The future we wish

Future Institutes like IISER in Jammu and Kashmir
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during a press conference. [Image for representational purpose only]
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha during a press conference. [Image for representational purpose only] File: Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

BY M. ASHRAF SHAH

An admirer of Shri Manoj Sinha Ji, Hon’ble LG of Jammu and Kashmir for his visionary approach in education sector including re-constitution of the educational council, which has a mandate to offer guidance for a comprehensive and holistic transformation of the education system in tune with NEP 2020, need to set up an agenda for establishing future institutes. The council besides reformations shall also recommend establishing of few premier institutes like IISER and MERUs in J & K, which is needed urgently.

Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) are a group of premier public research institutions, established through the erstwhile Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt of India to provide collegiate education in basic sciences coupled with research at the undergraduate level. 

Seven IISERs have been set up across the country, namely IISER Kolkata (W.B), IISER Pune (Maharashtra), IISER Mohali (Pb), IISER Bhopal (M.P), IISER Thiruvanthapuram (Kerala), IISER Tirupati (AP) and IISER Berhampur (Odisha). All IISERs were declared as Institutes of National Importance by the Parliament to promote them as leading institutes in the field of basic sciences along with its sister institute like IISc Bangalore.

For many reasons, there is an urgent need to propose for one IISER in Jammu and Kashmir. Many science students (more than one lakh/ year in Jammu and Kashmir) who can’t make entry in Medical/Engineering institutions (NEET/JEE) may proceed for sciences in such institutions.

It will set-up science base, which will help our young children to inculcate scientific temper, innovation, creativity and subsequently will bring peace and stability to the region. More so, we need to cater young and bright brains immediately after their failures in competitive examinations; else they get trapped in bad deeds.

In the Policy (NEP 2020), there is also an offering that each District will have one Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERUs) of global standard.

Multidisciplinary higher education is a key theme in NEP and holistic education should in the long term be the aim of all undergraduate programs, including those in our professional, technical and vocational disciplines.

Besides this, we wish the future should coincide with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), wherein inter-alia, the Quality Education issue need to be address urgently. Thus MERUs can also address many issues besides SDGs, which is repeatedly mentioned in New Education Policy (NEP 2020). 

The bottom line is:-

To overhaul the system including re-shaping /re-establishing/re-locating the existing institutions - training centers/ teachers recruitment cells/ examination units (through NTA)/ etc., and to implement the NE, we need to have one campus housing all education related organizations/departments for robust coordination. The wisdom of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to speed-up pending/languishing projects few of them more than two decades old is hallmark of this government. From the last three years, around nine (09) Medical Colleges have been made operational besides two AIIMS, one in Jammu and one in Kashmir, with five new nursing colleges have to be acknowledged by sensible sections.

I am hopeful the present government will make one IISER possible as future institute (as Nagaland) somewhere in North Kashmir which does not have even one university despite having population of approximately 20 Lakhs. These establishments will have fruits in the long run and will shall stand-by for good projects of the governments. Our intellectuals need to come out with new and serious ideas to set up new universities where new and emerging areas could be introduced to create knowledge wealth for the progress of humanity and betterment of society. The genuine concerns of Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) need to be also addressed.

M. Ashraf Shah, author of “Science of Small” presently teaching nanotechnology at NIT Srinagar

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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