New Delhi, Mar 10: Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari on Friday urged global bigwigs to partner with Jammu and Kashmir in its endeavour for imparting skills-based training among youth.
While addressing a group of Ambassadors, diplomats and policy makers from several countries at the “Kashmir- Way Forward” event, organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Delhi, Bukhari highlighted that time is ripe for the state to connect with rest of the world and forge joint collaborations.
“J&K government has taken a modest endeavour to introduce vocational education programme in the state. We have about 20,000 enrolments in the various trades covering about more than 300 schools,” Bukhari said. “I would request your participation to supplement our effort so that this is further scaled up to create opportunities for our budding youth while pursuing formal education in different areas and also for accentuating their employability,” the education minister said.
Bukhari said despite having an edge in several sectors, J&K has been unable to attract investments. However, he expressed optimism that a long-term vision and an improved connectivity will help the state to prosper.
“The state has immense scope in small and medium enterprises, food processing, horticulture, education, textiles, tourism and hospitality, IT/ITeS, BPO and other potential industries,” Bukhari said.
“The major task for us is to connect – connect to the larger world outside – through road, rail, air and last but not least through knowledge,” Bukhari said.
He said greater cultural bonding between J&K and rest of the world “would create emotional connect between the people and weaken the forces of ignorance and obscurantism”. Bukhari said demographics of J&K has a dominant presence of youth which is a positive sign for them to become job-providers and not just job-seekers.
“Youth un-employability is more serious a crisis than unemployment. It goes without saying that our youth are simply unemployable as 90 percent of employment opportunities require vocational skills. This becomes critical, as nearly 90 percent of jobs in India are still skill based, with the bulk of employment coming from agriculture and other related activities,” Bukhari said.
Bukhari said education in J&K is witnessing a rapid transformation. “Its capital cities, Srinagar and Jammu are emerging as knowledge hubs in North India. The State is gradually becoming an educational hub with establishments of universities and institutes of national importance like IIT, IIM and NIT,” he said.
He said while the government is keen to set up more educational institutions as the accessibility of education was priority but now that priority has shifted towards providing quality education.