The debate to address the failure of the state government and the private players to establish institutions of higher learning in the state has never been taken to its logical conclusion.
The debate gains momentum once some crisis crops up and dies once the crisis is over. Just last month when students studying in outside colleges faced harassment by rightwing goons, hundreds of them fled from these places and rushed back to Kashmir leaving their career in jeopardy.
The debate at that time to have institutions of higher learning in Kashmir valley generated lot of fire, but the moment things started to turn normal and the students left for their colleges once things started improving, the debate died without a whimper.
The situation to improve the educational standards and increase the number of institutions of higher learning, though still holds and we have been ignoring this crucial sector for long.
The private players who could have contributed their bit too seem to have gone into slumber as they too do not move beyond rhetoric and try to work out some proposal in this regard.
The private players may have certain reservations and fears as well, but that does not mean that the education sector is left at the mercy of the government which is least bothered to improve upon the situation.
The governments seriousness in this regard can be judged by the fact that more than 70 percent of degree colleges in Kashmir do not have certification from National Assessment and Accreditation Council or NAAC, which leaves them outside the ambit of funding from the University Grants Commission for holistic development.
Out of 50 colleges in Kashmir division only 14 possess NAAC certification while the process for certification for 23 colleges was at different stages. This argument is simply official jargon to avoid any queries.
A degree college becomes eligible for NAAC accreditation only after it has functioned for five years. This criterion makes 13 degree colleges ineligible for getting the certification as these colleges have not completed five years of their existence.
Interestingly, the NAAC is a UGC-funded autonomous body that assesses and accredits higher education Institutions including Degree Colleges and Universities in India.
NAAC accreditation means a college has met certain standards of excellence across its operations.
Apart from making an educational institution eligible for receiving grants from the union government NAAC accreditation brings their students many benefits as well.
Given this scenario, the private players need to step in collectively and help the society and the student’s community by providing some solutions, that too immediately.
Kashmir is losing on the education sector be it at the primary, middle or higher secondary level, but the way things are shaping up at the higher levels too, one needs to stand up and get things on track.