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Technical Education Crisis Grips Jammu and Kashmir: 69% Youth grappling with limited avenues

 Technical Education Crisis Grips Jammu and Kashmir: 69% Youth grappling with limited avenues

Ali Asad

Srinagar, Apr 02 (KNO): As the political landscape gears up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the spotlight in Jammu and Kashmir shifts towards a critical issue: the dearth of technical education infrastructure and opportunities. With a staggering 69% of the youth population grappling with limited avenues for higher education and employment, the electoral discourse is poised to revolve around addressing this pressing concern.

According to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), despite 76 years of independence, the state has witnessed scant progress in higher education, particularly in the realm of technical and professional courses. Thousands of aspiring youth are compelled to seek educational opportunities beyond the state's borders, migrating to different parts of the country in pursuit of their academic and career aspirations. Many rely on scholarships sponsored by the central government and armed forces to pursue higher education.

In stark contrast to other states, Jammu and Kashmir lacks a robust technical university or a curriculum conducive to fostering confidence among youth for employment prospects. As the youth constituency, alongside women voters, emerges as a significant electoral force, the demand for representatives advocating a comprehensive roadmap for education and employment gains traction.

The higher education landscape in Jammu and Kashmir paints a sobering picture, with ten universities and 145 government colleges scattered across the union territory. While institutions like IIT, IIM, and IIMC offer a glimmer of hope, the shortage of government engineering and technical colleges, schools of architecture, and nursing colleges remains glaring.

Recognizing the urgency of addressing this educational deficit, the Central Government initiated scholarship schemes in 2011 to support aspiring youth in pursuing technical education. Despite these efforts, the disparity persists, prompting many students to seek educational opportunities outside Jammu and Kashmir through schemes like the Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) and the Jammu and Kashmir Special Scholarship Scheme (JKSSS).

The expansion of prestigious educational institutions like IIT, IIM, IIMC, and NIT within Jammu and Kashmir has provided a ray of hope for local youth, offering them access to quality higher education within their home state. However, the reality remains stark for students in districts beyond Jammu and Srinagar, where the dearth of technical and nursing colleges persists unabated.

In a state grappling with limited infrastructure and employment opportunities, the plight of engineering colleges reflects the broader educational crisis. Despite the existence of six engineering colleges, both government and private, with a combined total of 2,102 seats, the lack of prestigious rankings, inadequate infrastructure, and dismal placement prospects deter students from pursuing engineering within the state. Amid such crises in the offing, the question remains whether the electoral discourse is poised to revolve around addressing this pressing concern or those at the helm would play the proverbial ostrich—(KNO)

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