“True education must correspond to the surrounding circumstances or it is not a healthy growth.”
Naga society was richly ingrained by social values like honesty, obedience, discipline, perseverance and dignity of labour, traditionally. However, these values have seldom been put into practice and exhibited today. Naga society, today is engrossed with countless problems such as alcoholism, nepotism, bribery, corruption, hatred and most of all unemployment because of the loss of dignity of labour. Today, in the context of Nagaland, the definition of employment would mean government job. This limited scope of employment has put everyone vulnerable, and resulted in frustration. In the midst of this situation Gandhian philosophy of education which talks about all round development, character building, self-sufficiency, cultural development and social uplift and culture is relevant in understanding this issue. The principles of Gandhi’s educational philosophy are a universal phenomenon, and it has great relevance and significance in the present day Naga context.
“Literacy in itself is no education. Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning. By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit.” According to Gandhi one of the soul aims of education is all round development – physical, mental, intellectual, aesthetic, moral and spiritual. If for instance a highly educated person sits at home complaining about unemployment, not wanting to work manual and low salary job, it would mean only one sided education and not harmonious development. Gandhi emphasized on ‘true education’ which according to him draws out and stimulates all round development of body, mind and soul. Education is a life-long process and therefore should not be confined within four walls of a classroom.
The prevailing educational system in Nagaland breeds educated unemployment and made youths fully dependent on government job, making them helpless and frustrated. Gandhi’s ideology of self-sufficiency talks about choosing independent career options and contributions to society instead of being dependent and merely consumers. He advocated self-supporting education that will help him to be self-supporting in later life and not be a drag on the society. Introduction of skilled and vocational based education would not only enlighten the youths for a whole new venture but would also bring changes and prosperity in society. Education should prepare the youth for future life.
Sufficient to mention that Nagaland has a weak industrial sector, the youth today flock together in the public sector for their employment, but the irony is recruitment in the public sector has a bottleneck which can absorb only a handful. Nagaland has witnessed a mushrooming of educational institutions since its attainment of statehood. These educational institutions on the other hand produces hundreds and thousands of graduates and post graduates every year, only to tag as educated unemployed youth of the state. The rapid expansion of education coupled with stagnant economic development has created a situation whereby numerous educated youth in the state are left jobless. The question is- Is the quality of education in the state not up to the mark that educated youth remain unemployed? Is the state government competent enough to bridge this gap and ensure that young people are equipped with the skills employers are looking for?
According to Gandhi, it is the function of education to impart cultural development and social upliftment and welfare for all. He attached greater importance to the cultural aspect than to the literacy. Culture should bring out the best in an individual, it must be reflected in one’s speech, conduct and personal behaviour. Likewise, Nagas must not remain foreigners in their own land but must transmit rich cultural tradition and values like honesty, obedience, discipline, perseverance and dignity of labour which has been practiced by our forefathers. It is important for the future generation of Nagas to be sincere, truthful, and fearless in thought and action. Gandhi wanted education – reconstructed along the lines he thought correct – to help India move away from the Western concept of progress, towards a different form of development more suited to its needs and more viable, for the world as a whole than the Western model of development. Nagas have adopted the western world view and hence their style of life. The attention on the spirit of capitalism, imperialism and industrialization have only uprooted its own time tested values of simplicity and honesty vis-a vis hard working culture. Indeed the inheritance and engrossment of western worldview is partially because of its long history of association with the western imperialism on the one hand and the American Baptist mission on the other. Nagas have learnt the lavish lifestyle of the westerners while abandoning their own culture of hardwork and simplicity on one hand, and on the other failed to appreciate and adopt the western work culture. The resultant consequence was that people started to depend on the government for their living. Therefore, it is high time for Nagas to refocus on a new model of progress and development suitable to our needs and environment. Focus should be on building an ideal society free from exploitation and class distinction. The ideals of hard work, dignity of labour, community activities should be encouraged for better co-operation and goodwill of society.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thoughtwill 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. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.