Senior state government officials have held closed-door meetings with Kashmiri students in Pune, Aligarh, Delhi, Jaipur, who had returned to Valley due to harassment of some of their colleagues in different states, in the wake of Pulwama attack in February.
The three-member team of officials will interact with Kashmiri students in Chandigarh, Dehradun and several other cities in the coming days.
The team headed by Talat Parvez, secretary higher education department, was in Bhopal recently.
“Students informed us about their needs, problems and the challenges they face while studying in colleges outside J&K. We want to ensure they are ready to be inducted for jobs and opportunities are available for them once they return home,” Parvez told Greater Kashmir.
He said the students have moved on and were looking forward to their studies.
Parvez said the state government was also open to working with skill universities and colleges offering IT courses as there was a significant demand for such job-oriented courses.
“There can be an MoU or similar agreements under which students from J&K can get trained outside and be better job-ready,” he added.
Last month, ministry of Home affairs issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories asking them to ensure the safety of J&K residents in their respective jurisdictions.
A similar advisory notice was issued by the home ministry on February 16, after taking cognisance of intimidation and harassment of Kashmiri students in several parts of the country.
Sarmad Hafeez, secretary youth and sports department, who is also part of the visiting team, said several NGOs working for well-being of Kashmiri students in states such as Maharashtra are doing “appreciable work” for their safety in Pune and Mumbai that have the highest number of Kashmiri students in various educational institutions.
“It is quite heartening that these students have made self-help groups and have created a database of students from the Valley studying in these cities. Our initiative to reach out to them was to ensure their well-being and at the same time create a platform for their growth and development,” said Hafeez.
The officials said during their interactions with the three-member panel, Kashmiri students demanded setting up of colleges and universities, like those operating in other cities across the country, in Jammu and Kashmir. They also sought specialised courses like biomedical engineering, physiotherapy, nursing and allied medical courses in these colleges.
The officials said purpose of their visit outside was also that Jammu and Kashmir’s education department plans to work towards improving awareness about the Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) among students. “This is a scholarship offered to students of J&K domicile after Class XII and it gives them a chance to pursue all kinds of courses as part of their higher education. Annually, 5,000 scholarships are given to students and the amount covers the tuition fees, mess charges, book costs and other expenses incurred by the students,” said Parvez.