By Dr Tahir Maqbool
I recently came across a good piece article published in this English dailytitled “Do we actually need a veterinary university”. The author based his arguments on the foundation of “unemployment among veterinarians in the J&K state”. Though the argument was strong especially when it came to available and possible avenues provided to vet grads in state, but unfortunately , the analysis was possibly misdirected and unrelated. The author had tried to relate two different facets in two different frames of references. Here is a simple analysis of facts it takes to put things in order.
The demand for the creation of a separate veterinary university in place of faculty of vet sciences is in no way an exaggeration of facts as proposed by author. It is, instead, a planned step for evolution into a more developed approach which can produce quality scientists and pave the way to the development of state. In reference to “Noori” which is the world’s first Pashmina goat clone produced by vet scientists of state, it is quite important to showcase the output and contribution state scientists can really make provided they are allowed to work freely, independently and funded properly. Since all these parameters can easily be fulfilled by having a separate veterinary university which can allow its scientists to take up challenges without limiting them financially and affecting their work negatively. An independent institution will make it easy in terms of planning and will lead to proper utilization of funds.
The role of universities has never been to grant jobs to its alma mater or whatever; rather their area of interest is to impart quality education and help students to develop skills and gain knowledge so that they can do research projects independently. The demand for the creation of a separate veterinary university is by far the best way to upgrade quality of education and research(which the author seems to be concerned about). An independent and separate veterinary university may also help, if worked out sincerely, to organize much needed extension projects, workshops and seminars to develop self sustainable and self reliant entrepreneurship as an option to unemployed vets of state. In short, a self reliant and separate veterinary university can really become a big asset to the state economy and state subjects provided people really do what they are promising now.
Furthermore, it is absolutely baseless to interpret that a separate veterinary university will increase the number of unemployed vets significantly. I strongly believe as an independent university, it will have to follow specific guidelines to get itself recognized with the Veterinary Council of India. Since, the Veterinary Council of India has a much lesser input capacity for students every year and thereby subsequently lesser number of pass outs, the number of unemployed vet grads will be lesser than what is now. I also think that an independent veterinary university in place of an established faculty is not just a name plate changing but rather a game changer which can boost not only the morale of veterinary professionals in state but its economy and contribution to state and society as well.
However, I do agree with the author that an independent university is not the only solution to the plethora of problems faced by state vets. Rather, the biggest challenge is to curb the ever increasing number of unemployment of vets. This problem must be tackled immediately by providing private sector support or government t jobs to professionals so that they can change the scenario of state from an importer to exporter of feed, poultry, milk and other products. But, this is the mandate of state government rather than a university. Therefore it appears that the author has misdirected his approach by relating unemployment as an excuse to the development of an independent research and quality education institute.
The author is an alma mater of SKUAST-K. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org