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DREAMING OF HIGHER EDUCATION: APPREHENSIONS

By Nooman Farooq Rather

“Yun qatlse ladkunkewo badnaam nahota.
Afsoos ki Firaon ko College ki na suujhi”

 

The desire to achieve higher education is almost imbibed in every soul. In fact student moves to college with various dreams and aspirations. Students must pass different stages to reach to college level and mostly innocent, immature and inexperienced students have to get to new levels of study, information, knowledge and curriculum that are quite challenging and sometimes interesting. From adjusting to new pressure of higher studies to socializing with new classmates, one must be plucky to get used to the new environment. Few students consider college so serious that they devote every second of college life to build their career. However, full of enjoyment, recreation and exuberation are the students who take it as such without considering their future. With escalating cut-throat competition, busy workload, schedule for students, it is all much ado about nothing. Times have changed, ways of learning and levels of competition have touched new heights and so have the human habits, tastes, priorities and zeal to achieve something in life.
Among the various issues and concerns before putting steps to higher education one must decide what he/she has to read. In Kashmir, to choose our fields and subjects of study is not a prerogative to most of us; our priorities of study are easily swayed by our parents and relatives, this becomes a ball and chain since the beginning of our education and we are casted in a mould that society chooses us to fit in than we, ourselves, deciding the path we wanted to tread. Most of us at college do not have a set goal going forward, after medicals in higher secondary many switch to Arts, of all this we are often wrong in deciding the proper stream for ourselves. As a result, interest in learning dies very soon, and we start studying and mugging up just to pass the exams. We may know what to study, but most of us don’t know how to study. Students do not know where to go and where to concentrate.
A good number of students come to college with a failure of a competitive exam on the back be it a NEET, JEE failure for Science students or a failure to ingress in DU or some other reputed Institute. Being low on confidence, the admission in college seems more of a challenge than a kick at the can to get the ball rolling; occasionally you get a mentor who can counsel to get your debilitated state of mind and courage back up again. A student with time may get used to the new aura of college but a failure after the secondary school education haunts at the back of the mind. So, life of a student in college starts more often in doldrums. With such a twitchy start to this phase of study, the higher classes demand more courage, toil and patience…for they are beset with new chances as well as problems. No big positive reasons oil the wheels of life of a college student in Kashmir in comparison to other states of India, they are apples and oranges in every respect; probably the reason why thousands of Kashmiri students enrol themselves in institutes outside valley. Well, this costs an arm and a leg, not all enjoy such economic luxury and the Government Degree colleges here serve their case.
Friday being observed an off by the college students solely, not recommended by authorities is a new trend has grown more prominent with time in higher education department. This trend may have borne out of different reasons, but students are more their own enemies than anything different; this worsens the already mussed up working day schedule in colleges. Besides the concerned college and higher education department authorities, the student community needs to run something up the flagpole to discourage this growing tendency ad infinitum. Unnecessary absence and irregular attendance of students in the classes kills the entire penchant in teaching and learning; class tests, assignment works fail to bear any fruits.
Academic aspects of college life are plagued by problems and discrepancies. Lack of well-equipped laboratories, libraries has been an antediluvian tooth-ache of colleges here in valley. Labs are devoid of all the important apparatus necessary to carry out practical experiments, libraries offer a few dailies to read; occasionally you find a National daily on the study table. Infrastructure of labs is in tatters almost in all the colleges and the facilities to facilitate curiosity to learn and read among young college students are lacking. Proper infrastructure, the quanta of books, study material are too small to meet the demands and fulfil the needs. Dearth of human resources is one of the main problems that cripples the college performance, eventually innocent students find themselves on the wrong end of all this. Lack of required manual resource in labs and teaching staff, curtains off any form of teaching remedy or doubt clearing sessions. Many a times, a student has to perform a practical in the guidance of a lab instructor who usually is not a subject competent.
We should no way forget to quote the rude behaviour of teachers with the students. Many teachers are orthodoxy stereotypes about their interaction with students. Others feel it below their dignity to talk or discuss issues with their pupils — a gap is necessary but not so much, so it may hinder a student to ask or share something genuine. Insults in a full hall and inhumane scolding from teachers add insult to injury. A teacher is not merely a tutor but a mentor, guide and a sincere friend. Every problem can raise a student’s stress level and contribute to emotional lows which may lead to a long-term depression.


Over the last half a decade, with the advent of technology; irrepressible use of social media and phone has been the new black among budding colligates. Publicity of immoral and unfortunate video clips from colleges has turned out to be a new headache to college authorities. This menace has taken its awful form in class rooms too. The minute the teacher’s back is turned, many of the students surf social media and other related content to pass-out time. Well, a craze knows no ends.Colleges have turned into hubs of moral degradation and abominable acts. A vulgar fight, a cigar being smoked sideward, is a usual sight in colleges of late.
Just a few colleges serve the facility of vehicular transportation and hostels in our valley.One has to travel in public transport for an hour and long, regular up and down consumes time, stamina and physique. Physical and mental exertion kills any time and energy for self-study; consequently, contributing to a downward slope of academic performance; and this needs a new turn-over.
One cannot keep his classmates at arm’s length for long, with every passing day, one develops acquaintances and this way new friendships and relationships are born. A student finds it hard to come out of the emotional shell of these relationships, at times falling prey to drug addiction, suicidal thoughts, pessimism and immoral acts. Seldom, one finds a perfect physical, mental and emotional bondage during this period, and very rarely does one find a carrier counsellor in any professor of the college to get out of this relationship banana skin and come of age. So, maintaining relations during college time at the new place is time consuming and stressful.
We may have to take bad with good but to keep an eye on the ball is necessary. Students occupy the pivotal position to find the ways out. They have to be leaders to strike the blow for prevalence of education and morality. A proper coordination between student community and concerned higher education authorities is a pre-requisite to see the beginning of the end of all these problems. Redundant absence from classes, curricular assignments and bunks has to be curbed. Mental and career counselling is a must. Teachers must spare a room for genuine discussions. All this might help us come out of this problem bog.
(The writer is a student of BSc 1st Semester, GDC Bijbehara. Feedback at: [email protected])