Asserting that quality of human resource will determine empowerment of nations in future, Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Tuesday outlined the importance of excellence in education "so that our youth get accustomed to modern methods of teaching to cope with greater challenges ahead in the field of academics."
He said technology has "shrunk world into a global village where competition is becoming tougher by the day. I wanted to become a doctor but for the fact that science stream was not available in this school, I could not pursue my dream," he said, after returning to his alma mater to inaugurate Boys Higher Secondary School Bijbehara as a Model School.
The Chief Minister was addressing gatherings after inaugurating three higher secondary schools as Model Schools at Bijbehara, Ranibagh and Brakpore, in Anantnag district, where he was given rousing reception by students and teachers alike, an official spokesman said.
While J&K Bank has taken up Bijbehara and Ranibagh schools under CSR, the school at Brakpore has been adopted by the Chief Minister under his CDF.
Besides Member Parliament, Mehbooba Mufti, Minister for Horticulture, Haj & Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari, MP, Nazir Ahmad Laway, Legislators, Farooq Andrabi, Abdul Rahim Rather, Dr. Bashir Ahmad Veeri and Altaf Kaloo, former MLAs, Rafi Mir and Sartaj Madni, VC Wakf Board, Peer Muhammad Hussain, PDP South Kashmir Coordinator, Mufti Sajad and PDP Chief Spokesperson Dr. Mehboob Beg accompanied the Chief Minister.
Placing high priority on upgrading Government schools into institutes of excellence, Mufti said "the talent of our youth needs to be channelized properly so as to prepare them for the world of cut throat competition."
"The world is becoming smaller and the competition getting tougher. We can't afford to lag behind," he said, and asked students to seek inspiration from sons of soil like Pervez Rasool, the famous cricketer.
Laying stress on honing soft skills of students, the Chief Minister asked the teaching fraternity to "encourage spoken English as a universal mode of conversation, which will be a premium to the curriculum vitae of students when they complete studies and venture for jobs in the ever-expanding market."
"Our students are very intelligent and have the right attitude to adapt to new methods of teaching," he added.
Mufti also laid emphasis on building capacities of teachers so that they are better equipped to impart quality education to their students. He said he won't stop at upgrading a few schools but stress on going horizontal so that all schools are gradually brought under the ambit of the Model School Scheme.
"Well begun is half done," he said, while calling for efforts from civil society to lay special focus on education of girl child.
In her address, Mehbooba Mufti, said the government has put focus back on education to achieve excellence, which was lost when the state faced turbulent times in the last two-and-a-half decades. She urged the teaching fraternity to contribute wholeheartedly in improving standards of education so that students also get a level-playing field. "Together we will write new chapters in the education sector," she said, stressing on promotion of Kashmiri language as a compulsory part of school curricula.
The Chief Minister went around the premises of all these model schools and sat through demo sessions in Smart Classrooms, besides inspecting the upgraded computer labs, laced with modern tools of education.
On the instructions of the Chief Minister, School Education Department has started the process of upgrading government schools as Model Schools at a cost of Rs. 16 crore this financial year. With new tools of learning at their disposal, the Model Schools are set to facilitate continuous evaluation process of students through the mode of e-learning, the spokesman said.
Later, the Chief Minister, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of University of Kashmir, visited the South Campus of the University at High Ground and took a review of skill development institutes. He also inspected the building earmarked for establishing the Nursing College there.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr. Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi, briefed the Chief Minister about various ongoing projects in the South Campus of the university.
The Chief Minister also visited Islamia Hanfia School at Anantnag and called upon the VC Wakf Board to upgrade it on the pattern of Model School Scheme.