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A change of track

16 Jul. 2018 12:49 AM IST

For a number of years, there has been concerns over the poor standard of higher education in Nagaland and some quick fixes were made as knee jerk reaction. Contemporary society cannot progress without useful knowledge and which invariably means being adequately aware that education can help study various aspects of life. The education system in the state is also in need of some serious change, not merely on the strength of a clamour for change but to ensure an efficient system. There are several issues and factors that need comprehension to improve the standard of higher education. One of the most heard of remedy has been on emphasising on quality of teachers and so they are encouraged to do more than obtain B.Ed or M.Ed. The other which is also seen as a complement to the notion that mere academic degrees do not serve any purpose for gainful employment; has been the stress on skill development as part of curriculum. While skill development may be an added subject for those who wish to undertake small enterprises or employment, it hardly addresses the issue of improving the standard of education unless the subject(s) are of highly specialised for professionals. The kind of skill development being talked about are basic ones which are available in technical schools around the country. These two- academic and skill- belong to two different worlds unless, as stated, skill is specialised to undertake professional jobs or enterprises. Be that as it may, the issue that the Naga Students Federation(NSF) had raised and based on their recent study tour to colleges in various districts, are worth considering since these have remained unaddressed. The recommendations of NSF are address administrative remedies but are crucial for improving the delivery system. One is to make it mandatory for all colleges to seek grading under National Assessment and Accreditation Council(NAAC).This is an important matter which will separate the grain from the chaff especially amidst the backdrop of mushrooming of colleges. The other, to provide government grant-in-aid to private colleges, is certainly essential for encouraging private enterprises by professionals in academia. The grant-in-aid should be based on strict criteria of performance and past records. The NSF has also pointed out that several assistant professors appointed on contract basis in various government colleges are being paid meagrely in contrast to their workload. Surely, there should be some rationale behind the quantum of salary since all lecturers do the same quantum of work. Another recommendation was that the government route appointments of 110 posts of assistant professors through the NPSC under laid down norms. The NSF also recommended that study materials in libraries be provided to government colleges since most colleges either have no library or very little study materials. Another recommendation to introduce biometric systems in all government colleges to improve attendance and efficiency and based on the data, the principle of ‘no work, no pay’ be enforced. Having made these points, the need for raising the standard of higher education means that teachers are expected to produce students who excel. However, academic education has lost relevance and so promoting technical institutes for impartation of practical skills based on dignity of labour could bring about the change instead of debating about academic excellence.

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