In 21st century, Valley without Govt Engineering College
No Headway In Upgrading KGP; Aspirants Cry ‘Denial’ Of Technical Education
MATTER OF CONCERN
Srinagar, May 22: The Jammu and Kashmir Government is not making any efforts to establish a much-needed engineering college in government sector in the Valley, puncturing its oft-repeated claims of being committed to provide technical education to the youth in the wake of rising graph of unemployment in the state. And this is notwithstanding the repeated pleas from the Valley-based aspirants that the thinning of Kashmiri students at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar calls for a government engineering college in the Valley.
While the state government is beating the drum of “equitable development of all regions”, the Valley sans the Government Engineering College since the Regional Engineering College in Srinagar was converted to NIT years back. Since then, the government has not made any attempt to establish an engineering college in the Valley and allow the aspirants to pursue technical and job-oriented courses. Jammu, pertinently, has a government engineering college.
Given the official figures, there are hardly 25 percent Kashmiri students in the NIT Srinagar right now. “Not many Kashmiris candidates find a place here, though they could easily make an entry into the Regional Engineering College. This is because the students have to now undergo a rigorous All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE). Though some candidates qualify it, but given the number of participants, it becomes difficult for them to get through. Lakhs of candidates appear in the AIEEE annually,” said a senior NIT official, insisting not to be named. “It is not that the Kashmiri aspirants are not competent enough to qualify it. The only problem is the limited intake capacity in the NIT Srinagar and the overall number of participants.”
THE KGP PROPOSAL
According to officials, a proposal to covert the Kashmir Government Polytechnic (KGP) at Gogjibagh here into the Government Engineering College was mooted in 2004-05. “The proposal was conceived in 2004 initially and submitted to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Kashmir University and the concerned department for further necessary action. That time it was proposed that the KGP and Jammu Government Polytechnic shall be converted to Engineering Colleges offering degrees in Information Technology and other computer science-related branches. But somehow it couldn’t click,” said Syed Taha Andrabi, Joint Director in the State Technical Education Department, when asked if there is any proposal with regard to establishing a government engineering college in the Valley.
Afterwards, Andrabi said, in 2008-2009, a fresh proposal was made on the issue. “This time it was decided that the two polytechnic colleges shall offer degrees in the core branches of engineering like Civil, Mechanical, Automobile, Electrical, Electronics and Communication etc. It was also proposed that the diploma courses shall remain intact at the polytechnic colleges,” Andrabi told Greater Kashmir. But the proposal is yet to see the light of the day for unknown reasons.
According to sources, one of the major impediments in way of the proposal is the ‘dual control’ on technical education in the state. In a ‘weird situation’ of its kind, the Technical Education Department is controlling the Polytechnic Colleges and ITIs in the state while the Government Engineering College is controlled by the Higher Education Department.
The Technical Education Department lost control over the Government Engineering College on 17-03-2008 vide order No 322 GAD of 2008.
“Normally in all the states both engineering colleges and polytechnics are controlled by the Technical Education Department. But here it is completely different. Since KGP is under the Technical Education Department, its conversion into an Engineering College seems to be becoming a bone of contention as the latter has to be taken care by the Higher Education Department then,” the sources said.
In a suggestion, a civil engineer, Zubair Ahmad, said the state government is opening up 18 more polytechnics in addition to eight in existence, for which central funds, creation of posts, acquisition of land is almost complete.
“So in the present scenario, it is better if the diploma courses are stopped at the KGP and the College is upgraded to the level of Government Engineering College. The degree programmes in core branches of Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Electronics and Computer Engineering can be started in the first instance,” he said, adding that “No major financial implications are to be incurred by the state government in upgrading the KGP. That is because the present infrastructure there by way of space, buildings, qualified teaching faculty, laboratories, libraries and other resources available in the core branches is more than sufficient to run a full-fledged Government Engineering College.
He said: “The faculty at the KGP is well qualified. Almost 90 percent of them are M.Tech. The college has better resources than any other engineering institution in the state. It is just a formal political announcement that needs to be made. This would fulfill the long cherished dream of the non-medical students in the Valley.”
In absence of Government Engineering College, the non-medical students of Valley are forced to go outside the state for degrees. “For the past few years, degree in engineering is being offered at the Islamic University and Kashmir University as well. But they do not offer the degree courses in the core branches of engineering. We are thus depriving hundreds of aspirants to pursue technical education in the braches which have high employability potential,” Ahmad said. “The opening of private engineering colleges in the state is a welcome step, but to maintain the academic standards the establishment of at least two Government Engineering Colleges (GECs) in the Valley is need of the hour. And to begin with, it is important to convert KGP to the GEC.”
It is understood that 30 percent of diploma holders from Polytechnic Colleges in the Valley move out for higher studies.
Official figures put the figure of unemployed youth in the state at over 4 lakh.
According to aspirants, high fee and limited capacity hamper them from taking admission in private engineering institutions. “Everyone in Kashmir is not a rich person who can afford admission in a private college. There are people in rural areas who prefer to study in government colleges. It is the responsibility of the state to look into their aspirations and offer them the education they desire,” said an engineering student
WHAT THE NORMS SAY
There are eight polytechnics in Kashmir division at the moment. As per national norms, an official said, “Kashmir should have two engineering colleges given the ratio of 1:3 (1 Engineering College for three polytechnics. We have four polytechnics in government sector and four in private. And nine more are coming up in Kashmir division, including Leh and Kargil. We will then have 17 polytechnics in Kashmir division. So we must have over five engineering colleges to offer degrees in the division. But unfortunately we don’t have any.”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 May 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 May 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 May 2011 00:00:00 IST
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