Education For All: Setup more colleges and universities

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Education has a prime role in the development of any nation. Nations outperform themselves by virtue of the contributions made by their citizens, which stand witness to the importance of quality education that is being imparted to them. Education not only makes an individual capable of doing extraordinary things, but also broadens his vision and perception. Education prepares the ground on which dreams are turned into reality and thus contributes towards the progress and wellbeing of the people and the society in general.
Education and education imparting mediums are assets for any nation. And the way they are managed and handled can determine the future of any nation. Education clearly is a revolutionary tool that can bring about a change in anyone’s personality and mould it for better. Nobody can deny the fact a number of education imparting mediums need to be established, keeping in view the population of the area that is being served. But when we take a look at the scenario in Kashmir valley, one often gets surprised to see only few colleges and universities catering to such a huge influx of students. The situation is more worrisome for those who aspire to pursue higher studies. Owing to the cut throat competition and inability of the state authorities to set up new universities and colleges, the aspirants find it difficult to get admissions for pursuing higher studies. Due to lack of vacancies, the students have to face rejection and discontentment in spite of being well educated and deserving candidates.
Quite often the figure of admission seekers outnumbers the vacancies by a massive amount. But still the state administration does not pay heed to the grievances of students and they continue to suffer. What is the point of such universities and colleges where only the creamy layer can get admissions, while others get deprived on account of limited vacancies? What about those who cannot afford to move outside and study there given their limited resources? They are left with either to discontinue their studies or lose their precious year to the inefficiency of the state administration. According to census 2011 data, the literacy rate for Jammu & Kashmir stands at 68.74 percent, out of which 78.26 percent comprise of the boys, while the rest 58.01 percent constitute girls. It has increased from 55.52 percent in 2001, but what remains an important question to answer is to ascertain the reason which led to the increase in this rate. May be some students who had the resources and migrated outside to pursue their education, or was it because of the distance education policies they enrolled themselves in, which raised this number.
Although the state government possess necessary funds and has the capability to establish new universities, but the irony is that till date there has been no such step from the government which could have provided a sigh of relief to the students. One fails to understand as to why till now no significant up-gradation in the intake capacity of students in University of Kashmir has been undertaken. Why this inefficiency? If such an institution has been unable to exploit its resources to take the maximum advantage, then what blame could be put on others? Owing to the ever increasing number of students that become eligible for higher studies, it was the need of the hour to have such a system in place that could have tackled these issues. But what we see instead is an indifferent management. Recently thirty six thousand students competed for only three thousand seats offered by Kashmir University. What good this nation can expect when almost thirty three thousand prospective students are left at the mercy of God. What further expectation can they have from this system that fails to honour the obligation of providing enough opportunities for them? What is the use of having such an educational system that is unable to meet the expectations of the students and has failed to win their hearts? Unlike our state, other states have learnt to use their resources skillfully and in a better way to cater to the rising demands of the students.
A common excuse that our state administration often comes up with is that of revenue. Now that university of Kashmir has generated enormous amount of money from about 36000 forms, this amount can be used to create and expand new educational avenues. What is of prime concern is to match the aspirations of the students so that they do not feel alienated and perceive that they are being taken care of. There is a need of such an educational system that can cater to the demands of the students by providing them with enough avenues so that they could be able to enroll themselves for higher degrees. Increase the number of universities and colleges to serve the population is the first step towards meeting this challenge. Furthermore, with the increase in the higher educational institutions, the problem of unemployment can also be kept in check. Ample employment opportunities can be generated for the unemployed youth. Education being a weapon that can change the world is of significant importance provided that its significance is understood. The number of universities and colleges in the valley should be increased and their intake capacity should be set as per the requirements and needs of the students.

( Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi is a student of Management at Lovely Professional University, Punjab. Feedback at syedmajidr59@gmail.com )

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