The civil society of Kashmir Thursday asked state government to open up the education system for public debate and analysis.

Speaking at the inaugural session of Centre for Research Development and Policy’s (CRDP) Kehwa Talk on International Academic Programs Counselling session held at University of Kashmir, HoD English Department Prof Hameedah Nayeem said that education sector in Jammu and Kashmir is at all time low and drastic changes are needed to be incorporated.

“If state education minister Naeem Akhter sahib is claiming that education sector is being revolutionized in state by his government, we ask him to open the education policy and management for an open debate,” Prof Hameedah said.

Pertinently, State Education Minister, Naeem Akhter on Wednesday had said that the PDP-BJP government in J&K is framing and implementing revolutionary policies to revitalize education sector here.

The Counselling session was organized by CRDP in collaboration with KU English department and was attended by students from KU, IUST and various Srinagar based degree colleges.

She added that civil society of any nation plays an important role in framing policies of that nation. “Civil society will give its opinion and it shall work with government in framing good and revolutionizing policies for education sector in Jammu and Kashmir State,” she said.

Congratulating CRDP for organizing Kehwa Talk like programs, Prof Hameedah said that Kashmiri society has lost the social spaces due to conflict in valley.

“Reclaiming these social spaces is important,” she said.

“Economy, Social and Cultural issues are part and parcel and inevitable parts of Kashmiri people and somehow our leaders forgot it,” she said.

She said that strong civil society movements are needed to reclaim the lost social spaces like Kanderwan in Kashmir.

“And if we foster such activities, these will turn in to movements and hence can become potent forces in reclaiming the power which people of Kashmir have lost,” Prof Hameedah added.

She also claimed that the tourism sector of J&K benefits only 30000 people.

“People are shown these tourism lollipops; only 30000 people of Kashmir are actually benefitted from it,” she said citing a research done by KCSDS.

“They (government) tries to portray everything is normal in Kashmir through tourism.”

In its mission to ‘reclaim social spaces’, CRDP director, Dr Peer GN Suhail gave an overlook of Kehwa Talk and said that people of Kashmir would sit on river banks and outside shops in villages and discuss everything. “But last 25 years snatched everything from Kashmiris,” he said adding, “Kehwa Talk is just an initiative to get back such spaces.”

He said that Kashmiri students are able and have all the capabilities to compete with other students across world. “Once we move outside our home places, we come across different people, cultures, and societies which is necessary,” he said. Dr Suhail himself expertises in international development policy.

The Hindu Srinagar bureau Special Correspondent, Zahid Rafiq, who has got his Masters Degree from UC Berkeley, US asked students to shun fear and shyness and move beyond boundaries.

“Kashmir University is a closed one. Closed in every sense; students have to travel and with travelling come education,” he told the gathering in the seminar hall of Humanities Block of KU.

“There are many fellowships and scholarships which Kashmiri students need to look at and avail,” he said adding, “But it is not just a part time affair. Students have to work on it. It may take days together.”

He added that because Kashmir has been through conflict in last two and a half decades, the students from valley get easily such chances to study abroad.

Policy analyst with J&K government, Wajahat Qazi while giving his educational background said, “If there are any financial hiccups in attaining education abroad, students should take bank loans.”

“Students can easily pay back it afterwards; Students work while they study in the Western world,” he said.

Political editor of Rising Kashmir, Faisul Yaseen said that students should prioritise their degrees.

“Foreign universities don’t recognise Masters Degrees easily and they ask students to go for MA again and it should be done,” he said. Faisul got his Masters from Indiana University, US in Journalism.

Faculty at EMMRC, KU Akmal Hanan who has got his Masters from US; Mumtaz Ahmad Yatoo- PhD in Archaeology from UK and Shahid Ahmad, LLM-UK also addressed the gathering.

Others who attended the session were Dr Waqar Amin and Dr Adil from Social Work, Dr Javaid Ul Aziz from History department, Er Tariq Ahmad from IUST, columnists Mehmood-Ur-Rashid and Maroof Ahmad Shah etc.

Actor, Theatre Director and CRDP member Muhammad Amin Bhat gave vote of thanks on the occasion.


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