TNT | OPINION | May 19, 2019:
It is not my intention to sound rude, but it can be pretty safe to say that the Education System in Meghalaya is one of the lousiest in the country. Some would disagree and leave me statistics of the number of Shillong youths working in the different sprouting spheres of National and Multi-National Companies (MNCs).
Yes, people from Shillong do find jobs easier in these growing spheres – one is of course attributed to their fluency in the English Language. But what we fail to see is that the reason why ‘we’ have this advantage is not attributed to the educational system, but it’s etymological roots lie deep in the adoption of the closely replicated Khasi alphabets “A, B, K, D, E, G, NG, H, I, (I:), J, L, M, N, (N~), O, P, R, S, T, U, W, Y” from that of the English Alphabets “A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z” by Rev. Thomas Jones. As a result of this, we are directly or indirectly led to be in tune not to mention the various other factors like the syllabic connection, how we are naturally drawn towards the western culture since time immemorial.
The MBOSE syllabus for the secondary section was finally revamped after a near decade long wait. The updated syllabus is controversially inadequate. Some inputs are commendable while others are lazily compiled together just so they can put proof on paper, “Yes, we have updated the syllabus”. It does leave a void to debate whether it was ‘upgraded’ or ‘degraded’. The initial plan was to revise it after every five years. What were the officers-in-charge doing for the last five? It’s amazing that they took almost half a decade more to compile a mind-boggling flawed syllabus.
The update on the Higher Secondary syllabus, on the other hand, is quite biased. While the Science and Commerce Stream have seen a revamp, the Arts Stream is left with the same age-old syllabus to go forward with, except for Economics. Why this biasedness? What is even more mind-bending is the decade old ignorance of the College authorities. The fact that most colleges only permit students taking Alternative English to opt for English as a (M) subject is preposterous.
The relationship between the XI and XII (MBOSE) syllabus of both English and Alternative English with that of B.A. English (M) is the same as that of Jack and Rose in Romeo and Juliet.They both carry the same romantic element, but they are not the same. If one is truly interested in the interest of the students, one should have definitely had a look at the Elective Khasi syllabus of XI and XII (MBOSE). It can serve as the backbone of The History of the English Literature and all the other English (M) papers. Our teachers have been living in the Utopian world of “Ignorance is bliss” for far too long, the plight for which thousands of students had to suffer and is still suffering today. The Elective Khasi syllabus should have been incorporated into the Alternative English to build a bridge between the two levels of education. With the current scenario and the question pattern, students are forced to leap without being taught how to jump.
The ICSC and ISC Boards serve a much greater purpose if compared. Hence, the students coming from these boards blend in so very well into the degree curriculum particularly those taking English as their major subject. These students tend to perform better. I am amazed how the framers, and experienced teachers can miss that.
If we are to also have a look at the North East Hill University (NEHU) syllabus for the above said ‘Department’, the syllabus is not just obsolete, but antique. It would serve a great treasure if kept in museums. NEHU, on a general basis, is famous for it’s low grading system. They purposely grade the students lower than what they deserve in order to show the intellectual dominance of the professors. They are professors. What else do they have to proof?
The way re-evaluation is entertained is also quite suspicious. I can still remember how some students got extra 20-30 marks as a result of re-evaluation which was Rs 400 per paper. The well-to-do students, who were willing to pay went from 35-55% while the not-so-well-to-do students had to bear the brunt of the sanctimonious Mr. Darcy(s). Re-evaluation has always seen marks rising and never marks dropping. INSTITUTIONAL EXTORTIONISM at its best!
At the end of the three years, there are a myriad students who were deemed not eligible for Masters because they fail to attain the average percentage just because to them Rs 400 was a big amount. On the other hand, many eligible students who aspire to enhance their educational journey outside the state sometimes fall short because of the cut-off percentage being too high.
While NEHU brags about the quality, 62nd is it’s ranking in the overall category in the National nstitutional Rankings Framework (NIRF) rankings for Indian educational institutes and there are only 29 states and 7 Union Territories. 62nd is certainly something to not be so arrogant about. Cumulatively taking into account the entire Education System, the students are mal-nourished, still fed with 19th and 20th Century curriculum, syllabus, and facts while living in the 21st to deal with 21st century problems, looking for 21st Century solutions, and they would still accuse the present generation for not being “good enough”.
Maybe, it is not the syllabus that needs a revamp but the great intellectuals that are keeping the Educational System hostage. The growing number of Guest-lecturers is overwhelmingly high,and that is scary. Too many deserving candidates with impeccable qualifications has to sit at home because the posts are reserved for the “Guest-lecturers”. The question now is, if there are posts available and the candidates with proper qualifications ready, who are these “Guest Lecturers”? And why are the retired still not retired?