Mon. Nov 18th, 2019

Emancipation through Education in Kashmir

Kashmiri people in pursuit of education have ventured out to different countries in recent years. Most popular countries inspiring Kashmir youth for pursuing higher education are United Kingdom, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, United States, Australia and New Zealand to name a few. In pursuit of better job prospects, higher industrial exposure and lucrative careers, many of our Kashmiri youth have realized that it’s no longer good to confine themselves to universities in India or in Kashmir itself because the amount of tuition fee for many popular courses, the lack of modern curriculum, the less brand equity of universities in Kashmir and very high competition amongst students for competitive courses have made matters very stressful for Kashmiri students. Many Kashmiri students have developed this psychological tendency of studying outside of Kashmir due to emulations for a better future. We have universities, we have able professors, but what we lack is the ‘brighter future’ for students starting from the school to the university levels. We also lack high class infrastructure that we find in the universities abroad. The tier of ‘non-professional’ degree courses namely BSc, BCom and BA which maximum number of Kashmiri students adhere to, have a very low demand in the domestic recruitment sector. The professional degree courses like B.E, M.E, BBA, MBA, BCA, MCA, MBBS and MD are rooted in high competition and merit, where very few qualify. For them, some placements open up through local banks, hospitals, IT firms and manufacturing departments in the government or private sector, but the overall position of employment in Kashmir is very appalling. The reason for that is simply the stagnation in job generation due to lack of proper infrastructure. Emancipation through education is one of the most important components Kashmir needs to elevate generations, but it has always been a pressing issue of concern in Kashmir. We, as a community, also lack intellectual activities as one of the key issues of concern in Kashmir is improvement of education standards. These tentative suggestions are very easy to write, but in reality, it takes years or even decades to emancipate people via passionate and responsible leadership through imparting education and by giving them welfare through jobs and gratuities. Why can’t the government try and start now? As the tendency among youth to pursue higher studies for better careers has shown an unprecedented rise during last more than a decade now, a large pool of graduates prefer to study post graduate studies in the west. Thousands of youth have found lucrative careers in Middle East and other countries where competitive exams for entering into degrees are not mandatory for most of the courses, and admission is mostly granted on high school grades.
The research content, presentations, case study analysis, lab work and group debates carry equal weightage as written examinations. In fact, these entire elements together make up the overall grading criteria, whether at bachelors or at masters level. Even open book written examinations are encouraged where a student is expected to carry significant research to answer questions in theoretical exams. There are research database servers that connect hundreds of British universities, which are loaded with newsletters, journals, newspapers and eBooks that make study a bliss for researchers. Group or individual presentations go even up to 45 minutes in some universities, especially in post graduate studies, with a less researched topic. The need is also felt for cultural adaption while progressing on a specific group project – at the end, a student benefits from these advantages only when they study in a multi-cultural environment and in countries where imparting education is not done for business, but for cross cultural global interests. To remove education disparities in Kashmir, apart from increasing readership and intellect on various cacophonies surrounding us, there is an urgent need for institutionalizing a debate culture right from schools to universities. Our study of history is hijacked by bias. Young students should be exposed more to debating on societal, philosophical, religious or even political issues that are surrounding their lives, apart from academic and extra-circular activities. It will help the students especially from schools to nurture pathways of their future careers. Why should Kashmiris stagnate on crude policies implemented by these non-progressive oligarchs leading us? If education reform in Kashmir is a priority for the government, policy makers should realize the need for quality inflation on the so called ‘non-professional courses’.

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