Post Mortem

Higher Education in Nagaland, post Covid-19 pandemic

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/27/2020 1:54:00 PM IST

 The new model of life presented to us by COVID-19 has surely created a paradigm shift for people everywhere in the years to unfold. This unwelcomed guest in our midst, is here to stay for some more time, much against our will. There is absolutely no certainty as to when this situation would end, despite the tireless efforts of the medical fraternity, working globally round the clock.  Every aspect of life  has come to an abrupt halt, if not, at least given a new direction.

Shifting the gear on the academic life of students, it may be mentioned that students are made to opt for very tough choices.  As of now three choices stands out among the rest. a) opting for a study gap during this pandemic for various reasons, b) continuation of the academic life with whatever means they could, and c) Students who are indecisive about their career. The fate of the students who have passed class 10 and 12 are hanging on many unpredictable circumstances.  All those willing to advance in their academic careers are fully into their classes, be it online or offline in some cases.  Thankfully, it may be mentioned that the state despite having various challenges have enough affordable educational institutions to accommodate students into secondary and degree courses. 

However, the major challenge lies in accomodating the graduated students into higher education sector within the state. We have some seven institutions (university and colleges) offering postgraduate programme in select courses, besides Nagaland University. The recent declaration of the Nagaland University results  this year 2020 gives us the figure of  7,943 passed candidates. In addition to this, the approximate graduates from autonomous colleges and university would at least amount to 1200 students (Patkai Christian College, Jotsoma Science College and St. Joseph’s University Dimapur). Thus, the total graduates would be now 9,143 students. Against the backdrop of this, it may be seen that the maximum number of students that can be enrolled for postgraduate programme in the existing institutions including Nagaland University would not in any way exceed 2,600 students at its best (to be precise -2,318 students). Going by the actual figures, only 28.44% can find placement within the state. So where does the remaining 71.56% of the students go? Even if we minus 40% of the students as not pursing further studies, definitely we still have to deal with the remaining 31.56 % of the students. 

This pandemic made us to realize that there is huge deficiency of doctors and nurses in the state which eventually prompted us to an urgent recruitment in this field.  Well, will there be a similar move even in the higher education sector, which can cater to the needs of only 28.44% of our passing students? It is very unlikely, as the issue is not a direct challenge to life. Moreover, many of our students will still look out for other universities. 

However, the prevailing pandemic crisis seems to pose a serious threat to a good number of students who envisage to carry out their masters degree elsewhere outside Nagaland. The seemingly unending pandemic situation has only shown an increase in its spread ever since the day of its outbreak. God forbid but, the worse seems to be still awaiting, as signs of the second wave are reported in some European countries. Our people working and studying outside only knows what it means for them to come back home during the post lock down periods. 

If situation like this compels our students to continue their academic career within the state, what can we offer them? It is just out of proportion to accommodate the huge number of graduates into our limited institutions. It is high time to get into the business of promoting higher education through hand holding mechanism or public-private sector collaborations, not intending to put the blame squarely on the state government alone. The challenges are numerous now as students need to take quick decisions, rush-up for their admissions, get cell phones, station in places where  network is more stable and so on.

The presence of standard higher educational institutions in the state would definitely be a necessity, to meet the needs of the students and thereby, boost the economy of the state in a big way. By doing so, the wealth drain can be stopped, professionalism can be enhanced, rural economy can resurrect, and there can be rise of  job opportunities in the state. There is a serious need to prioritize higher education sectors, so as to be self dependent. The state government, the national workers and the public needs to collectively collaborate in order to promote this sector in the state. Matters such as taxations, security, and local support need to be friendly and appealing for potential investors in this sector.

Therfore, shouldn't this Pandemic serve us as a wake up call to gird our state with the necessary resources to train man and woman of all walks and professionalism- perhaps the clock strikes now, let us catch the reigns for some changes in our state Nagaland.

Dr. K. Timothy Langwangbe, 

Asst. Professor Commerce, Patkai Christian College


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