In the past few years the government of Jammu and Kashmir has undertaken an ambitious initiative to revolutionize the education sector within the region. With the establishment of 50 new colleges and the addition of 25,000 seats, the aim is to provide quality education closer to students' homes, reducing the need for extensive travel. This transformation is not limited to expanding access; it also emphasizes skill-based education and the integration of industry knowledge into the curriculum.
One of the standout achievements in this educational overhaul is the establishment of two colleges of architecture and one engineering college. These institutions are instrumental in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, preparing students for the ever-evolving job market.
The digitization of education services is another milestone. The introduction of online submission for school recognition and affiliation has streamlined administrative processes for over 6,000 private schools, benefiting more than 10.5 lakh students. Additionally, the initiation of Digi Locker to provide easily accessible marks certificates has eased the burden on nearly 4 lakh students annually.
The modernization of teaching methods is evident through the implementation of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions in colleges. These tools enhance the learning experience and administrative efficiency, further promoting the quality of education.
Vocational education has received a significant boost with the establishment of 803 vocational labs. These labs equip students with practical skills, preparing them for diverse career paths.
The Atal Tinkering Labs initiative has brought hands-on learning to schools. These labs nurture innovation and creativity among students.
The Views of students from far flung areas:
Abid Khan, a dedicated student in the 6th semester of Arts at Degree College Boniyar, Jammu and Kashmir, embodies the transformative power of education in his life. Hailing from Tathmula Uri, Abid's journey to education was once filled with daunting challenges, primarily the distance he had to traverse daily to the town of Uri, a considerable trek from his village. However, the winds of change brought by the establishment of Degree College Boniyar in 2020 have ushered in new possibilities for Abid and countless others.
For Abid, this institution's opening was a beacon of hope. It provided him with the opportunity to pursue higher education without having to endure the hardships of long daily commutes. With a glimmer of gratitude in his eyes, he shares, "Opening of College in our vicinity is helping me a lot in pursuing my dreams." Abid Khan's story exemplifies how local educational institutions can empower students by reducing the physical barriers to education.
Waseem Ahmad Khan
Waseem Ahmad Khan, another resilient student in the 6th semester, shares Abid Khan's sentiment. Living in Boniyar, he faced a similar uphill battle in pursuit of higher education, as the nearest options were over 20 kilometers away in Baramulla. The establishment of Degree College Boniyar emerged as a game-changer for Waseem and his fellow residents.
Waseem expresses his gratitude, saying, "A new college in the neighborhood is really helping the students in the tehsil to pursue their education with ease." This institution has not only reduced the distance these students need to travel but has also created an educational ecosystem right at their doorstep, fostering a sense of community and accessible learning.
Success Story: Atal Tinkering lab from Samba
The Atal Tinkering Lab at Govt. Girls Hr. Sec. School Jakh is fostering innovation among students like Bhasker Dubey, a 12th grader who has developed the Smart Dustbin. This innovation incorporates an Ultrasonic sensor and an Arduino Uno to automate waste disposal. Notably, it can be programmed to open for 3 seconds when detecting an object, enhancing efficiency and hygiene. Bhasker's creation promotes sustainability and serves as an inspiring example of youth-driven creativity, showcasing the potential of educational institutions to nurture innovation for a brighter future.
(Author is Educationist, Public speaker and Columnist)