India is a young country where the youth form a major portion of the country’s population. The situation is similar in Kashmir Valley, where the youth are the backbone of the society. Due to nefarious design of Pakistan sponsored terrorism, a large number of youths have swayed to the path of destruction. This lead to weakening of this very backbone of the society. However the improving situation in “Naya Kashmir”, the youth have decided to shun the path of violence and contribute towards the nation building. The basic foundation of a society is formed by the education system, both at the formative years and at a higher level. Both these levels had taken a beating during the peak of insurgency. With the improvement in the security situation, proliferation of quality education both at grassroot & at higher level, things are appearing to improve. There has been a substantial increase in the number of engineers and doctors from Kashmir. The educational institutes here have a major role to play in stabilising the situation by providing quality education to the youth and prepare them for their role in nation building. The higher education sector has become a priority sector in the contemporary era which help the nations to strengthen their economy and infrastructure. This has become possible only by utilising their quality brain, skilled manpower and the educational institutes providing education and skill to the workforce.
One such premiere educational institute in Kashmir valley is SSM College of Engineering which is located along the National Highway near Parishaspora, Pattan in Baramulla district of North Kashmir. The place has historical importance as it was once the magnificent capital of a great ancient ruler “King Lalitaditya” of 12th century. The place has been once a centre of knowledge and a seat of preaching Buddhism and Hindu Theology. The college had a very humble beginning as SSM Polytechnic in the year 1988 in a rented building in Rajbagh Srinagar. However, with the persistent efforts and commitment to provide quality education being imparted to Kashmiri youth, it was developed as a full-fledged engineering college in the year in 1998, Parihaspora. SSM College of Engineering is the only Private Engineering Institute in the Kashmir Valley imparting Technical education at under graduate level. The college campus is spread over 25 acres of land in a very peaceful, calm and congenial atmosphere well suited for pursuing studies. It possesses an advantage of being in a rural area situated in the vicinity of cities & towns like Srinagar, Baramulla, Budgam assuming a central location. Exploring possibilities for diversification to other fields of technical education, in the year 1995-1996 the college got the approval of All India Council for Technical Education to start M.Tech courses in Electronics and Communication Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. As on date, the college provides Undergraduate courses in Sixteen streams and Post Graduate courses in four streams. It has tie-ups with other educational institutes within and outside the country for learning and experience sharing. Such institutes have not only helped to create a large pool of skilled manpower but also tackled the problem of low gross enrollment ratio in the state i.e. number of students opting for higher education after completing their schooling.
The standard of Higher Education indicates the amount of general and specific knowledge, achievement and learning level, power of oral and written expression and impact of acquired knowledge on the life of students. In order to meet the challenges of changing demands for advanced knowledge and technologies both quantity and quality of Higher Education in valley should be enhanced. To generate good quality Educational output Kashmir should raise sufficient public and private resources and allocate them sufficient autonomy. There will also be a requirement to recruit and retain qualified professors and researchers by providing sufficient incentives and should be considered a priority. Further, the higher education institutions must take adequate benefits from the schemes provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Human Resource Development Ministry for higher education institutions, students and researchers, which may lead our higher education sector towards the institutions of excellence.