Degree of Thought

On the occasion of Teachers Day on September 5, 2012, the Morung Express and Tetso College jointly launched the ‘Degree of Thought’, a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Tetso College is an upcoming secular college and is sponsored by the Council of Rengma Baptist Churches. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us.  When the theme Degree of Thought comes to mind, it reinforces our own conviction that all of us need to start putting on our thinking caps. Nagas tend to sometimes do things irrationally and in haste and as a result we find ourselves in one problem after the other. We need to educate ourselves about applying our mind and to think carefully before we act or do something. And so we truly believe that this column Degree of Thought comes at a right time when we have a lot of things to talk, dialogue and think about. Our hope is that through this collaboration we can give insights into some of the issues and challenges before us and help shape opinion and influence the people in society or government to take the right kind of decisions. In the last few weeks since its launch, those at Tetso College, they have brought out some very pertinent issues before all of us, such as career guidance, problem of child labour and education, scholarship and how to make judicious use of it, issues related to adolescence and family living etc. And in the weeks ahead, there would be many more thought expressed on the challenges of our times. This column is therefore a must read for everyone—from students to parents to teachers, public officials, church, tribal hohos, civil society etc. This is perhaps the first of its kind initiative in Nagaland where the media and an educational institute have come together for something meaningful i.e. to inform, discuss, educate, engage and communicate.

The area of inquiry and research is something that both the media and educationist must give more importance to besides the conventional roles that is expected of them both. There has to be a higher level of engagement between the two sectors so that it can enrich public discourse and also contribute towards problem solving. In other places around the world, this is already happening where those from academics, they are engaged by the media to get perspectives, analyze issues, give critical output and generally provide the much needed expertise on things confronting our society, economics or politics. As all of us who are quite familiar with watching television news, it is not unusual for the journalist or anchor to talk to Professors or Head of Departments of educational institutes, asking for their comments on anything from civil wars, peace processes, climate change, poverty, terrorism, elections etc. Unfortunately such kind of engagement is not taking place here, which actually is having an adverse impact as seen by the poor level of public discourse.  Greater engagement between academia and the media is therefore the need of the hour. Those who teach must not stay indoors i.e. educating the students only but also reach out to a larger audience (through the media) and apply their knowledge to things around them. This will enhance public discourse and allow for a greater sense of inquiry and critical examination of our problems. The knowledge that you have needs to be applied to tackle the burning issues of our times. The media and an educational institution can contribute towards problem solving by way of educating the mind. The column Degree of Thought will hopefully help towards this end.