Intro: The ‘Kashmir Super 30’ project modeled after the well-known ‘Super 30’ programme of Bihar, launched by the Indian Army under partnership with the Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership brought great cheer to the engineering aspirants of J&K.
The result of the IIT-JEE Advanced 2015 examination has brought great cheer to the engineering aspirants of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Kashmir Valley. Two students from the Valley and one from Kargil, coached under a programme sponsored by the Indian Army as a part of its two and a half decade old welfare initiative – Operation Sadbhavna have cleared this prestigious examination. Zahid Ahmed Quershi of Kupwara secured all India 89th rank and Gazi Hussain Malik of Shopian secured all India 112th rank in the physically challenged category while Ajaz Ali of Kargil secured all India 598th rank in Scheduled Tribe category. Most aptly named the ‘Kashmir Super 30’ project and modeled after the well-known ‘Super 30’ programme of Bihar, this initiative was launched by the Indian Army only last year under partnership with the Centre for Social Responsibility and Leadership. Buoyed by the success, the Army selected 36 students for the current academic session. Apart from the three who cleared the IIT entrance, 27 more have secured admission in various engineering colleges within and outside the State. Students have proved beyond doubt that, given the right platform, they are second to none on the achievement index. They have the will power and the intellect to compete with the very best. In times of political turbulence, the first to take a hit is the social indices. Jammu and Kashmir was no exception. Both the economy and infrastructure of the State took a beating during the period of peak terrorism.
During that critical phase, way back in 1990, the Indian Army came forward to make a herculean effort to stem the rot by initiating ‘Operation Sadbhavna’. Reconstructing the image of the security forces in mind of the common man from the ogres that they had been painted into to the positive performers and builders that they actually were, was no doubt, an additional goal. During the times of peak terrorism most of the government schools ceased to function, especially so in the Kashmir Valley. The Army, under Operation Sadbhavna, opened a number of Army Goodwill Schools, mostly in remote inaccessible areas of the State, with the intention of providing quality education at a nominal fee to the deprived children.
Indian Army over the years has established 46 Army Goodwill Schools and rendered assistance to approximately 1,900 State Government run schools in remote areas through renovation, construction of additional classrooms, libraries, toilets, playgrounds, sports facilities, provisioning of furniture, computers, educational software packages, stationary and books.
Approximately one lakh students have obtained middle and higher secondary level education in Army Goodwill Schools in the last 15 years. About 14,000 students are currently obtaining quality education at primary/ higher secondary levels. 840 students from economically weaker sections are receiving scholarships for studies in schools within and outside the State; the outlay for this scholarship scheme is more that Rs two crore. Besides imparting quality education the Army Goodwill Schools are providing employment to qualified youth of the State. As on date nearly 1,000 teaching and non-teaching staff from among the local population is employed in various Army Goodwill Schools. Over the years, the Army has expanded the scope of the education initiative. It has made tremendous efforts to help students pursue higher education outside the state. Nearly 560 students have been assisted in obtaining admission in various institutions like Pacific University, Udaipur, Global Research Institute, Kurukshetra, Noida International University, Greater Noida and Hunar-e-Tarash, a rural ministry initiative. Most of the students studying in Army Goodwill Schools under scholarship have also been assisted in obtaining admission in institutes outside Jammu and Kashmir.
Education is simply one of many sectors where development and welfare programmes are being carried out under Operation Sadbhavna. In an effort to involve the youth in gainful and constructive activity, the Army has established a number of youth employment guidance nodes which provide the young boys and girls information regarding employment opportunities available to them. Vocational training and women empowerment centres have been established across the State. Tours are being conducted for young and old to create awareness among the people of the State about the phenomenal growth trajectory of the nation and motivate them towards becoming a part of the success story.
Jaibans Singh (The writer is Editor of www.defenceinfo.com)
(July 12, 2015, Page-32)