The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, today chaired a meeting to review the functioning of the Higher Education Department.

Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, Mission Director, Rashtriya Uchachatar Shiksha Abhiyan, and concerned officers participated in the meeting.

It was informed that under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the Department is contemplating various reforms for structural changes in the education sector encompassing multidisciplinary studies; skill-based courses, and courses on Indian culture and traditions.

Accordingly, the technical educational institutions namely IIT Jammu, IIM Jammu, and AIIMS Jammu have signed MoUs to provide integrated courses to the students of these institutions. Similarly, the SMVDU, University of Kashmir, Cluster University, Jammu/ Kashmir have also started integrated programs with special exit provisions, besides strengthening the research and skill enhancement courses.

Under NEP-2020, Government Degree Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir will be given graded autonomy in a phased manner along with academic bank credit facility and NAAC accreditation.

Under the Hub-Spoke model, the Department has identified 14 colleges for establishing Center for Invention, Innovation, Incubation, and Training (CIIIT), besides introducing vocational courses in multiple verticals like agriculture technology, horticulture technology, veterinary technology, food, science and technology, among others with multiple entry/ exit options. Meanwhile, several Government Degree Colleges are also being motivated to conduct research on socially relevant issues.

The Department is further taking up construction of girls hostels to increase the enrolment of girls in far-flung areas along with constructing deficient infrastructure to fill critical infrastructure gaps in existing colleges and to also allow shifting of colleges from rented accommodation to their own buildings.

It was further informed that the Higher Education Department is in the process of establishing 50 new colleges which will take up the tally of higher education institutions in Jammu and Kashmir under the government sector to 142.

The Chief Secretary asked the Department to rationalize the availability of teachers at new colleges on the basis of respective student enrolments and evolve a strategy to promote synergy and integration among all colleges through e-lectures in virtual mode.

The Department was further asked to explore additional activities for utilizing the state-of-the-art infrastructure available with the colleges in extra-curricular teaching and learning experiences, and awareness generation activities.

Dr. Mehta urged the Department to frame timelines for granting academic autonomy to the Government Degree Colleges and receive NAAC accreditation over the next five years.

Moreover, the Chief Secretary requested the Department to develop an online appraisal mechanism for capturing feedback on teaching-learning outcomes from the HoDs, peers, and students.

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