Irrelevant Courses?

Courses available at the college and university level in Kashmir leave students who pursue them with little or no job avenues. Most of them are forced to take up totally different courses later to find jobs leading to dissatisfaction and inefficiency at workplaces. Syed Asma reports.

When Nazia decided to take a bachelor’s course in biochemistry, she had hoped to get a good job especially when she would complete her masters in the same subject. She was a student of the first batch of biochemistry graduates in Women’s College M A Road. It has been six years since she completed her masters. She is a PhD holder now but still jobless.

Her batch mate Nighat, pursued B.Ed after her masters in biochemistry and is now a school teacher.Many of their fellow students are either jobless or into some profession that is not even remotely related to biochemistry, like banking.

Students of many other streams like biotechnology, bio-resources, clinical biochemistry and other professional streams often end up being jobless in Kashmir. Apart from these,Electronics, Computer science and Islamic studies also add up a number of youth to the unemployed lot in the state.

“It is not the case with my subject only. Even doctors are jobless in Kashmir. It has a much larger canvass than what actually meets the eye. Unemployment has nothing to do with subjects,” says Dr Zafar Ahmed Reshi, presently heading the Department of Bio-resources, University of Kashmir .M A Yousuf, Dean Academics in the University blames the lack of industrial sector in Kashmir for making these professionally skilled students sit at home there by developing in them a culture of looking out for a government job.

“We encourage the skilled youth to start their own enterprises or opt for jobs outside the state.”

He says new courses are only started after seeing their demand and stability in the market particularly of J&K.

Iqbal, after completing his Computer Engineering couldn’t get a job in his own field. Instead, he joined a bank as cashier-cum-clerk against his wishes. “When I completed my degree I thought I would get a job related to my degree. But for past two years I have not come across a single job notification related to my field,”he says, seemingly unhappy with his job.

According to him some of his batch mates are working as contractual lecturers, some have gone for higher studies and others are working in banks.

Many people share Iqbal’s views. Rukhsana, who also works in a bank like Iqbal had a similar experience, “I am looking for an opportunity to leave this job, bank schedules are so hectic and I am doing totally opposite what I have studied,”she says. Rukhsana has done B.Tech in Computer Applications.

Islamic studies postgraduates are among the worst hit.They too are either unemployed, sitting idle at home or doing general line teaching in primary schools. Some are working as contractual lecturers.

Salim, who has a masters degree in Islamic studies says some of his friends have been thrown into a sector which is quite contrary to what they were taught in the classrooms. “Some of my batch mates are working in banks. They are working with a system which is not permissible in Islam. But the job opportunities are so less that we are left with no other option.”

Some of them have even completed additional postgraduate courses.

“I think most people in Kashmir study only to get a job.If a subject does not promise a good job, it lacks its importance.A similar thing is happening to this course as well.I don’t think any other subject gives as much knowledge as Islamic Studies,” says Javaid Ahmad, a postgraduate in Islamic Studies.He is now doing another course, a Masters in Journalism because of the lesser job opportunities in his previous course.

However,a professor of Islamic studies blame the social and education system for this mess in the Valley. “Our children are not groomed in a healthy way, both physically and mentally. They are always in confusion while choosing their career which increases the chances of compromise later. So, they land up in irrelevant jobs.” He calls it “lack of concentrated effort”.

Postgraduate students of electronics are also among the people who are into jobs they think are not satisfying. They have to choose another course to have a satisfying job.
“I am presently teaching in a private primary school. I had never thought I will have to do this when I joined the course,”says Shaheen.

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Syed Asma completed her masters in journalism from the Islamic University, Awantipore, in 2010. After working with Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Times, she joined Kashmir Life in February 2011. She covered politics, society, gender issues and the environment. In 2016, she left journalism to pursue her M Phil from the University of Kashmir. She is presently pursuing PhD.


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