EDUCATION EMPOWERS TO CHANGE CHIN COMMUNITY BUT WITH A DIMINISHED MOMENTUM

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela 

The quotation above implies that changes have to be made in the world for which the tool is to be the education. The importance of education in society is indispensable. Of course a good education helps empowerment. The first thing the education does is, it helps to understand ourselves to realize our potential to tap the latent talent and thus the skills we possess will be sharpened. Mr. Barrack Obama, the Former President of the USA in his national address to the students said, “Every single one of you had something that you are good at. Every single one of you had something of offer. And you have responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That is the opportunity an education can provide.” 

Greek Philosopher Socrates once said, “Education is kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” So education kindles the flame knowledge, confidence, courage, authority to question the authority, awareness of rights and enforcement of rights and so on and so forth. Education instructs a person how to speak to people in various situations. The book of Isaiah 50:4 says, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary…He awakens my ear to ear as the learned.” Apostle Paul was vey much learned and gained knowledge from learned Gamaliel and he witnessed before the Roman officers and the king by the Grace of God and authored the Epistles. 

Education makes an individual civilized by teaching right behaviors and good manners. It fosters principles of equality and socialism. Good Education makes one more humane. It fetches better prospects of career growth. People are weighed in the world market on the basis of their educational skills and on how best they can apply them. 

Education helps not only the individual to have the dignity of life, builds his/her character and leads to enlightenment but it also builds the nation and is the cause of prosperity and leads to bright future of the country. For the progress of the nation and for the enrichment of society in general, education is important. Nations can survive only with quality education.

The former President of USA JF Kennedy said, “ Our progress as a Nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” It is very clear that the progress in education will airline the progress of the Nation. But the fundamental resource should be the human mind. As per William D, the purpose of education is to make minds, not career. Education gives the thinking power, analyzing and judging capacity to an individual which forms a basic resource for the progress of a Nation. Education is very important for the social development and economic growth of Nation. 

Formal education starts in School. Schools lay the foundation for a child’s developments. At school your talent is recognized and nurtured. In a Christian Organization a scheme called “Catch them young” proved much fruitful. Schools play a vital role in shaping the character of a child. The government provides that, ‘The States shall provide free and compulsory education to all Children. But in reality, we do not experience it. Education is a basic human right which gives a person dignity. The Government must make necessary arrangement for providing fee pre-school education for every children.

Education For Change:

To live means to change. Everybody experiences minor changes continually, and each day holds the possibility of radical change. Change is the new taking the place of the old. Change involves variety: new and different conditions altering and substituting for what formerly prevailed. Change is the essence of life. Change does not always come smoothly or easily. 

People of previous generations often had a lifetime to adjust to a major change. When plenty of time was available, even vast changes like the dissolution of the Roman Empire, the growth of towns and cities, the decline of feudalism, the development of gunpowder, and the invention of the printing press could be taken in stride. To be sure, each of these changes shocked the standing system, but the people had many years to live with the new situation before another change came along. It has been said that whereas once it took several generations to encompass one social or cultural change, now it takes several cultural or social changes to make up one generation. 

Effective living requires continual learning, and learning demands readiness for change. Curriculum that provides flexibility for today’s and tomorrow’s changing times is needed; yet it must be rooted in an unchanging foundation and directed towards cosmic goals. Only such a curriculum can deal with the persistent life issues of modern human beings as they stand at the crossing points. 

Free education is expensive to those below poverty line: 

While the education sector was largely dismantled by the military, leading to student uprisings in 1988, there is a growing sense of enthusiasm for the sector, fuelled by the overwhelming victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the November 2015 election. The NLD’s chairperson, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has often highlighted the importance of revitalising the local education landscape. 

Discrimination against ethnic minorities also remains a problem for the education system. Community-based schools have a history of being closed by the government, which only serves to aggravate conflict between rebels and the Myanmar army. In the absence of these schools, minorities are forced to choose state-run schools that do not teach in their native tongue.

Despite making the Right to Education a fundamental right the literacy rate has not raised to the expected level. Ethnic children are still in a relegated position in villages though may welfare laws, Schemes and measures are provided by the Government. Poverty is another reason for not sending the children to school. Children going to the school may need to have many facilities like good clothing, good food, transport, etc., which the parents will not be in a position to provide. Even though mid-day meal time is scheduled, the parents will not be in a position to give them. Poverty drives the parents to send their children to work for meagre wages. Though Prohibition of child Labour Act is in force right, the child labour cannot be abolished.

The quality of education is at stake:

In August 2015, the department announced that it was relaxing high school teacher requirements as a solution to the massive staff shortage of teachers at high school level. Under the new requirement, middle school teachers with a minimum of 10 years experience can be promoted to a temporary high school post, whilst graduates from any field can teach at high schools under a three-year contract, and graduates with a bachelors degree in education will be offered permanent teaching positions.

