Unfair accusations

Editor,

Apropos letter to editor “NEHU fails its students” (ST June 14, 2021). I would like to clarify that there is no Deputy Registrar in-Charge from Computer Centre deputed to Examination Section at present. It is very unfortunate that the concerned parent chose to pull a personal allegation without knowing the current scenario of the examination department of NEHU. I was deputed as Deputy Registrar in-Charge from the Computer Centre for a brief period of 5 months last year ending in October 2020. All the results of exams conducted during that period have been declared. I request the concerned parent to clarify the facts before going to the media. It would be better if the concerned parent reaches out to the University for any clarification instead of falsely accusing someone and attempting to defame them.

Yours etc.,

Partha Pratim Dey

Computer Centre NEHU

Helpline for the mentally distressed

Editor

The corona virus pandemic has had significant psychological impact worldwide. Any crisis is invariably associated with states of panic and a sense of threat to individual safety. But the present havoc caused in the mental sphere is not short-term. It will have wider and longer effects on people compared to physical injuries. Previous outbreaks have shown that there were heavy psychological burdens upon health workers and the general public as well. As cases are still on the rise, psychological disturbances will continue to impact thousands of people. Conspiracy theories, false claims, misinformation and disinformation are only exacerbating the mental composure of the general public. The uncertainties regarding Covid-19 and its continuation, sub-clinical symptoms, re-occurrence have contributed to the confusion.

So far, the pandemic consistently shows that young people, rather than older people, are most vulnerable to increased psychological distress, because their need for social interactions is stronger. Young women are more vulnerable than young men, and people with young children, and those with previously diagnosed psychiatric disorders, are at particularly high risk from mental-health problems. Common psychiatric symptoms associated with a pandemic of such a scale would include sadness, inability to express joy, dissatisfaction, inability to express positive feelings, ideas of helplessness and hopelessness. This may lead to increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self-destructive behaviour and suicides. Other symptoms can include feelings of fear, anger, worry, frustration, changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests. In addition there would be difficulty in concentrating and making decisions, difficulty in sleeping. Physical symptoms, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems are the most common presentations of these underlying issues.

Not everyone confronted with the pandemic will reveal psychiatric symptoms but would still need psychological help and support from others. The importance of early intervention and vigilance for signs of psychiatric illness remain pertinent at this critical time. Psychological health effects could be minimized by avoiding excessive exposure to COVID-19 media coverage (a prevalent national pastime, especially binge-watching news channels), maintaining a healthy lifestyle while also engaging compassionately with other people.

A few strategies to cope with overwhelming emotions during such times includes maintaining a healthy daily routine, including physical exercise, mindfulness, healthy eating and staying connected with supportive family and friends through online portals .Most importantly we must stay physically safe from the virus by following all the protocols and guidelines given by health experts. Be mindful that reacting from a place of fear and panic is unhelpful. One of the most effective ways to manage our emotional storm is to focus on the actions that are in our control.

On the other hand we can also expect post-traumatic growth wherein people learn how to deal with their mental health challenges, appreciate life and develop an internally audited resilience. This is the time when we must address the substantial and unmet mental health needs of our society, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
If anyone is experiencing mental health problems and needs support they can reach SANKER on our toll free helpline (1800-345-3655) .

Yours etc,

Dr Dida Khonglah,

MD (Psych) SANKER,

Via email

Education without ethics is disastrous

Editor,

The recent PGI report released by the Union Ministry of Education has certainly taken away our peace of mind. It is unbelievable that we are at the bottom of the ladder in terms of overall academic performance. How could we put up with it when we have never hesitated to boast about our state being the academic hub of the Northeast? Now the fact has literally left us deflated. Many reactions and feedbacks have flooded the edit pages of this newspaper. This is indeed a good exercise. Even the Education Minister has taken the report with a positive attitude. He called for sincere efforts at improving the grading. I feel our collective responsibility is now imperative.

When we talk of education it is wrong to ignore the importance of ethics and character. I personally feel that we should be equally concerned about the character and morality indices of our society and academia. Let’s find out whether our younger children are on the right track. Through a recently published article — “Stop giving a political colour to education” Patricia Mukhim points out – “Parents send their children to school not just for academic credentials but with the hope that schools would build their character and the principles of good citizenship and life skills. Learning outcomes are normally measured by the annual exams but we all know that examinations hardly capture the holistic human development and the ethical and moral values of an individual.”

Truly, of what value is education if our academically proficient students have a weak character and low moral values? This fact is noticeable now than ever before. Merely evaluating the “kind of posts” and the number of “likes” on “Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok …” reveal the picture of where we are and what we are up to. Frivolity and vulgarity are so predominant that the academic status has been just used as a “tool” to achieve self-centered “needs” and self-gratification.

Yes, our minds are littered with several outrageous ideas. Of course, the present global environmental crisis and existing social depravity are glaring proofs that the present education system has totally failed to make us “think correctly” and act ethically. We only talk of science but we fail to understand that science may end up in a disaster without the modulator of ethics and prudence. Here I am prompted to share a significant thought by Albert Einstein. He literary puts all our greed-driven aspirations and ambition to rest by asserting — “Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life.” This quote by the great thinker should inspire us to find out where exactly the problems lie and what our education system has failed to impart.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,

Shillong

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