‘I want our students to be torchbearers, not uninspiring certificate holders’
SRINAGAR: Minister of Education, Naeem Akhtar, Saturday said education is emerging as a unifying force which can pave the way for bridging the regional divide in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Improving the standard of education is evolving as a unifying agenda in our state, cutting across religious and regional divides. We can’t be perfect, but history has given us an opportunity to redefine ourselves which we must not squander,” Mr Akhtar said.
The Education Minister was speaking at the “Teachers Day” Function held at University of Kashmir where the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the chief guest.
The function was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Kumar Singh, Minister for Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services and Sports, Imran Raza Ansari, Minister of State for Public Health Engineering, Irrigation & Flood Control, Animal Husbandry and Forest, Abdul Majid Paddar, Minister of State for Industries and Commerce, Power Development and Housing & Urban Development, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Asiea Naqash, Advisor to Chief Minister, Prof Amitabh Mattoo and Vice-Chancellor, University of Kashmir, Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi.
Akhtar said after assuming charge as Education Minister earlier this year, he was not, in the first place, able to comprehend the “mess” in this key sector. “I have come into this sphere with a huge burden. As Mufti Sahab said, if we succeed on this front, we will succeed on every other front. Bringing positive changes in the education sector has become the mission of my life,” he said.
The Minister requested the teacher fraternity to join hands with him and usher the state into a new era of progress and prosperity, “I can’t do it alone. Things have started to change. I am of the firm belief that J&K can become a superpower in terms of human resource. Our glorious past is a witness to the storehouse of knowledge that J&K is,” he said.
Akhtar said the education department must rededicate itself to molding the human resource. “I don’t want our students to become powerless and incapacitated certificate holders. They should become torchbearers of our society,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister began his address to the packed Convocation Centre at the University of Kashmir by expressing gratitude towards his teachers. “Today we bow in respect for the teachers who made us what we are today,” he said.
Recalling the contribution of his father towards his education, the Minister broke down, but regained his composure immediately. “I have been lucky to receive continuing education from the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who also shares my father’s name,” he said.
The Teachers Day Function, organized by the Department of Education, began with the screening of the achievements of the department over the last six months which was followed by a group song by girl students from Girls Higher Secondary School, Kothibagh, Srinagar.
The star attraction of the program was a performance by students of Government Middle School, Bangla Bagh, Baramulla. Belonging to economically backward groups, the Education Minister himself walked up to the dais to introduce the students.
The Education Department recently converted 27 schools in old town of Baramulla into five schools in the process of rationalizing the resources.
Two satirical skits, illustrating the pulls and pressures facing the teacher fraternity and students, were also performed by a group of teachers from Bandipora and the varsity Students, drawing huge applause from the audience.