The Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) on Tuesday lambasted the state administration and central government for failing to prevent attacks on Kashmiri students in outside colleges on one hand and on the other hand systematically blocking every chance of creation of quality colleges and universities in private sector in Kashmir.
“It is like our students are being pushed in between rock and hard place,” said G N Var chairman PSAJK.
“The attacks on students have scarred the soul of the younger generation. Many have even left their certificates and huge fee behind and vowed never to go back,” he said.
The Association said that the so-called liaison officers and helplines are proving too little and too late.
“There is complete panic among students and their parents alike here. Students are being thrown out of hostels, private accommodation and even boycotted by shopkeepers,” said Var.
“In such situation, parents are asking us why we don’t have such colleges here in Kashmir so that students would have remained safe,” he said.
The Association said that it is not that Kashmiri businessmen, entrepreneurs, academicians don’t have resources and will to open world-class colleges and universities in Kashmir, but it is the government that has been repeatedly blocking any such move.
“Right now there are around 100 files pending in government offices for the want of clearance for the establishment of private colleges,” said Var. “Such is the seriousness of the government in their desire to see backwardness of Kashmir that they are yet to bring private universities act. Everybody knows how they thwarted attempts to establish Transworld university despite everything being ready.”
Regarding the Rs 1200 crore Prime Ministers Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for students of the State launched after 2010, the Association said that it was entirely an eyewash as the majority of the money went to their own colleges in other states.
“More than 90 per cent of students were given admission in C grade colleges, who were more after the money than education,” said Var.
“Some colleges literally operated from cowsheds. It is like Centre gave money from one hand to its other hand,” said G N Var.
“Had even half of that amount spent on scholarship in local colleges, infrastructure would have developed systematically here too,” said Var.
According to estimates of PSAJK, every year 11000 students from Kashmir go to other states in pursuit of education and it is a drain of Rs 1800 crores annually on State economy.
“Now when our students are forced to go outside, there they are being held hostage for no fault of their’s,” said Var. “The current situation is the younger generation feels that a war has been declared on them and which is a scary situation.”
The Association demanded that the Private University Act be framed forthwith and the establishment of private colleges be expedited by clearing files in time bound manner. Terming Kashmir University as a den of corruption and nepotism, the Association demanded that colleges be equally distributed to Islamic University as former is unable to handle college efficiently.
“If we are given chance, even now we have enough infrastructure at certain higher secondaries where we can start undergraduate courses,” said Var. “We can easily start the majority of courses for whom students want to go out, provided we are given chance.”