New Delhi: With an eye to battle militancy by bringing young people into the mainstream, the central government is set to announce a number of higher education measures for Jammu and Kashmir, apart from the opening of several colleges in the state.
This follows meetings that a delegation of students and academicians held with central government authorities including human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, minority affairs minister Salman Khursheed and University Grants Commission (UGC) officials a month ago. They had sought measures to improve the education system in the militancy-affected state.
HRD minister Kapil Sibal. File photo
Following the meetings, the central government has released Rs 42 crore to Kashmir University and will give another Rs 43 crore shortly, said Kashmir University vice-chancellor Talat Ahmed. Ramesh is scheduled to visit the state in the third week of December.
The government has also decided to open a model college in every district of the state during the 12th Five-Year Plan, which starts April 2012.
“We understand the concern of the state and have already released some funds to Kashmir University,” UGC chairman Ved Prakash said. “We believe in equity and access to quality education in Jammu and Kashmir and, hence, have plans to open pace-setting model colleges in every district there.”
The model colleges will have modern facilities and infrastructure that can be shared by other institutions nearby for collective growth, he said.
The Union government may also draw up a special package of Rs 350 crore for the state university during the 12th Plan period, according to a senior official in the HRD ministry. The demand had come from the university and the government is looking at it favourably, this person said.
The home ministry recently announced vocational training and subsequent employment to 40,000 Jammu and Kashmir youths over five years through a special project called Udaan.
While the private sector will be participating in the Udaan project, the home ministry last week held a meeting with a group of leading public sector undertakings to urge the firms to recruit people from the state.
“If you improve the education landscape, it will lessen the impact of militancy. I have a lot of hope and also see the central government cooperating in it,” Ahmed said. His university covers about 120 colleges and at least 150,000 students.
“I think the situation is very normal now,” said Umran Mufeed, an MBA student who was part of the delegation that met authorities in Delhi. “If industry comes, then the economy will improve and it will do a lot of good to the state and its people.”
He said the central government authorities are interested in pursuing the programmes. The delegation also met Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
The Union government announced scholarships for at least 5,000 students from the valley pursuing higher education outside the state. It has also expressed its willingness to help set up an engineering college.