark. Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, MP from Arunachal Pradesh, said “Nothing that will hurt the interest of neighbouring states is included in the accord. The Centre will not bypass the sentiments of neighbouring states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh”.

However, it is now somehow acknowledged that the NSCN (I-M) has accepted that while the integration of contiguous Naga areas would remain on the negotiating table, the time for actual integration may not be opportune at present.

The drawback of this peace accord is the lack of transparency with regard to the framework of the deal. This indeed is going to be critically analysed and debated by the real stakeholders, the general Naga populace and of course, by the other political factions, and it may not go all too well with all of them since this accord will certainly not include Nagas of Arunachal and Nagas under Burmese occupation. The question is: “What will be the alternative so that our Naga family will remain united?,” because many Nagas are of the view that “nothing short of integration and sovereignty is a betrayal to the Nagas”.

Modi admitted that the reason why vexed Naga political issue has existed for too long is because of a lack of understanding. Though a solution still appears far away, a good understanding of Naga history will ultimately narrow down to the question of accommodation and inclusion of the issues. The accord has certainly raised eyebrows and it has taught the Nagas that a meaningful outcome can be achieved only through a dialogue based on what is achievable and acceptable to every Naga. 

“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 August 2015

A Better Nagaland - Kinitoli Aye, Assistant Professor, Department of History

With the recent signing of the peace accord, there has been a torrent of emotions. Many are apprehensive, some are jubilant while many are wisely holding their peace and keeping silent. The world today is a different one with changing values and shifting priorities geared towards securing a more developed lifestyle. However, this can only be secured in a state and an environment that allows the common man to lift himself up through hard work and benefit from the fruit of his earnings. We need Nagaland to be that platform for our people to launch ourselves forward into the modern world. It’s time for governance and it is high time for…

A Better Nagaland

Do we call our state a developing or an underdeveloped State? Both do not fit the category; as there is very little to no development to call our state a developing state and yet we have more than abundant resources to refer to ourselves as an underdeveloped State. Constructing buildings for commerce and trade, setting up business franchises etc. are not the mark of development. I could not help but relate the exact unavoidable notch which I find imperative for development of roads in our state. Would u drive a BMW or a Mercedes Benz on a road infested with pot holes every few meters. Or take a stroll through the puddles and muddy sidewalks? The condition of the roads here are pathetic, feeble and distressing. I would rather ride a bicycle over a smooth road than drive a car on such roads. Change has been the most contentious and urgent issue discussed for the past decades in relation with political situation in our State; and yet there is no sign, not even a hint towards a positive shift in our society. To contemplate on this subject is like crying over spilled milk. Our State is in a fix. It is a make it or break it situation. Discussing about the political and economic foundation seems futile as there has been very less progress that can be accounted for. Metaphorically, our State is an egg that has formed into a chick before its time. How long has it been since civilization caught up with Nagaland? Cell phones were practically introduced just a decade back. But we have managed to adapt in coping up with the lifestyle and luxury of others.

The standard of living among the common people in Nagaland is not by choice but by constraint. Not everyone can afford to enjoy the luxury of owning a car or a smart phone; which is supposedly the trend of this generation. A rich man by choice lives a normal life, even when he is capable of living in luxury.  A normal man works day and night at the office only to fetch enough to survive the month for his family. The anomaly here is quite din. A rich man has the luxury of living the lifestyle of his choices and the other has no choice but work to make ends meet. Our society is beginning to function in that exact manner.

Money was and is always going to be a major concern in our lives. It is true that it is difficult to balance the array of money, but the people should consider their priorities and change their perspective from wants to needs; only then will there be prospect for meaningful living. Money is an asset which cannot be denied and its importance ignored. It is an essential tool which runs our society, thereby making it a necessary evil. No single individual can be blamed for this swift and pathetic development in our State. If we closely look around, we will understand how naïve society has become. We have fallen so low to a point where our morals and virtues are now substituted by a bill. We have fallen prey to the foul and badgering delight of money. It is hysterical when we hear that the government has limited funds which cannot be made use of randomly unless for a definite cause. “The government has no money” they claim. But once we step out of our homes, all we see are construction of private buildings and complexes. Where are these resources to construct such buildings coming from? I dare not comment in this matter. If and when such questions begin to unsettle like it has in mine, I am certain you will understand the whole dynamic of the system.
This actually is an abomination to democracy; we are secretly and yet openly being cheated upon. This is where we should be smart and diligent and make our stand. Vote for the right and potent candidate, as democracy itself says that it is a government of the people. We should not be credulous or be swayed away by the contention of money or personal gain. It is just a momentary joy that you find in money during such period.

In a society where moral values and ethical culture are solely meditated upon, it has now reached an era of confusion – a confusion conventionally stagnant that many would find it to be a waste of time to ponder upon. Tribalism, nepotism, favoritism and corruption have prominently become the voice of our society, and the fact that our society quietly accepts such practices. Such practices have taken a strong foot hold in our society, creating animosity among our own people, making room for hatred. Our society is in desperate need to abate or even to a possible extent nullify such practices and filter our society with the good old moral values that creates a feeling of oneness amongst us.
Our State is surviving like a narrow bridge, which makes it important for us to expand the bridge and make way for a better and prosperous future. There is a merit to all the disadvantages and probes because there can be progress only with better understanding of the mistakes made. I remain optimistic about the future of a better Nagaland.

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...