By Arif Shafiq Badoo
“Since ages, a trend compels every student of Kashmir to opt for All India Engineering Entrance Examinations (AIEEE) and Common Entrance Test (CET) after his or her completion of 10+2,” says Bashir Ahmed Zarger, Assistant Professor Mathematics, at University of Kashmir.
Zarger also believes that “in Kashmir, students are never asked about their own interests and are compelled by their parents and guardians regarding their career choices. Believe it though! The trend is changing and students are now trying to live their own hopes.”
The Kashmiri education sector has seen some drastic changes and tedious implementations in the past few years, the above quoted change in career choices being just one amongst many. Before, a student necessarily followed the methods and suggestions of his parents, which mainly involved ‘tedious’ entrance examinations. Now however, the youth of this ‘energetic’ state are all set to turn the tide.
“We should let them discover new things and break the monotony of our views, only doctors and engineers don’t earn bread and butter,” says Abdul Latief, Chairman of The Heritage School, Baramulla.
In huge numbers, students are breaking away from the traditional careers of Kashmir and finding better options. Earlier, things like family pressure and lack of variety held them to conventional career-related decisions, but now times have changed and they have a lot more things to work with. “There were only two options in front of us then: Medical or Non-medical, which basically meant a doctor or an engineer, but so much has transformed and today students have a huge list of courses and options available even at the secondary level,” Manzoor Bhatt, a Dentist, tells The Kashmir Walla.
The youth of Kashmir and their changing mindset is greatly reflected by their choices in their respective work and academic fields. “I think being a teacher, a doctor or some other usual job won’t fulfill all of my needs,” says Zamin Nazir, a Bussiness Administration student. Also, “There are not many expectations from a government job now, the era of earning in thousands is over and there are companies who offer lakhs now, so why stick with this unproductive trend,” Tahir Nabi, a computer applications student says.
“We Kashmiri students have the proper knowledge of all things, there’s no doubt that we are productive but all we lack is the proper mindset which in turn can help us survive in our desired field or course”, claims Malik Faheem, an Information Technology student. On speaking of the hesitancy in decision-making, Suhail Ashraf, an arts student says, “The education system of Kashmir is full of mismanagements, so the confusion in the minds of so many is inevitable.”
Kashmiri students today seem mostly interested in working in the private sector, which has not yet been fully developed in Kashmir. So choosing a subject which advocates working with a non-governmental organization has replaced the lifelong household trend of medicine/engineering in Kashmir. The education sector has itself gone under a tremendous change and some new methods for the betterment of the students are being applied, to which the main contribution is obviously of the students. “No matter, there are more opportunities around but the new generation of this cyber age has really discovered some healthy and productive schemes in the form of various courses,” Jehangeer Aakhoon a civil servant told The Kashmir Walla.
Business administration, computer applications, mass communication, information technology and a lot more fields of degrees and diplomas are becoming the new preferred career choice amongst students in Kashmir now. “The superiority complex no longer exists in students here who try for any state or national level toughest considered examination. New ideas will continue to sprout in the minds of our students,” Zarger said. “Therefore if the concept of change really exists in the minds here then it needs the proper hand of support and proper set of guidelines which in turn can make the real and commendable things happen”, said Bashir further.
The saturation in the fields of medical and engineering hasn’t change. Akhter Rasool, an MBBS student in Jammu says, “If you compare the career statistics of 2012 to the statistics of 2006 you will find a huge difference in the numbers of medicine related careers. It is so easy to become a doctor now.” But for the Kashmiri youth, the matter of interest is no longer to become a doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, a journalist or a businessman, what matters is ‘satisfaction’, a new, surreal yet extremely fundamental factor.