By Jan Palla
The education system in Jammu & Kashmir is trivial and at cross purposes with the objective of education. Our prestigious Kashmir University considered to be “Alimuk Aagur” (Source of Knowledge) is a good starting point to understand the nature of our education system. The University takes more care about its lawns than the future of students. Every degree is quite often delayed by a year or so without a defined academic calendar and the Controller Examination acts cocky. It seems that he is in charge of some space mission.
The date sheet has always been a shocker and comes to the notice of students like a natural calamity. In terms of careers, I doubt that the prestigious university has any placement cell. (If it has , I will be pleased and would like to know the number of placements per year). In terms of administrative issues, if a student’s bad luck is too bad, he or she will have to rectify slip up in his/her certificates in the examination block. It is here that a student will understand the phrase or “Dragged from Pillar to Post “.
A good idea of the work culture of the University can be experienced in the Revenue department and the Examination Block of the university where the finger always points towards the next table. Down the hierarchy are our Colleges-Higher Secondary Schools, High Schools and Primary Schools where more than 60% of the system is on the shoulders of the contractual system.
I find the Bachelor of Education (B Ed) course meant for teaching perplexing. This has resulted in the mushrooming of B Ed colleges and has turned it into a money spinning industry. I smell a rat here in the sense that this enterprise is meant for blue eyed boys of political babus. About 95 % of students after completing their graduation or post graduation go for the B Ed program. Of these, less than 10% are absorbed in the teaching department. The other 90 % of 95% are either absorbed in departments other than teaching or remain unemployed which renders this two year degree useless for them.
Can’t the teaching department provide it an interdepartmental course for amateur new entrants with the help of talented, experienced teachers of department?
Our higher secondary schools and high schools aren’t well equipped with laboratories and libraries which has rendered the student cohort only masters of theory .Wouldn’t it have been better if that scooty subsidy launched by government had gone in upgrading the educational infrastructure of the vale?
The need of the hour is to promote scientific temperament but in recruit drives held by JKSSB and JKPSC Mohenjodaro , Harappa and so on are more important than keeping pace with the technological era. The examiners must be fair to science subjects- in the least , 50% questions should be asked from science subjects rather than confining the whole process to a rote test.
As is well known, skill oriented courses have ample job opportunities. Under this premise, the government had initiated a good program by providing a government polytechnic in each district . However, this program also witnessed the wrath of administrational fury and political apathy. Eighty percent of the teaching staff in such colleges is working on a contractual basis and are paid a mere seven thousand rupees per month. This amounts to less than minimum monthly wages paid to unskilled labor (Rs. 10,500) as per Central Government notification, dated 31 August 2016.
If the status quo remains in such technical departments, surely soon these will become a lame horse and everybody knows the fate of lame horses. Factually, in Jammu & Kashmir, a contractual lecturer (technical cum professional), is getting a monthly salary less than that of a laborer. The supreme irony is that like in our “Andhaer Nagri” , the Chief Minister poses with an IAS topper which leads to the illusion that “All is Well ” in the system and as if every Kashmiri needs to be an IAS.
The author is an engineering graduate and can be reached at: [email protected]