Kohima: Secretary to the Finance department and public health engineering department (PHED) Kesonyü Yhome, IAS, on Thursday, challenged Naga students to do away with the “easy money” culture in the society.

Yhome was addressing the Naga students who topped the recently declared High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate (HSSLC) examinations, during a ceremony organized by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) in Kohima. Yhome raised concerns over how the Naga society has become “prone and vulnerable” to easy money.

The officer, while acknowledging the students who topped the board exams, said “Making it very big in the examination is excellent. But what is more important is to enhance your maturity level and to understand the broad picture—not confined to books but understand what is happening around you and understand what are the challenges in the society”.

In this regard, Yhome highlighted the unresolved unemployment crisis in Nagaland. He said that as per the data provided by the Employment Exchange, there is around 60,000 educated unemployed youth in the state. In the nationwide race, he said that Nagaland has the second-highest unemployment rate—an average of 31% as against the national average of 6%, after Lakshadweep.

Further presenting data conducted by the Directorate of Evaluation in 2007, he said that a total of 13,380 shops across Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung has been surveyed where a total of 45,815 non-local workforce were registered with a cumulative annual income of Rs 450 crore.

Yhome pointed out that the local economy is affected as the revenue generated by the non-local workforce is remitted outside of the state. Pointing out the “lazy” attitude of the Nagas which has forced many to earn money the easy way, he encouraged the students to work hard consistently and not fall prey to the “one-minute fame.”

As the students have “tasted success,” he urged them not to be frustrated even if failure comes their way in the future, telling them not to be “tempted” to earn easy money.

A concern that the officer raised was the ranking of the state in the recent NITI Aayog Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) report where 10 out of 12 districts in Nagaland were listed among the 25 least performing districts in the NorthEast region. He goes on to highlight that the HIV prevalence in Nagaland is 1.45%, against the national average of 0.22%, making it to the second-highest ranking in the country.

Yhome also highlighted the high rate of tobacco consumption in the state with 43% of the population consuming tobacco products. As he raised concerns about the issues in the state, he urged the students to collectively address the problems.

Another major concern confronting the Naga society, according to the officer, is the languages spoken in the state. He informed that all languages in Nagaland are listed among 191 endangered languages in the country as per UNESCO. In this regard, he urged the need to the gravity of cultural entities.

As the students take a step towards facing the real challenges of the real world outside of their classrooms, he urged them to be good human beings and contribute to a good integral society—potentially moving towards the new world order of building an ethical power.

Felicitating 70 Naga toppers of which 56 were in attendance, NSF President Kegwayhun Tep urged the students to become assets in the society and not become a liability. The student leader urged them to follow their heart and work even harder as they have a long journey to go on. He informed that, unlike the other years, Naga toppers from Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar were not able to be part of the ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on behalf of the toppers, Keneino Thorie, who topped the HSLC exam, shared how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the education system since last year. “We could not attend schools physically, and hence we were compelled to have online classes. Though it was an entirely different experience, and at times, we were met with a lot of challenges, it was the efforts and guidance of the teachers who helped us through these tough times,” she said.

Thorie also acknowledged the parents for believing in them. She said that placing God above all plans and working hard consistently has helped them achieve the feat. Kekhrongulo Letro, who spoke on behalf of the parents, thanked the NSF for honouring the parents of the toppers while also celebrating the success of the students. According to him, some reasons that have contributed towards the success of the students include having a supportive family, investing time in the children and respecting elders and teachers.

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