Indian Army and the Government of India have been running many programs to integrate the youth of Kashmir into mainstream India. The estrangement of common people and youth has been engineered by separatists and Pakistani terror groups. Providing good educational opportunities to Kashmiri youth is an effective strategy to counter these influences. The government of India has been consistently trying to implement this strategy.
Schemes to improve educational opportunities for Kashmiri youth
The army and government of India are already taking initiatives to improve educational standards in the valley. Operation Sadhbhavana , which is implemented by the Indian army. The Army has established 53 modern English medium Army Goodwill Schools under the State Board and CBSE having all facilities. In addition to this assistance to approximately 2700 State Govt schools in terms of renovations, construction of additional class rooms, toilets, playgrounds, sports fields /facilities, provision of furniture, computers and educational software packages, stationery, books and school uniforms for poor students and assistance in setting up libraries and laboratories has been provided.
The Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme for Jammu & Kashmir is being implemented since 2011. The scheme aims to encourage the youth from Jammu & Kashmir to pursue higher education in educational institutions outside the state. 13014 students have benefited from this scheme between 2014 and 2016. However, these schemes have still not arrested the attraction of youth to militancy in the valley.
MHRD Support of J&K Government in Improving Education
The Government of India has signed an MOU with department of school education of J&K governmen to improve education . According to the MOU titled ‘School Education Transformation Roadmap’, central assistance to the state will be provided in four areas. They are
- Curriculum support
- School affiliation
- Digital tools for improving education
- Student exchange programs
The NCERT will be helping the state to improve its text books. In addition to this , the CBSE plans to give affiliation to the state’s school to ensure that the state meets national standards in education. The most important part of the MOU is the student education program.
The digital push of MHRD includes all schools of India. The ‘white board revolution‘, envisaged by the ministry hopes to introduce digital boards in government schools. The detailed policy for this scheme is yet to be formulated. The scheme is expected to improve educational standards in Kashmir as well.
The ministry plans to ensure that some students from Kashmir study in mainstream India and vice versa. The details and implementation of the student exchange program are still unclear. This move is expected to help remove prejudices and misconceptions that are in the minds about Kashmir. Similarly , MHRD hopes that Kashmiri kids will integrate with the mainstream better when they spend some time outside their home state.
The new approach towards improving educational facilities and exposure to mainstream India might yield better results in comparison to past schemes. The success or failure of this new strategy will depend on effective implementation of the MOU.