Higher Education in JK set to achieve new heights; Infra up-gradation in full pace

Ministers ask institution heads to engage with students; Know their problems, issues

JAMMU : The Jammu and Kashmir government has taken up development of infrastructure for new and existing higher education institutions at a massive scale so that students   get the desired benefits at the earliest.

The development of campuses for new degree colleges, national level institutions and upgrading of infrastructure of existing ones has been taken up under wide range of schemes and special funds provided under the Prime Minister Development Package(PMDP). This was stated by Minister for Education Syed Mohammed Altaf Bukhari while reviewing the academic and development activities here today at a high level meeting.

He said that Government firmly believes that no institution can achieve excellence without having standard infrastructure and faculty. “Running classes is no achievement until we don’t have infrastructure and faculty as per standard norms” he asserted asking the department to put in extra efforts to achieve the development targets.

Minister of state for Education, Priya Sethi was also present in the meeting which was attended by Jammu University Vice Chancellor, Dr R D Sharma, VC Central University Jammu, Prof Ashok Aima, VC Cluster University Jammu, Anju Bhasin, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education, Asgar Ali Samoon, Senior faculty members of the three varsities, heads of various colleges of Jammu province, officials of R&B, JKPCC and other construction agencies.

Laying stress on academic activities, the Minister asked heads of institutions, especially Principals of colleges to engage with students to understand their problems and issues. “The first contact of students is college principal. You have to establish a close relation with them and know their problems and clear their doubts,” the Minister told the college heads. He asked the college heads to engage students by holding frequent interactions and provide them enabling environment for studies and other productive activities.

The Minister also stressed on minimizing outside interference in the educational institutions to keep inimical elements away from the academic environment.

Citing incidents of student protests in Kashmir, the Minister appreciated the role of the heads of maximum colleges in the valley who did not let the situation go out of hand.  He said such a role from a college head is highly appreciable. “For facing such challenges and uphold the sanctity of education, the college heads have to own the students and the institution” he asserted.

The Minister also stressed on solving the issues of college faculty members including their promotion avenues. He asked the Higher Education department to come up with a comprehensive proposal before Darbar move mentioning steps for solution of all outstanding issues of college and university faculty members.

The Minister also ordered for organizing youth festivals to provide college students, drawn from different regions, a platform to share their views and experiences.

Minister of State for Education Priya Sethi suggested for having regular counseling sessions for students in all colleges. “This will help students to decide the road map for their future,  choose and strive for the field of their interest earnestly as also prevent them from falling prey to the disruptive elements,” she maintained.   She also stressed on exploring the possibility of having bio-metric attendance of students to keep check on the unwanted elements who may enter the campus in the garb of students.

The Ministers also issued certain direction with regard to the regulation of academic activities in higher education institutions including private colleges.

Stressing on maintaining high standards of education, Altaf Bukhari asked JU to conduct the admissions for private B.Ed colleges through its own setup. He said this is necessary to maintain and streamline the functioning of these institutions.

Earlier, Commissioner Secretary gave a power point presentation on the physical and financial achievements of the department under different schemes and funds sanctioned for development of infrastructure for newly approved institutions for J&K.

He said the state has presently nine government / private universities and 96 Government degree colleges with an enrolment of over 1.40 lakh and 208 private colleges including 151 B,Ed colleges, 10 law colleges, 1 craft institute and 5 Engineering Colleges.

The commissioner secretary also said that there are 2620 faculty in the government colleges including   principals, Associate/ professors, Physical Training Instructors and Librarian. He also informed that the department has referred various categories of posts to recruitment agencies for filling the vacancies in the government colleges and other higher education institution.

Regarding infrastructure, It was informed that 65 GDCs are functional in own campuses, while buildings for 23 others are under construction of which 16 are expected to be completed this year (2017-18) and remaining 7 in next year (2018-19).   It was further informed that proceeding for acquisition of land for 7 Degree colleges   is underway and construction of the same would be taken up very soon, while construction of two more colleges at Bishnah and Hadipura (Baramulla) was halted due to court stays. He also gave details of construction of additional infrastructure in the government colleges including auditorium blocks, classroom blocks laboratory blocks, and other maintenance works. He also said that Rs 50 cr under Prime Minister’s Development Package for permanent restoration of seven flood affected degree colleges in Kashmir Valley.

“Under phase Ist of RUSA state has been sanctioned Rs 269 crore and Rs 124.81 crore has been released by GoI, of which Rs 115.60 cr has been utilized till fiscal 2016-17,” he added.

The Commissioner secretary also gave details about the working of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar and Government College for Engineering & Technology (GCE&T), Jammu besides newly sanctioned institutes like Indian Institute of Management (IIM) at Jammu with out-campus at Srinagar, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jammu, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Srinagar, which will offer integrated 5 year MSc Degree Course from 17-18.

It was informed that 2 new engineering colleges have also been sanctioned for the state. He also gave details of funds for the newly sanctioned institutions provided under PMDP.


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