In Unemployment-ridden J&K, Barely 4% Students Opt for Technical Courses

Educated youth falling in job line

The vast difference between fees of general and technical/professional courses might be one of the reasons why students are opting for the former.

WITH a 73.3 percent literacy rate, Jammu and Kashmir has secured 13th rank according to a report based on National Statistical Office (NSO) survey. Kerala with a 96.2 percent literacy rate has once again topped the survey while Andhra Pradesh with 66.4 percent is at the bottom.

The report on ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey – from July 2017 to June 2018’ objective is to “build indicators on the participation of the persons of age 3 to 35 years in the education system, expenditure incurred on the education of the household members and various indicators of those currently not attending education”.

The NSO surveyed 64,519 rural households from 8,097 villages and 49,238 urban households from 6,188 blocks in the erstwhile state.

Literacy rate

The literacy rate is defined as the percentage of literates among persons age 7 years and above. A person who can read and write in a simple language with understanding is counted as literate by the survey.

The overall literacy rate of J&K is 77.3 percent. The literacy rate amongst males and females of J&K is 85.7 percent and 68 percent respectively in rural and urban areas.

While the gap between male and female literacy rate is 12.8 percent in urban areas, the gap is widened in rural areas to 18.9 percent.

Overall, the difference between male and female literacy rates combining rural and urban areas is 17.7 percent.

The educational level

The highest level of education in males in rural areas of J&K is till middle school (24.1 percent) whereas a majority of females (39.8 percent) are not literate.

Only 8.4 percent and 2.8 percent of males and females respectively are graduate and above in rural areas.

While it is assumed that in urban areas more focus is given on women’s education, the trend in J&K tells a different story. Even in urban areas, a majority of women (27.7 percent) are not literate. The highest level of education by males in urban areas is till middle schools (20.7 percent).

The average number of years completed by people of 15 years and above in formal education in rural and urban areas is 9.6 years and 10.8 years respectively and the overall average number of years is 9.9 years.

For a person of age 25 years and above, the average number of years completed in formal education is 9.6 years.

The enrollment status of persons of age 3 to 35 years, currently attending education is 48 percent in rural areas and 49.3 percent in urban areas.

Distance to nearest school

School infrastructure is the basic need among students and parents for a better education. Schools at short distances play a significant role in promoting parents to admit their children to schools.

According to the survey, in rural areas of J&K, 86.5 percent of schools having primary level classes are at a distance of less than 1 km from the households.

76.2 percent of primary/middle level schools and 29.5 percent of secondary level schools are at a distance of less than 1 km from the household.

A majority of secondary schools in rural areas of J&K are at a distance of 1 km or more but less than 2 km.

The trend is different in urban areas where a majority of secondary schools (56.2 percent) lies at a distance of less than 1 km from the household.

For primary and middle schools, the trend in urban is almost aligned with that of rural schools.

Net attendance ratios (NAR)

NAR is the ratio of the number of persons in the official age-group attending a particular level of education to the total number of persons in that age-group.

The NAR in the primary and upper level is more in rural areas (91.9) as compared to urban areas (89.2). The same trend is followed in the higher secondary level.

In post higher secondary level, NAR is more in urban areas (35.6) as compared to rural areas (27.7).

Type of institution

A majority of students in J&K in both rural and urban areas prefer general courses than technical/professional courses.

96.2 percent of rural students prefer a general course and only 3.8 percent go for technical/professional course, while as 94.1 percent students in urban areas opt for a general course and 5.9 percent go for technical/professional course.

The vast difference between fees of general and technical/professional courses might be one of the reasons why students are opting for the former. The average expenditure for a general course is Rs 9,720, whereas for a professional course, it is Rs. 30,466.

Access to the internet

Access to the internet plays a significant role in disseminating and assimilating knowledge. From news to grocery shopping, the internet has become one of the basic necessities.

The survey considered “any person above the age of 5 years who used the internet to find, evaluate, and communicate information via any device,” as the use of the internet.

A wide gap is visible between rural and urban areas in the internet facility.

Only 28.7 percent of rural people have internet facilities. However, in urban areas, it is more than double (57.7 percent).

Overall, only 21.8 percent of persons of age 5 years and above can use the internet in both rural and urban areas of J&K.

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Swati Joshi

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