Thursday, December 7, 2023

Letters to the Editor


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Urgent need for sustainable roads infrastructure in Meghalaya
I write to express my profound concern over the deteriorating state of road infrastructure in the stunning landscapes of Meghalaya. The roads that wind through this picturesque region, which should be a source of pride, are instead emblematic of an ongoing crisis.
Regrettably, the government’s response to this issue has often been limited to what can only be described as “cosmetic paint of roads.” These superficial, short-term fixes, while momentarily improving conditions, prove shockingly inadequate. The unforgiving climate and challenging terrain swiftly conspire to undo these efforts, perpetuating a cycle of degradation and renewal.
What adds to our collective dismay is the revelation that road repairs often appear to coincide with VIP visits, presumably to secure funding. This erratic approach not only raises questions about the allocation of resources but also jeopardizes the safety of those who travel these roads. It leads to increased travel times, heightened transportation costs, and a stifling of economic progress, all of which have a profound impact on the region’s residents and businesses.
In the light of this distressing situation, I urge the government to transition from this stop-gap approach to adopting a comprehensive, sustainable strategy to address the road infrastructure crisis in Meghalaya. This strategy must carefully consider the unique challenges presented by the region’s terrain and climate. Equally vital is the recognition that the voices and needs of the local community must be at the forefront of any solution.
In conclusion, Meghalaya demands lasting, holistic solutions for their road network. The current cycle of “cosmetic fixes” perpetuates hardship for residents and hinders economic growth. It is high time for meaningful change, characterized by sustained government action, community engagement, and a resolute commitment to quality and durability.
Yours etc.,
Wandi Keme P. Shyrmang,
Via email


From the point of view of
a student
As I was reading the article in your newspaper about how students aren’t excelling in mathematics and science as well as we should be, I realized that as a student who comes from a highly academic family background and as a very curious child I was bored out of my wits during my mathematics and science classes. And this was not because I was distracted; I was simply not able to understand and hence was not paying attention because the way teachers taught us was so dull and uninteresting.
It felt like a vicious cycle. Since the students aren’t interested and are not paying attention, the teachers too are tired and fed up. They just run through the chapters. It is not entirely the teachers’ fault, nor is it the students. Since we students don’t understand the language therefore, we show no interest in the subject, making the teachers angry, annoyed, and uninterested in teaching. Even if the teachers are good in the subject, some of them have no interest in teaching or in using different methods, and students aren’t giving the teachers a chance. So who is to blame? Teachers? Students? Or the education system?
The simple answer and perhaps the most interesting is that students do not pay attention—not because they’re not interested but because they don’t understand what is being taught. I was a home-schooler for many years, and I studied mathematics and other subjects in Khasi up to Class 5. I continue to do my Class 12 studies at home, in Khasi, by translation.
I was taught in Khasi and when I started doing Maths in English, I felt as if I would just go stick my head in the oven, not because I was not intelligent or non-cooperative but because I just could not understand the language and the grammar of the subject I was studying. But when it was translated to me by my mother and her friends into Khasi, I understood it perfectly. Same goes for my Science and other subjects and when I went back to school for about six months, I realised that most of the students in the school and in my class didn’t understand English and the grammar of the subject, especially Maths. When I explained it to them in Khasi and Hindi they managed to score marks that were not even in their capacity, a B+ student and even a C+ student got straight A’s because they understood it perfectly. Why? Because it was in their own mother tongue. So now the real question is not whether or not students are capable of studying Mathematics and Science or any subject for that matter. The real question is – Will the education system let them? Or are we to follow the western style of education and end up losing our roots and not gaining much of a life or career since we do not understand English as well as we should?
We all ask the question: Why are students better in Hindi than Khasi, or why are students scoring in English rather than Khasi or Pnar? So isn’t it time for a change? Should we not introduce learning in our mother tongue while learning English too? And this not just to understand the subject or to excel in it, but to bring us closer to our roots so that we can say we are proud to read, write, and speak Khasi and Pnar instead of being belittled and overtaken by English speakers who, may I add, can’t speak good English for the life of them. At least before our mothers’ generation, even if they had to speak English in school, their English was perfect. Here in our generation, English is spoken as if it’s our mother tongue, yet our grammar, spelling, and pronunciation are so pathetic.
I see young girls on the road talking in English, looking at me, and telling me to, “move away from the road because we are in it.” And when I replied to them in English, they said “Oh peit kam, I dei Khasi,” which translates to, ” Oh look she doesn’t look like a Khasi”.
And when I talked back in Khasi, they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about and said, “Nii! You don’t need to flaunt that you are Khasi.” Therefore, I would like to conclude by saying that knowing, studying, and teaching in our mother tongue, be it anywhere in our state or country will not just open opportunities to us students but also broaden our minds and hearts to other things besides Westernisation and also show us that there is more to know than meets the eye when it comes to our mother tongue.
Who knows? it may surprise us!
Yours etc.,
Shailin H.Lyngdoh,
Shillong -11

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