Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The B.Ed Money Machine

The reason that the University of Kashmir is turning a blind eye to educational exploitation in Kashmir is because most students in B. Ed colleges are non-locals

Education Remains Casualty Amid Mushrooming of B.Ed Colleges

Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil (Kashmir Images)

Srinagar: Mushrooming of private B.Ed colleges in Kashmir notwithstanding, quality education continues to remain a distant dream even though these colleges are earning huge sums to the owners.

In Kashmir Valley alone, 65 colleges are functioning in private sector and number is likely to go up as experts say these institutes are enjoying patronage of Kashmir University authorities.

Alleging Kashmir University authorities of favoritism in according affiliation of B.Ed colleges, noted educationist Prof. A G Madhoosh told ‘Kashmir Images’ over phone that these colleges do a business of over Rs 450 crores annually, regretting that despite this, there is no worthwhile educational policy for these private B.Ed colleges.

Earlier the role of Kashmir University was confined to that of an evaluator but now it has become part of this business, and extricates huge sums of money from these B.Ed institutions, Prof. Madhoosh said.

He says this has seriously effected the effectiveness of the university as a controlling authority. “When you become part of the business then you cannot question the credibility of these institutions.”

He feels if the monitoring mechanism is strengthened by the government, it will automatically result in quality education.

Most of the students who enroll in private B.Ed colleges in Kashmir come from various north Indian states including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab et al. But now the Rajasthan government too has given green signal to setting up of some 8000 colleges of the education in the private sector there, which means not many students from other states will be coming to study here now.

And consequently, it also means that the private B.Ed colleges in the Valley will now have more local students than outsiders.

Prof. Madhosh says that despite the mushrooming of B.Ed colleges, there is no quality control as far as students’ merit is considered. Just having a B.A degree and after paying hefty amount of around Rs 50,000, anyone can seek and get admission in the course.

“The process of enrolment does not guarantee that those who are admitted can cope with the academic expectations,” says Prof. Madhosh, who also pints out that the lax rules governing these colleges have also ensured that huge amount of unaccounted wealth goes into the hands of few people who own these colleges.

He further alleged that the training imparted to the aspiring teachers in these institutes can also be questioned.

Given that the bulk of the students would come from Hindi-speaking belts of India, Prof. Madhosh informs that the whole syllabi are framed in Hindi while the majority of staff constitutes of Kashmiris who do not have much qualification to teach and train in Hindi language.”

He says it is ridiculous to have teachers lecturing in Hindi language when they themselves don’t know the language properly.

Another flaw is that most of these colleges run in residential houses that do not have proper infrastructure while in many cases the colleges even lack professional teachers as well, which obviously effects the quality of education.

The students of these colleges are also unsatisfied with the running of these institutes. Students allege that college owners are not doing much to overcome administrative and academic problems.

However, Dean Colleges, Nissar Ahmed Shah when asked about this, denied the allegations saying the private B.Ed colleges in Kashmir have “world class infrastructure and as the faculty is appointed by us, so there is no question of any compromise with the quality of education.”

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