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DUMB and getting dumber?
- Kevichüsie Nakhro
28th July, 2003

If there's one thing the ‘90s have given us, it’s a plethora of buzz phrases. Consider common 20th century saying like "networking," "going postal," "information superhighway" and "don’t go there!"

Another such phrase has to be "comfort zone," primarily used with the preface "getting out of one's." Though a typically encouraged concept, the results of exiting said zones could be embarrassing, or at least less than hoped. Need anyone be reminded of Dwayne Johnson, ‘The Rock’ foray into movies or Michael Jordan's attempt at baseball.

But will the school education department admit that shaking up their status quo over the past month or so has been a very good thing? The demolishing of the oldest school in Dimapur was only the beginning of being taken out of the comfort zone, as the department soon found themselves in very unfamiliar circumstances. It is a cruel irony that the school education department supports the business encroachment and at the same time issued an NOC (No Objection Certificate) dated June 10th, 2003 to demolish the Government Primary School at Purana Bazar, a school standing for the last 92 years.

But with the advent of the students' in the form of the DNSU (Dimapur Naga Students' Union), the school education department found themselves staring down the barrel of a fairly unfamiliar weapon: Students' right-to-live?

Another tough aspect for the school education department was the students' refusal to turn the demolished school into a marketing complex. Making it stands clear; the DNSU had called a bandh on July 31st, 2003 and further warned to resort to other courses of action if the reconstruction of the school at the same site does not begin. Interestingly, the reason given for the school being demolished is "... the school is being dismantled ... for the benefit of the inhabitant of Purana Bazar area for the dimensional growth of the society." (July 24th, 2003 Nagaland Post) Does a school hamper the growth of a society? Are we really this disinterested in thinking critically about education, or have our thinking been driven away from the reality of it by self-interest or by hot-button political programming?

There is much at stake here than just 'demolishing a school structure'. Among other things, what happens now to the 189 students' post-August 2nd ? It is sad to lose a school like this in Dimapur. Even sadder to think that a disinterested group of people could remove such a historical school, this was a school where students' are educated they find out what is important to the society. What do they hear us talking about? Do they hear us honestly discussing the question of their future? Or do they hear us merely rehashing our ignorance? If there is no adequate support for a higher level of critical thinking among the educated community, what's to keep the others from getting dumb and dumber?

In the early ‘50s, the renowned British Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote after a visit to the Soviet Union, “ I have seen the future – and it works.” Even in his lifetime that prophetic vision was turning into a barbaric nightmare. As we witness breathtaking changes particularly ingenuity, the computer, technology, discovery, which had change existence in a way Galileo could never imagined.

Granted, with all the changes in process; will the new buzzword in for the next generation be, “I was born intelligent education ruined me.”



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