Of degraded education and sinking health sector…
Health and education are the most prominent aspects that determine the strength of a nation. Healthy and knowledgeable minds make bedrock for prospective robust societies. In the contemporary era of modern technology and advance science the significance of both knowledge and health as medium and facilitators of growth and development become more important. In developed nations and these key sectors experienced a phenomenal quality growth. Lately, most parts of the subcontinent have acknowledged these indicators of appreciated growth along with communication and connectivity. Kashmir as part of this region has also joined the march of social transformation and economical growth with healthy nation and learned minds. In particular, during the last two decades the education and health sector in Kashmir has grown many folds with huge investment in infrastructure, human resource and technology fairly visible on ground. However, the growth in these fields has occurred in a haphazard manner and lacks command and quality control both at technical and administrative level, making it more vulnerable to exploitation and inefficiency.
To begin with, both state owned and private sector education system in the state lack proper monitoring almost at every level. Undoubtedly private players are showing better results but the percentage of successful students and basket full of grades are not the only indicators to gauge the level of excellence in education. In this part of the world we have misconstrued education as processing and computing knowledge in the brain of our younger generation instead of an all-round mental, moral and physical education with least consideration to its statistical evaluation. We need to build sound bodies with sound minds not herds and flocks of qualified youth lacking moral character and physical courage. Education and system of knowledge is not run by numbers and positions alone but it should as well possess values and able to inculcate characteristics of admirable character and morality of highest order.
Our government runs a vast education network in length and breadth of the state, but unfortunately lack both in statics and values. With improved infrastructure and qualified manpower the system is unable to deliver to the satisfaction of the nation. Lack of command and control and politicization in one or the other way has ruined this most vital part of our system. On the other hand private sector is doing fairly well but with limited infrastructure and lack of qualified human resources, they are out to make a killing. Without proper guidelines and set rules education in Kashmir has turned into a commerce. A reasonable fellow is unable to understand the requirement of private tuition centers when both state and private players in education brag about their efficiency and excellence. Commercializing education by the private sector and degradation by the state has led our once restricted but quality education system into un-loving crèches and obnoxious coaching centers.
On healthcare front, we are made to believe that everything is fine. But frankly speaking this is one of the most tainted sectors suffering from communicable diseases like corruption, nepotism and inefficiency from top to bottom. For the last more than six decades our popular governments have made only one perceptible step towards significant healthcare development that of establishing Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Srinagar, rest has all been gimmickry at almost every level. Presently only three healthcare institutions, SKIMS Srinagar, SMHS hospital Srinagar and SMGS hospital Jammu are worth to be mentioned as hospitals and contribute a lot to the existing skeletal heath related infrastructure in the state. The rest are all breeding grounds of infection and graded slaughter houses. Private sector has made inroads into healthcare as well; but it is nominal and exploitative in practice. Mushrooming nursing homes working beyond the genuine control of the state administration in the absence of any set rules and norms regarding medical ethics and fees structure are operating with an agenda of ‘day of the jackal’; out to make quick bucks and wind. In Srinagar many business houses shift from hospital business to hospitality or other way round with a simple drop of the hat. How such systems can be reliable and considered as efficient?
Health and education sector possess a lot of potential particularly in a place like Kashmir. Along with strong nation building health and education tourism can be explored to harness the potential of scenic and environmental beauty of this place and to ensure a green but vibrant economic activity akin to this heavenly place.