Outsourcing Education

What everybody seems to neglect in the recent controversy that erupted after some Kashmiri students studying outside celebrated Pakistan’s win over India in Asia cup is lack of quality educational back home. What prompts such a large number of students to choose places other than Kashmir for higher studies is a question that nobody seems bothered to ask. Does Uttar Pardesh, Punjab or Rajasthan have better infrastructure as compared to Kashmir for higher studies. Or is it because students who study outside have better future prospects than their counterparts back home that pushes them beyond Jawahar tunnel. In Punjab for instance there are around one thousand mid-sized collages and private universities offering different professional courses to students from across India. In Uttar Pardesh the number of such collages and private universities are even higher. But in Kashmir we have just three universities: Kashmir University, Central University and Islamic University of Science and Technology, where a student can pursue post graduate course. There are no private collages in Kashmir offering post graduate courses. It is ironic that Kashmir University (KU) has kept its gates closed for any such affiliation. While Punjabi University Patiala (PUP) has around 300 collages affiliated with it and almost all offer post graduate courses in different streams. These affiliated collages earn around 30 crore annually to PUP by means of examination fees only. Over the years KU has been in news for all the wrong reasons. One reason for its closed door approach to education could be its lack of will or simply inefficiency of its management to handle such affiliations. But if one digs deeper into the psyche of the people who run the show in KU, it becomes clear that it is the idea of dominance over education system that is hindering any affiliations. A few years back there was a proposal to digitalize the process of issuing a degree that students are given at the end of their respective courses. The idea was stalled because of opposition from most of the senior faculty members as they believed that students won’t value their degree if given to them so easily. In other words they wanted students to run from pillar to post to obtain their degree so that they value it. But in reality students end up getting exploited by the corrupt staff and faculty members in a bid to get their documents before leaving the university. With such educational system in place students are helpless to seek admission in hostile places outside Kashmir. Unless there are no major investments in the education sector in Kashmir there won’t be much change on ground. But to make such efforts successful KU has to shed its elitist approach towards education which is everybody’s right.

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