SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Tuesday asked University of Kashmir to conceive a model institute in the skill development after expressing concern over the dwindling interest of young artisans in the handicraft industry.
“Handicraft is threatening to become a part-time activity because of diminishing returns. If anyone has given us global identity, it is our handicraft.
“We face the challenge of reviving this activity, for which skill development institutes can play a pivotal role in craft entrepreneurship,” Sayeed said after inaugurating the Science and Technology Block of the College of Engineering at Zakura Campus, here.
He said the Kashmir University needs to conceive a model institute in skill development.
“This is the handicraft industry which sustained the st-ate’s economy during difficult times,” he said and cited the example of countries like Germany, which have taken a lead in the field of skill development.
Describing universities as caretaker of state’s greatest asset, the Chief Minister urged upon the premier institutes to fully utilize the financial assistance and grants provided by MHRD under various Central schemes, in particular those provided for development of infrastructure in offsite campuses.
“The institutes of higher learning should take a leaf out of benchmark universities and restructure its teacher-student ratio so that individual attention is paid to low-performing students,” he said.
Sayeed asked the policy makers to shift gear and link education with employability and also called for broadening the scope of academic activities at North and South Campuses of the University of Kashmir at Baramulla and Anantnag so that they serve as full-fledged centres of higher learning.
“Satellite campuses have been lacking vibrancy for a pretty long time, for which urgent steps are required to be taken to infuse new life so that they make youngsters ready for ever-expanding job market.
“These campuses are Kashmir University’s arms. Even after so many years, academic activities at North and South campuses are at low ebb,” the Chief Minister observed.
Asking the youngsters to brace up for cut-throat competition in the field of education, Sayeed asked the Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, Advisor Amitab Mattoo and the Vice Chancellor of the University Khursheed Indrabi to put their heads together and frame a concept plan to optimally utilize prime land that has been provided to Kashmir University to establish its North and South Campuses.
“We have to make best use of the offsite campuses. The university has to be a pioneer in quality education so that we prepare a market-oriented human resource,” he said, while asking the academicians present in the gathering to take ownership of building capacities of the talented youth.
Highlighting the emerging demand for top quality engineers, Sayeed urged the Vice Chancellor to include market-driven streams in the college’s curriculum.
He said with the state witnessing a construction boom, the requirement for engineers is bound to grow.
“I would like to see in near future a state-of-the-art engineering university emerge on the state’s horizon,” he hoped.