In a first, the students of Government College for Women Gandhi Nagar, Jammu and Government College for Women Nawakadal, Srinagar today arrived at the residences of Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr N N Vohra, the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti and the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh with bouquets and New Year gifts designed and prepared by the students of these colleges themselves under the Skill Development Initiative ‘HUNAR’ launched earlier this year.While the students of Government College for Women Gandhi Nagar were seen carrying beautifully decorated flower bouquets and hand-made chocolates, their counterparts from Government College for Women Nawakadal were seen carrying delicately crafted Papier Machie artefacts.
The vocational initiatives running successfully in these Colleges under ‘HUNAR’ were started under the guidance of Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar earlier this year and are receiving overwhelming response from the enthusiastic students of both these colleges.“The vision behind starting skill-oriented courses is to inculcate entrepreneurial skills among the youth and provide a link between theoretical knowledge and the existing market requirements so that our students pass-out not as ‘job seekers’ but as ‘job providers’,” Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said adding joining a vocational course allows the students to learn the processes as opposed to pursuing a redundant theory-based curriculum. “It will also help the students to graduate with higher levels of perceived self-efficacy and a feeling of control by equipping them with tools that they can practice with in the classroom with real life techniques," he said.
The initiative has already taken off successfully in GCW Gandhi Nagar and GCW Nawakadal while several other colleges in the State are following the suit.In GCW Gandhi Nagar, the students of Food and Home Sciences Department are successfully running the canteen services, florist shop and boutique inside the College premises. “In future initiatives we are planning to setup a ‘Mushroom Cultivation’ and ‘Vermi-Composting’ units inside the college in coordination with the Agriculture Department,” said Dr Kiran Bakshi, Principal GCW Gandhi Nagar. She said the College is also in touch with National Urban Livelihood Mission and Social Welfare Department for linking these training programmes with fruitful employment opportunities. She hailed Education Minister, Mr Naeem Akhtar for piloting these pioneering initiatives which are fast transforming the whole educational scenario in the State.Similarly, the GCW Nawakadal is successfully running Dress Designing, Papier Machie and Painting centres in the College with the students enthusiastically participating in these activities.“In the emerging socio-economic scenario, it has become imperative to impart vocational training to the students in addition to normal academic activities so that they are fully prepared to face the challenges in their life once they move out of the College,” said Maqsooda Khan, Principal GCW Nawakadal.
She said the objective to start these courses is also to preserve, conserve and pass on the traditional art and skills to future generations and enable them to establish their own business units independently. She said the College has already organised three exhibitions of the goods prepared by the students within the College and the revenue realised by selling of dresses and Papier Machie items like trophies, wall decorations prepared by these girls is being utilized for student’s welfare.The Principal further informed that the students are showing tremendous enthusiasm towards learning the art of dress designing. She said that such is the response of these courses that for every one seat in the class we get applications from art least three students.The Principal said that the college trains 25 students in each course during their free time. “Till date the college has provided Skill Empowerment training to 100 girls and they are earning their livelihood independently,” she said.According to the Education Minister, the time is not far away when these small initiatives would become a movement in the educational sector, transforming the lives of the students and grooming them as prospective entrepreneurs instead of job-seekers.