Ishfaq Abdullah & Firdous Hameed Parray
Research in colleges is much debated these days. The initiative has been taken by the Higher Education Department and, in this regard, the role of the Principal Secretary to education is commendable. This order of making colleges research oriented which should have come long before has produced mixed reactions. Some have welcomed the decision but others have taken the opposite stance.
Colleges as research spaces is a good initiative and in the long term, its results will be fruitful. Those who have shown disinclined stance of having research in colleges are looking the decision at a superficial level with a wall to closed thinking. Their points of view, no doubt are of a serious nature, but still they should not look with an immediate frame but a longer time framework. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that research is not the prerogative of universities; rather it needs an intellectual bent of mind which is very much present in colleges.
It is actually the lack of engagement of talent in colleges on the part of system which will be put to order with the decision of research. Today, our colleges seem to have become centers of stagnation. It is not that teachers are lacking in capacity and are non-serious in their approach, but the environment in the present context is the real culprit.
With the introduction of research in colleges, dynamism will have its birth with the engagement of teachers in different work roles related to research. It will make colleges vibrant and will bring vigour within the dying energy which will be valuable for the whole state and the education system. As colleges act as a base for universities so it becomes imperative that the end products varsities should get excelled in their talent. This would be possible with the initiative of research in colleges.
The students act as products that should have market value otherwise they are wasted. Research is one among the steps towards making colleges as life giving spaces. The research in colleges will not only engage teachers but it will also help students to achieve what they are not even allowed to think even after getting admission in universities. Research in colleges will obviously help to develop colleges at all levels. The infrastructure in colleges will be better with more funds to be invested to enlarge libraries and develop laboratories.
Moreover, reading culture will be developed in colleges which is a must in today’s era .Unless, this trait will get developed in colleges we can’t think of good and better products to be produced at the college level. Research will make students interactive, innovative, men and women of thinking caliber. The workshops of research in colleges will help students to develop cultivate robust analytical skills, among other things.
The elitism of universities would be widened if college professors will be given the opportunity for research. Here, we would like to ask the question: what makes university professors more valuable in their selection or anything else. The college professor deserves same opportunity as are enjoyed by university professor because so far the selection criteria to become an Assistant Professor are almost the same. The need of the hour is to make colleges not only spaces for production of graduates but they should be given facilities with enthusiasm, vitality and taste of research. In order to substantiate our argument, it is better to raise a question that if colleges in whole of India can be enlightened with research opportunities why not the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the need of hour to grant college’s access to research which currently is out of the reach of talented students. College teachers will also get lot of benefits as within college they can complete their research apart from their services of teaching. This decision would be for betterment of education system so we should eulogize such bold and courageous initiative. As Robert Green Ingersoll has rightly marked “Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed”.
—The authors can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org