Education and Alienation

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THE government policy of opening new colleges arbitrarily in rural areas is beginning to get exposed as another avenue for the ruling classes to manufacture vote banks. Ostensibly, the government is responding to the genuine demands from people in various areas to establish new degree colleges. However, functioning of the newly established colleges reveals scant government attention towards the real requirements and purposefulness of these institutes.

In most cases basic infrastructure is nonexistent and permanent teaching staff has remained a dream for students who had celebrated setting up of colleges closer to their respective areas.

The government claims it is revolutionizing higher education in the state. But a closer look at how colleges are granted to different areas and what those colleges have so far meant to the student population clearly exhibits a numbers approach that often recues politicians and governments while facing real questions. In the records the government, current as well its predecessor, proliferation of colleges has meant and end in itself.

Little or no attention has been paid to the relevance of courses offered that also leaves the government claims of boosting employability through higher education a hollow one.

Most of the newly established colleges have either just the Principal or a single digit permanent teaching staff and function out of rented buildings or dilapidated government school buildings. Mostly the courses offered are the same hackneyed ones where there is no accent on skills required to succeed in our time. So, the students who have enrolled in these ill equipped and ill planned colleges have begun to feel more frustrated than they were without them.

The government of the day might think it is fulfilling a widespread and popular demand of setting up institutes of higher education, but it appears that the ruling classes have only succeeded in enhancing a deeply entrenched feeling of being ignored in reality. The youth desirous of perusing a meaningful education in the hope of becoming employable are feeling cheated and further alienated.

A better and more genuine approach for the government to adopt would be to set up fewer colleges but well equipped and well staffed for the real needs of the youth. It is understandable that recruitment of sufficient and appropriately qualified and skilled teachers means and heavy recurring salary bill. However, the thin spread of colleges on the one side does not address the availability of resources issues, and on the other hand it also does not serve the purpose for which people demanded new colleges for. Is it then investing in vote-banks or alienation?   

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About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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