Secretary to Government, Higher Education Department,J&K
This is in continuation with my previous 'open letter'published in Greater Kashmir, 20th Nov'2017 ("Improving the Higher Education:An Open Letter to the Concerned"), addressed to the then Minister forEducation, J&K (Mr. Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari) and Principal Secretary tothe Government, Higher Education Department [HED], J&K (Dr. Asghar HassanSamoon).
I, in the capacity of a faculty member in HED (and as aresearcher), would like to bring to share some ideas, that might prove helpfulin improving academics, and thus a way forward towards excellence in HED. I hadhighlighted many of these ideas in my previous letter as well, but most ofthese were not given due consideration. I am writing again to the concernedauthorities with the hope that these suggestions will be give seriousconsideration as these ideas are not only constructive but helpful andsignificant in making HED more dynamic and vigorous.
1) That HED,initially, started the journal JK Knowledge Initiative—Higher EducationJournal, and later split it into multiple journals—covering (Physical/ Bio/Computer) Sciences and Social Sciences separately (like JK Research Journal inMathematics and CS, JK Journal of Architecture & Engineering Sciences, JKMusic Initiative, and J and K Higher education Trends) and many dedicated tothe languages like Arabic, English, Hindi/ Dogri/ Punjabi, Kashmiri, Persian,Sanskrit, Urdu (namely Al-Tilmeez, The Fountain Pen, Shabd, Aagahi, Kaavish,Vangamay Gourvam, and Aala Taleem), etc. But the process came to a standstill/cessation. The same needs to be re-started, continued, and sustained withnecessary amendments and changes. Moreover, a strong 'Editorial Board' shouldbe prepared for these journals, comprising reputed Scholars of the respectivesubjects as well as Faculty Members of HED having a strong publication record(which is possible by having their updated CVs/ Academic profiles, especiallyof the years they have been serving in the HED).
2) That'instructions' be given to all College Principals for "celebrating" all theSpecial Days—having educational/ academic significance—like National EducationDay, Science Day, Earth Day, Teachers Day, etc., by organising some speciallectures, symposiums, etc., highlighting the importance and relevance of that'specific' day.
3) That acourse on Reading and Writing Skills be introduced as a must-have component ofcurricula for every stream (preferably in Semester-1), so that they may learnthe proper rules, methods and techniques of reading and writing. This is one ofthe vital, but missing, aspects in the present syllabi.
4) That'Text-Reading' be incorporated/ introduced as an essential component ofcurriculum, for all streams, so that students will be aware of the basic/essential sources of each subject they study. Also, this will inculcate andindoctrinate reading-habits in the students which is presently lacking.
5) That thecollege principals be instructed for organizing Seminars, Conferences,Workshops, Symposiums by various Departments in their respective colleges onregular basis and as a compulsory activity. Though this is a must-have exerciseas per UGC guidelines, but more stress should be laid on them to conduct suchkind of activities on relevant and timely themes in the colleges—which willbenefit both the student and teacher community.
6) That thefaculty members be encouraged to participate not only in conferences and seminarsof national/ international levels, but in other faculty developmental orexchange programs so that they may gain experience and exposure and utilisesame in their respective colleges. But, as 'permission' from the respectedCommissioner/ Secretary is required for participation in the conferencesabroad, so it is very modestly suggested that a speedy/ fast track system/mode, especially online mode, be created exclusively for attaining theapproval/ permission for the same by the HED.
7) That allcollege principals be advised to submit the academic profile of the facultymembers bi-annually (preferably in June and December) so that HED will have anupdated information on the academic performances of the faculty members.Moreover, steps be taken to announce "Best Researcher of the Year" in Science,Social Science, Arts/ Humanities, Commerce, Computer Sciences, etc. among theFaculty members so that they devote a good time for the research as well aswill boost their research potential.
8) Thatinitiative be taken for enriching the libraries and make them not onlystudent-centric but faculty-centric as well, so that faculty members involvedin research may carry on their research smoothly and efficiently. Makinglibraries faculty-centric will eventually help in creating an inspirationalatmosphere among the student community.
Though there are many other ways and methods to improvequality, but these are some of the submissions and I hope that you find themvaluable and constructive for the academic excellence of HED. I am sure youfind these submissions, proposals, and ideas worthy and valuable—and a wayforward to excel more in academics and move some steps further towardsexcellence.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Dr Tauseef Ahmad Parray
Islamic Studies , GDC Pulwama.