Undoubtedly, the State of Jammu and Kashmir traditionally has gained a pedestal of above the average level in the field of education as compared to many states of India while at the same time, making a comparative analysis with those states which have been leaving an imprint in areas of standard of education imparted, we have to go a long way. More so, when it is the question of higher education.In other words, our State is in need of reforms and innovation in the education system, especially in the sector of higher education.
There are areas in even higher education where new concepts and programmes are required to be evolved in tune with the requirements from time to time in addition to creating of common and uniform facilities for those undergoing courses in higher education and also for those from the faculty of varied hues. This all is required without impinging upon the autonomy of other institutions of higher education. To cater to these main issues and address ancillary matters, establishing of Higher Education Council is paramount.
Like most of the states, Jammu and Kashmir needed such a Council and for the establishing of which, the State Assembly gave its approval in February this year. However, even after more than four months of the Legislature’s approval, the State Government has failed to issue any notification towards this end for reasons unknown. At the outset, like this a deficiency in the zeal of the Government and less of the requisite seriousness is tantamount to creating hurdles in ensuring comprehensive and holistic evolution of the sector of higher education in the State. Besides, such an approach could land at showing scant regard for the Legislature.
Through these columns, we have repeatedly been drawing attention of the Government authorities towards the dearth and privation of co-ordination between various departments that have mutually to decide upon a pressing issue as also utter deficiency of communication and information between Government departments as regards what was going around and in particular even within the individual departments too. The blend of both these lacunae, perhaps, speaks for the said objective not having been achieved so far.
The Higher Education Council is an expert group that renders advice to the Government, universities and other institutions in respect of the field of Higher Education in the State and to coordinate their roles. The Council provides necessary inputs and information to the State in formulation of education policies and programmes and how best could they be implemented.
There is a conservative outlook about research and innovations in the field of higher education and the State Council undertakes independent research for the promotion of new ideas and subjects for research and excellence in education. Pilot projects are proposed and initiated on an experimental basis . The most important function and responsibility of the Council is Human Resources Development planning for the State and host of allied duties and functions. Perhaps knowing all these prime requirements led to the enthusiasm to go in for the establishment of Higher Education Council in the State but the initial tempo and gustoes fizzled away soon.
The crux of the entire issue is to have a serious relook into the entire subject and the dire need of the Department of Higher Education and the Finance Department to work in close cooperation, sort out points of disagreement and evolve a consensus towards the desired end of the much needed Higher Education Council getting established and functional at an early date. The General Administration Department could play a cementing role in ironing out areas of disagreement and dissimilitude between the two main departments handling the issue under reference.