Asking institutes of higher learning to foster an environment that prepares our human resource better for bigger challenges ahead, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Friday stated that today’s students need far more knowledge and skill to compete and thrive at the cutting edge level. He reiterated the need to link education with employment and asked universities to take a lead in ‘student ownership’, which goes beyond mere symbolism of handing out degree certificates. “We cannot afford to look the other way when it comes to finding the right kind of jobs for our youth. Universities are now required to get involved in not only imparting quality education but ensuring that education pays students dividends in the form of highly-remunerative jobs,” he said while stressing on campus placements which offer attractive jobs to our youth. The Chief Minister made these observations while addressing faculty members of the University of Jammu, after inaugurating the Administrative-cum-Academic Block of the Directorate of Sports & Physical Education of the university, here today. Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Kumar Singh, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, Minister for IT, YS&S and Technical Education, Imran Raza Ansari and Advisor to the Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo were also present on the occasion. Favouring greater financial autonomy to the universities, Mufti Sayeed said the education system has experienced important changes in recent past that have brought about a tactical shift in how the universities function. He said the restructuring of the higher education system will help transform our cluster of colleges into full-fledged universities. “There is no dearth of funds to promote education, but getting the desired results will require the universities to ‘travel that extra mile’ which will make a huge difference in shaping our youth’s future in terms of securing jobs,” he observed. Calling for dovetailing the architecture of the education system with new interventions like RUSA (Rashtriya Uchatar Shiksha Abhiyan), the Chief Minister said the corpus of funds earmarked under this Centrally-sponsored scheme must be optimally and efficiently utilized to obtain the goal of excellence in higher education. Three CSSs namely SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) and RUSA are being implemented by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) for strengthening the education sector in the country. Referring to the typical geographical characteristics of J&K, the Chief Minister said this is the only state with two capital cities, which is why we tend to benefit from this peculiarity by demanding similar facilities in healthcare, education and other sectors. He illustrated this by referring to the Centre’s nod to grant us AIIMS and Central universities, one each in Jammu and Kashmir divisions. Describing RMSA and SSA as critical interventions in elementary and secondary education, Mufti Sayeed said that 50 per cent funds allocated under CSSs account for these two schemes in the state. This, he said indicates the kind of priority both State and the Central government give to the education sector. Calling for concerted efforts to broaden the scope of educational activities in satellite campuses of state’s premier universities, the Chief Minister highlighted the need for introduction of market-driven courses that enhance the employability of students. He referred to his recent visit to JU’s Bhaderwah Campus where, he said the number of students was fairly low as compared to the infrastructure that had been created. “We need to make our offsite campuses vibrant centres of learning so that they produce human resource which is market-ready,” he added. Referring to the National Skill Development Mission which aims to provide a strong institutional framework for implementation of skilling activities, Mufti Sayeed, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of the Jammu University, called upon the Vice Chancellor to establish a School of Skill Development which enhances possibilities of employability and inculcates genes of entrepreneurship among our youth. “With the kind of boom our health and education sectors are going to receive in future, we need skilled human resource to augment our infrastructure,” the Chief Minister said while referring to two new AIIMS and five new medical colleges that are going to be set up which necessitates establishment of paramedic and nursing institutes in the state. Promising to give a new direction to the promotion of sports and physical education in the state, Mufti Sayeed, exuded confidence that the Rs.200 crore package sanctioned by the Central government will provide fillip to develop the state-of-the-art sports infrastructure which hones the skills of our budding sportsmen. He praised well-known cricketer Pervez Rasool for launching a cricket academy at Bijbehara which will inspire many youth to take up sports as a professional career. “With this objective in mind, we have made DCs the chairmen of the District Sports Councils so that they promote sporting activities in a coordinated manner,” he added. Constructed at a cost of Rs.2.67 crore, the new administrative-cum-academic block will further promote sporting activities in the university. It will have facilities of classrooms, libraries as well as conference halls. Earlier, JU VC, Prof. R. D. Sharma, gave an overview of the academic, research and sporting activities of the University through a powerpoint presentation. Also present on the occasion were Secretary to Chief Minister, M. H. Malik, Registrar JU, Prof. Keshav Sharma and Director, Physical Education and Sports, JU, Prof. Dhan S. Bhau.
2015 Kashmir Despatch