The declining education system needs to be tackled with targeted measures to economically and ideologically transform the Valley
The deteriorating education environment and the detrimental influence of widespread violence and conflict intensified the socio-psychological trauma among the people and ruined the lives of thousands of students.Subsequently, Pakistan-backed separatists and regional political leaders planted their people to intensify the feeling of separatism in the students from the primary to the university level. Rampant favouritism and illegal appointments made educational institutions a hub of separatism, inculcating an “anti-state” sentiment among the youth. The overall education suffered as these planted faculty resorted to corruption to fill vacant academic positions. The deteriorating education environment and the detrimental influence of widespread violence and conflict intensified the socio-psychological trauma among the people and ruined the lives of thousands of students. Sadly, despite the abrogation of Article 370, nothing has changed thisdisturbing status quo. In April 2022, KU’s social sciences dean was assaulted by the head of the political science department with the help of his nephew, and both exchanged nasty abuses in front of students. This shameful incident within the university campus exposed the power struggle within the academic hierarchy. However, instead of intervening to resolve the issue, the university administration opted for an incomprehensible solutionappointing a botany professor as the Dean of Social Sciences. In another shocking incident, two college professors, including a principal, were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau while accepting a bribe of INR 60,000 in February this year. Many professors and administrators in the higher education system are hand-in-glove with the secessionist ideology and embezzlement of funds, compromising national aspirations. Teachers are only interested in fat salaries, with little regard for academics and teaching. The apathetic attitude of teachers was laid bare when, despite getting extra money to take supplementary sessions during evening classes, started by the administration to increase students’ intake, the teachers never taught in the second session. Either teachers taught sessions jointly or asked their brighter students to deliver lectures.
Protests by the UT’s educated youth against unfair selection processes and tainted recruitment firms have become a routine affair.As a result, the curriculum taught in the region is neither nationalistic nor market-driven, negating the basic premise of education. Rampant corruption and centrifugal tendencies have allocated jobs to unsuitable and inept persons, suppressing talent with the potential for socio-economic development and increasing the UT’s unemployment rate. Protests by the UT’s educated youth against unfair selection processes and tainted recruitment firms have become a routine affair. In October 2022, the region’s unemployment rate touched 22.2 percent, the highest in India, refuting the Government of India’s claim on the floor of Lok Sabha that unemployment has declined. The corruption and favouritism in educational institutions have downgraded society to the extent that most government jobs are sold. Currently, the CBI is investigating irregularities in the selection process of the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board, the state’s premier recruitment for all government and parastatal jobs. The UT administration has also set up a committee to probe the alleged 2,274 illegal Health and Medical Education department appointments. Despite the erosion of the region’s premier education institutions, the UT administration has remained a silent spectator, playing with the future of the students.
The declining education environment needs to be tackled with targeted measures to economically and ideologically transform the conflict-driven society towards greater integration and assimilation with the Union of India.For the smooth implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, New Delhi should start brainstorming sessions for bureaucrats and other stakeholders to chart a roadmap for its time-bound and smooth implementation. Experts from the panel who formulated the NEP should be invited for expert lectures. The teachers at the primary and secondary levels of education need familiarisation with NEP 2020. For this purpose, the UT administration should start faculty and student exchange programmes with reputed institutions across India. The selection of the teachers for such exchange programmes can be made at the zonal level on merit. This will bring the region’s conflict-hit education to par with national institutions, and teachers will get national exposure. Universities and college curricula need serious interlocution to promote employability and national integration. The curriculum should be at par with other national universities enabling students to compete nationally for jobs. As the education sector needs integrated academic management solutions, New Delhi should send a team of experts from the industry and corporate sectors to revise the region’s conflict-hit educational policy. The LG, being the chancellor of all the UT’s universities, should probe the wrongdoings in the universities and colleges to showcase the administration’s tough anti-corruption stance. The UT administration will have to act with urgency to restore education quality, foster ideological orientation and promote national integration and values among the region’s youth.
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Ayjaz Wani (Phd) is a Fellow in the Strategic Studies Programme at ORF. Based out of Mumbai, he tracks China’s relations with Central Asia, Pakistan and ...Read More +