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Quality of education in private engineering colleges of Jammu and Kashmir

Umair Malik

We have been witnessing a great deal of efforts being continuously put by the universities and colleges, for a few decades now, into increasing the number of graduation seats in engineering but nothing is being done to improve the quality of education in these colleges, especially the private ones. It is unfortunate that these colleges have become nothing more than business units now.
Being an engineering graduate, i have been thinking to discuss about this for quite a long time. 
I’m Umair, I hail from district Doda, Jammu and Kashmir, recently completed Civil Engineering course from Yogananda Collage Of Engineering And Technology, Jammu. I received my primary education in my native village, then moved to a boarding school of the valley: Scholars, School Srinagar. I was there from 6th standard to 10th. Then i headed to Government Boys Higher Secondary School Jawahar Nagar, Srinagar for secondary school education.
After completing secondary school education, my mind was clear about the higher studies. I was passionate enough to choose engineering and when i presented the decision to my parents, they welcomed it with heart and soul. It is not like i was forced by some external-parental or societal pressures to pursue engineering as we see in most of the cases. I opted for coaching classes in Jammu for JEE-Main exam for getting admission in any of the National Institutes of Technology and unfortunately i couldn’t make it to get there. I finally ended up getting into Yogananda College Of Engineering And Technology, Jammu through state entrance test; JKCET, to study Civil Engineering. I wasn’t sure if i made the right choice, back then, but it was too late to hold back now.
To be honest i wasn’t expecting high quality education from the college, however, i didn’t imagine that the standard and quality of education will be so low which i had to brave during my course of 4 years. I’m sorry to mention that if only i had been aware about the standard of education in the college, i swear i would have preferred non-professional coarse B.Sc over engineering. Not only me but almost every fellow of mine would’ve proceeded with some other choice. 
Every year most of the private engineering colleges of Jammu and Kashmir fill over 250 seats, generating more than enough revenues from the students to be able to hire good teaching staff but unfortunately, they put the career of the students at risk by compromising for money over quality to hire untrained, disloyal teaching staff. Most of the teaching staff ranges from mediocre to abysmal. I have a humble advice for those who end up into teaching, you people should know that before getting into such a rewarding profession, it is important to introspect whether you have a patience, stamina, dedication and subject knowledge to guide the students and provide them daily lectures with proper lesson plan. Your inner man knows it all whether you are   suitable for teaching profession or not but usually it is difficult for people to admit about their weaknesses. With time these chinks in the armour get exposed while you deliver your lectures. So is it not wise to choose any other profession before getting insulted in front your students?
I conversed with one of the teachers, who works as an assistant professor in YCET Jammu, about the same, he said, “Look, when you have only one thing to focus on, you give your one hundred percent and when you’re overburdened with multitasks- non academic, promotional ones, you don’t get time for preparing a good lesson plan so that the lecture may be effective. Actually, the promotion of the colleges is given more preference over the academics. This is the reason behind sufferings of the students”
I accept and appreciate the fact that some teachers try to do their best but majority of them aren’t doing justice to their job. I won’t let students go free, students are also to be blamed for their non-seriousness towards studies but teachers have a great role to play here as well. Competition and seriousness within students is induced with dedicated teaching and motivation. When you’re motivated, you are active and form desires to aspire anything. On contrary to this, disloyal teaching practices and demotivation induce laziness and inactivity in the students. 
Many of you may have come up with a question that why don’t students complain to the higher authorities (management). The answer is- at least twice a semester you get those feedback papers to fill up to give feedback about the teachers but that is just a formality, no action is taken even after giving the negative remarks. The other thing is that when you have minimum of 400 internal marks out of total 1000 marks i.e. 40% of total marks in each semester solely in the hands of your teachers, you don’t dare to question their worth or speak a word against them. So you have to keep mum or you will have to pay price in terms of your internal marks. 
There are some people who are of the opinion that it all depends upon students, saying that you can make use of other sources like internet or join tuition classes to cope up with the students of some reputed colleges. Let me make it clear to them, internet provides you information instead of imparting knowledge. You need to realise the difference between information and knowledge. You need quality teachers to impart knowledge rather than just relying on memorised information. Particularly, you can’t seek practical knowledge without a good guidance. The other thing is that majority of the students enrolled in these collages belong to middle-class families, who are already living a life in financial insecurity after paying the whopping course fee. It becomes a heavy burden over the already crooked back of such families to pay for the outside tuitions as well, parallel to paying the collage tuition fee. 
An advice to the young engineering aspirants is that, you can’t change the functioning of the collages but you can choose the right one for yourself. Choosing the right college after completing secondary school education is one of the most important decisions in your life. Choose it wisely or you’ll have to regret in the years to come.

(Author is  engineering graduate)