KU at your doorstep

Kashmir University’s north and south campuses are growing and thriving

Showkat Shafi
Publish Date: Aug 15 2011 12:00PM

State Finance Commission recently brought out a report about the scenario of higher education system in the valley which included besides other  things the  report on satellite campuses of the Kashmir University. When the Commission drafted the report, perhaps,  neither the South nor the North Campus was in operation. In this connection, it was felt necessary to apprise the public about the two satellite campuses of the University and the way KU has raised the infrastructure at these campuses.
 The work for the establishment of South Campus started in 2005 when the land measuring 354 kanals was allotted at Highground, Fatehgarh, Anantnag to the university by the State Government. Soon after the allotment of land, the construction work at the campus was started by the university. In just 3 years and in spite of various impediments along the way University  created necessary infrastructure at the campus and was accordingly launched in October, 2008 initially with two courses  that were running in the PG centre, Anantnag. Later on, four more PG. programs were launched at the campus.
 South Campus, which was formally launched in 2008 has achieved a phenomenal growth in just two and a half year in spite of disturbed conditions in the past three years. In just two years, there has been  three fold increase in the number of courses offered at the campus. Initially two courses, M.A. English and MA/MSc Mathematics were started. Subsequently during the next two years four more courses namely MBA, MCA, M.Ed and MA Education were launched, bringing the total number of courses being offered at the campus to six. The total number of students enrolled in different programs have gone up from 130 in 2008 to around 475 students,which is more than three fold increase in the enrollment of students.
 We are fully aware about the spirit of launching South Campus and accordingly a Vision Document has been prepared for the campus which outlines our ‘Mission-2025’by  which time we plan to transform the campus into a full-fledged Mini-University, with major focus on professional and job-oriented courses under four phases. The first phase which started from 2005 has been completed and during this phase six courses, MBA, MCA, MA/MSc, Mathematics, MA English, MA Education and  MEd were launched.
 In the Second Phase (2011-2015), in all seven seven new job-oriented courses would be launched which include M COM, MA in Convergent Journalism, MSc in Bio-Technology, 5- Year Integrated Masters Program in Advanced Medical Lab Technology, BEd, 5-Year Integrated Masters Program in Corporate Law,  BBA, LLB and MA Business Economics. Our target is to launch at least one new course each year during the next fifteen years. To ensure necessary infrastructure for the new courses to be launched during the next phases, we are in the process of staring the construction work of Auditorium-cum-Central Library & Education Block involving a total cost of Rs 9 Crore which we expect to complete in one and half year. To realize the vision-2025, we will require additional land which has already been taken-up with the government  hoping to materialize in due course of time.
 To supplement the limited seating capacity for Post-graduate studies, University of Kashmir adopted a three pronged strategy. One, to increase the seating capacity in the Main Campus by enhancing the intake for different courses and by launching new and innovative courses. Second,  to allow some selected colleges of Kashmir region to start PG Programmes and third to establish Satellite Campuses at ideally located places of Kashmir Division with twin objectives to supplement the limited seating capacity for various courses offered at the main campus and to create infrastructure for Post-Graduate Studies at other places of strategic importance.
 Regarding our North Campus of the University of Kashmir commissioned only one year before in December 2009 when MCA course was shifted from PG Centre at Government Degree College Baramulla to the North Campus. North Campus has been designed to provide access to higher education to the aspiring students from North Kashmir including Districts of Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, some areas of Budgam and especially the rural catchment areas.
 The report by the State Finance Commission seems submitted two or three years earlier when MCA course was run at PG Centre at Government Degree College Baramulla. However, to give impetus to higher education, B-tech course was launched and other professional courses namely 5-year Integrated MBA, PG in Tourism, PG Diploma in Conventional Energy etc already stand approved. The Campus also provides a connecting point to facilitate the filling of exam forms, applications and conduct of exams for students appearing in various under-graduate and post-graduate examinations conducted by the University of Kashmir. Besides, gradually more courses traditional as well as professional courses will be introduced once the infrastructure is developed and faculty positions are created. Presently the North Campus is located on a ridge top at Delina, Baramulla. 
The premier assessment and accreditation institution NAAC  which visited  both the campuses recently was  more than happy  the way these satellite  campuses have grown over the years. Kashmir university is on the path of academic  excellence and the expansion   concept  of satellite campuses has to be there,  given the fact that we are  not able to enroll  even 20 per cent of the students who  apply every year for our various programmes. We expect  the society and the media at large to be part of our sincere efforts  aimed at benefiting our student community. New programmes  including the course in engineering which are to come up can be boon for our student community.  We at KU envision  future expansion so that the north and south  campuses  can become  full-fledged universities  within 15-20 years time from now. This is not a mission impossible. And,  Together we can do it .

*(A former faculty MERC KU, the author is presently Astt DSW and PRO KU. He can be mailed at showketshfi@gmail.com 

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