Monday, July 22, 2024

CUET(UG) Fiasco and Subservient Politics


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Developing a region into an educational hub requires years of concerted efforts, effective policies, and a supportive ecosystem. It is indisputable that this type of development represents one of the safest forms of economic growth, as it does not rely on the exploitation of non-renewable resources. Historically, Shillong was considered a premier educational centre in Northeast India. However, it is disheartening to witness the city’s gradual decline in this regard. Various stakeholders are surreptitiously undermining the attributes of being educational hub for their own interests, eroding the very ecosystem that sustains and enhances Shillong as an educational hub. This negligence goes largely unchallenged, even as it saps the vitality of the sector of the state.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift, with students from other hill states increasingly opting for Guwahati over Shillong for their studies. This shift can be attributed to poor decisions and delays by policymakers, government authorities, and the management of the state’s lone affiliating university, all of which have contributed to diverting students away from Shillong.
The recent implementation of the CUET (UG) exam illustrates a systemic failure not only in the state but also all over the country. It is widely acknowledged that less than 20% of students who completed class XII were able to sit for the exam, due primarily to an insufficient number of testing centres. This scarcity is not only a problem in this state but also prevalent across other states in the Northeast. The state government has remained passive, ignoring the hardships faced by thousands of students who cannot afford to study outside the state. The state government is engaging in complicitous and subservient politics, prioritizing directives from their masters in Delhi over addressing the concerns of the 80% of the state’s students. Politicians of the state are unscrupulously obsessed with packages and logistic support from Delhi by relegating the interest of the people of state in the background.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has acted promptly to exempt CUET (UG) for admissions to degree colleges, attracting students from other hill states, even though the quality of teaching and communication skills in Assam may not match those in Shillong. Additionally, the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) appears more concerned with aligning itself with right-wing politics in Delhi than with addressing the increasing dropout rates.
These issues raise critical questions about the future of education in our state: Where will the disadvantaged students of our state turn? Is Shillong rapidly transforming from a renowned educational hub into a deserted city in the education sector?
Yours etc.,
Mary L. Laloo,
Via email

What happened to ‘Hello Meghalaya’?

It is deeply concerning to see the current government’s take-for-granted attitude on making pompous and glamour-filled promises to the public and then simply forgetting about it after they have won their required publicity points.
In March 2023, the government with much fervour announced the launch of ‘Hello Meghalaya,’ a supposed local OTT platform intended to provide a space for local filmmakers and content creators to showcase their work. This initiative was expected to offer a significant boost to the youth interested in mass media, providing them with a platform to publish their content and earn revenue, as was claimed by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in his press briefing.
However, over a year has passed, and there has been no progress or communication about ‘Hello Meghalaya.’ Instead, the Government has recently supported a well-known event management group (which surely needs no introduction) by hosting a new show on tourism called ‘Hills on a Plate’ on JioCinema. Does the Government believe the public has forgotten its initial promise?
If the government was so confident about ‘Hello Meghalaya’, why did it not start the local OTT platform and host ‘Hills on a Plate’ on this platform itself? Where is the confidence of the Government on its own initiatives announced in public interest?
The silence on this project suggests it may have been a publicity stunt, a move to gain brownie points without any genuine intention to follow through.
It is disappointing to see the Government favouring one organization over the broader community of content creators. This raises concerns about the Government’s commitment to nurturing local talent and providing equitable opportunities for all. The creators and filmmakers of Meghalaya deserve better and as someone who is always in close interaction with them, it must be made known that they indeed stand disappointed.
They need the platform that was promised to them – a platform that supports and amplifies their genuine work. The youth of Meghalaya deserve to know whether their government truly supports their creative endeavours or if they have been sidelined in favour of more prominent entities.
Yours etc.,
Patrick Kurbah
Via Email

Palestine needs to become an independent country

Kudos to Spain, Ireland, and Norway for their decision to recognise a Palestinian state on May 28. Palestine should be treated as a sovereign country as per the partisan plan of Great Britain’s Palestine in 1947.
Israel has been ignoring the two-state solution as per the 1993 Oslo Accord for decades, and now it has engaged in genocidal violence in response to the October 7, Hamas attack. The United Nations secretary-general Antón Guterres said that the Hamas attack did not take place in a vacuum. His comment was as right as the observation that the Indian Rebellion of 1857 did not take place in a vacuum. The truth is that 15 million Palestinians have been suffering the brutality of Israel’s oppression for decades.
There were acts of terrorism against British civilians like Kennedy ladies during the British Raj in India. Khudiram Bose and his friend Prafulla Chaki threw a bomb at a carriage thinking that the district magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Douglas Kingsford, was in the carriage. However, Kingsford was seated in a different carriage, and the bomb killed two British women. Can such attacks on the British civilians justify the Jallianwala Bagh massacre?
Had the British still been ruling India, would the world have lent moral support to the colonial regime against the freedom fighters? Gaza massacre put Jallianwala Bagh to shame. More than 35,000 Palestinians, including nearly half of them children and elderly, have been killed in Gaza.
Yours etc.,
Sujit De,


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