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Schools run like military way: Kannan

Teaching faculty felicitating VC Nagaland University Prof. K. Kannan at the annual day of SD Jain Higher Secondary School, (SDJHSS) Dimapur on Friday. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, NOV 12 (NPN):
Published on 13 Nov. 2010 12:23 AM IST
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Nagaland University Vice Chancellor Prof. K. Kannan on Friday pointed out that schools in the state were run like military institutions and thus giving rise to undesirable and destructive tendencies among the students.
He said that a school was not like a military institution but lamented that schools in Nagaland were expected to run military way. “And this is exactly where we have gone wrong,” Kannan said addressing the annual day of SD Jain Higher Secondary School, (SDJJSS) Dimapur at the school premises.
The chief guest said that the school board members and parents have to accept the real fact that “what is expected is not what is wanted and what is wanted is never expected.”
Stating that difficulties were always bound to crop up in schools, Kannan said the teachers should not be blamed for the problems. According to the VC, it was the society which was responsible for the problems.
Basing on his experience and as an educationist, Kannan said he always approached the problems directly and never sent his assistant to solve the problem. Kannan said he instead faced the students and even the mob directly and interacted with them to solve the problem.
“If you do not face the problem directly you will not know what the problem is,” Kannan said urging the school authorities to interact directly with students and face the difficulties.
Taking the example of ‘The Great Partition’ of India, Kannan highlighted how Mahatma Gandhi faced the problems. He said when the partition happened in Delhi, government deployed many police personnel to control the riots but Gandhi sat down alone and controlled the mob because he was able to feel the pulse and the requirements of the people.
Talking about the system of education in Nagaland, especially the attempt made by the Nagaland Board of School Education by 50 English teachers to change the way English was taught, Kannan opined “I don’t think grammar matters” because education was about communicating with the students.
“When we talk of English, we talk of counseling English, we talk of interactive English, nobody talks of literature or grammar,” he said and added that even US president Barrack Obama delivered his speech in simple natural English.
Kannan said students were not interested in learning literature anymore but interested as to how to pass exams and survive in the world. “By knowing who Shakespeare is, a student is not going to earn two rupees more … or not going to earn his bread,” Kannan said. He called upon the parents present at the programme to give space to their children and let them express freely.
He told them that the mind of a child would become like a volcano if it was being suppressed and the parents would end up upset.
The VC termed the ‘comprehensive continuous evaluation’ exercise adopted by many schools as “disastrous.” Citing a class IX text book, where students were asked to fill up the blanks, Kannan said letting the child fill up the blanks in a text book was not exercise at all. He said the idea should be for the child to express what they were thinking. Kannan said ‘comprehensive continuous evaluation’ was actually an evaluation whereby students should be allowed to express what they were thinking.
According to Kannan teachers should evaluate students’ speaking skills, listening skills and writing and reading skills, rather than “putting red marks and making the child feel like he has committed a murder in the whole world.”
Stating that he was impressed to know about the establishment of the school 1947, Kannan feted the Jain Samaj especially office bearers of SDJHSS and principal Reji Abraham for taking the lead role in running the school.
Earlier, principal of the school Reji Abraham highlighting the academic session for the current year said, there was a lack of respect and devotion to the teachers by the students and that the school could no longer write off the issue of “aggressive and destructive” tendencies as a mere disciplinary problem faced by the school. He appealed the parents to leave the school free to take appropriate decisions.
Highlights of the programme included welcome song by Class 12 students, felicitation of merit students and outstanding teachers and distribution of Nandal Chhabra Memorial trophy to the winner of annual sports 2010.
The programme was followed by colorful cultural presentation.
Meanwhile, when asked whether demand made by Post Graduate Students’ Union Kohima (PGSU-NUCK) could be fulfilled as per the deadline set on November 25, Prof. K. Kannan said his term was coming to an end and that he was more interested in recruiting faculty.
However, on the demand of PGSU for advertisement of vacant teacher post, Kannan said new rules have come and would be re-advertised soon.
Asked whether there were any plans to restart the journalism course which functioned for three years in Kohima from 2005-2007, Kannan said the institute has been shifted to Lumami this year and that the masters in journalism programme was been set up during his tenure. He said the first batch would start anytime. The building is ready and candidates have applied for the course, Kannan said.

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