Dismal Education

Dismal Education

Education in Kashmir is in a sorry and decrepit state. This is alarming not only because education has intrinsic value and is a public good but because the entire edifice of society- social, cultural, moral and ethical- depends on the nature of education provided. Moreover, education also has utilitarian implications and consequences. That is, education can determine the nature of people’s vocations and careers. Given all this, the poor education provided in Kashmir suggests that a whole generation is being set up for bad education, unworthy careers and dismal employment prospects. This is besides the negative implications that education has in character building , social and moral development. The state banks upon and appears to tout the Gross Enrolment Ratio(s)( GER’s) as a major indicator of the state of education in Kashmir. But the GER is a quantitative measure or indicator that merely reflects the numbers enrolled in schools and so on. It tells nothing about the quality of education. Other indicators that should be factored in assessing the quality of education imparted should be the nature and quality of both hard and soft infrastructure in Kashmir. The former pertains to schools, buildings, equipment made available for pupils and the latter refers to the quality of instruction and teaching. There is a deficit of both in Kashmir. While, by and large, results, to some extent, hold scrutiny but yet again results are relative and can even be doctored to earn brownie points. A total and comprehensive overhaul of education is needed here. The first step should to be align both hard and soft infrastructure with the needs and demands of the 21st century. This would entail revamping buildings, equipment and other related aspects and perhaps  robust teacher training programs with inputs and suggestions from the developed world. A necessary concomitant to developing the educational infrastructure of Kashmir would be robust accountability mechanisms plus incentives for teachers and instructors. All this assumes poignancy when more and more denizens of Kashmir, cutting across classes and sections of society, are looking to education for both upward mobility and success. There is no dearth of talent in Kashmir. However, this talent needs to groomed, trained and directed in salubrious ways. Only a good and robust educational system and infrastructure can lead to the efflorescence of talent in Kashmir and render it competitive in the hyper competitive world of today. Let the process of revamping our education systems begin now. Tomorrow might be too late!

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