At the tertiary level, education has become costly for every course. We dream and desire to realize the dreams. Education is like a spacecraft in pursuit of the dreams. Universities of course change the pattern and system of education as the changes in the academic atmosphere are warranted to the advancements in the current life style. Teachers are not updating themselves on the subject which makes the students who get up-to-date information from the Internet to skip the classes causing indiscipline. Since the students do not want to attend classes, they are distracted towards various things like movie-going and roaming around which sometimes dampen their character and safety…

Quality Education is the need of the hour for the better prospects of an individual and the stability and progress of the Nation. Schools have grown like mushrooms which have been established by people with no standard and with the motive of making money. Though the Right to Education Act lays down the norms and standards relating to pupil-teacher ration, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours, such norms are not strictly adhered to. Classes are conducted in thatched sheds and dungeon rooms with no basic facilities and good infra structure and play area. Teachers of poor quality are employed for frugal payment who are not able to give quality education. Since they are very poorly paid they lack commitment to the work and develop a lethargic attitude. The education system is not suitable to the present day. Sincere efforts have to be taken by the Government to change the system of education to suit the conditions of life today. Sexual abuse of children has become the event every day which shows that the moral character of employees in school and people in public is lost. Parents have a fear to send the female children to school. Literacy rate will definitely cause an anxiety. 

Corruption in the administration has corroded the quality of education. The Children of the present generation seem to be born intelligent. They are not interested classroom teaching as they are of the view that all information and study materials are available in the Internet. Their attention is diverted towards various things. Internet facility, Mobile phones, Television etc are the main devices which distract them and sometimes tarnish their moral character. They adopt “easy going” life. Unpleasant relationship between boys and girls play a havoc in their discipline and education becomes secondary to them. 

Nowadays people are able to get fake certificates making the education a mockery. Some University runs unapproved Courses in distance mode where hands-on experience is vital to the course and quality education is a mirage to those enroll in such University. Even the ruling leaders clothe themselves with fake certificates obtained from bogus Universities. 

Education is commercialized to a greater extent and has caused malignancy affecting the field of education with no probable chance of getting its health back.

Government frame many rules and enact statutes to pull up the quality of education from the pit of collapsing any further. But money-making has become the trend and education has become a salable commodity to be sold in the market and affluence of people seems to be the consideration for purchasing such a commodity. It is like purchasing an unbridled horse by a person who does not know to ride a horse, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’ said Benjamin Franklyn. 

Education is an asset to a person which cannot be derived of him/her. Education is the knowledge base to go nighter up on the competitive ladder. Education can be skill based and need not be purely academic. There is no limit for learning. It is a life-long process. Education provides knowledge which is power. The information obtained from sources like internet cannot be converted into knowledge unless education acts as a catalyst. Education opens doors to brilliant career opportunities. Educations always rewarding it empowers people to act judiciously, courageously and confidently. Sometimes it limps when it is hurt by corruption, commercialization and sub standard quality. The beauty of education is lost when it is stained with lack of commitment and with adversary powers. 

Education is a platform that generates new needs and experiences to meet those needs. It is catalytic resource that continues to energize and shape our life. It also enhances our ability to develop new skill and capacity. Education gives knowledge and knowledge is power. Thus an educated person is empowered in all spheres of life. Successful education is a platform of life-long learning from which new possibilities are created. 

But ‘education’ should be qualified with the adjective ‘good’ or its a noun ‘quality.’ If education becomes a business to make profit, it losses the prefix ‘food’ or ‘quality.’ Can such a stained and limping education empower to change the world is a one million dollar question. Educational institutions much be managed and run by educationists who have a passion to serve the people, to impart knowledge and to empower them to gain courage and confidence to change the world and to turn the mirrors into windows. That is instead of benefitting themselves they should be far-sighted to look the welfare of others through the window. 

The Bible says, ‘the love of money is a foot of all kinds of evil’ (I Tim. 6:10). The blessings of the Lord brings wealth (Prov. 10:22). ‘Give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord” of I may become poor and steal and so dishonor the name of my God (Prov. 30:8b-9). Jesus Christ taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). Making money is a need. But a proverb says, ‘Too much of anything is good for nothing.’ If education is taken as a profit making area, the produce will make them affluent. But the products they produce will be of a lesser quality creating them as ‘no use’ citizens in the process of the progress of the nation. So education should be empowering an individual to esteem himself/herself and to be responsible towards the development and progress of the nation. It should never be tinted with the intention of making money or be overcast with the political interference or favoritism or fanaticism. 

Our contribution to the field of education must be to make Chin people realize that education should be of quality which should be imparted with a service mind. Education gives knowledge and knowledge is power and the power should be absolute and unbridled. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge/wisdom” (Proverb 1: 7).  

Note: This article is written by Beechy Ram Tin Thang in 2018 while Chin States stood the lowest percentage position in Matriculation examination.  

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