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We aim to make girl students self-reliant: Dr. Shafqat Ara – Rising Kashmir

Government Polytechnic for Women, established in 1986 in Srinagar emerged as the first Technical Institute in Jammu and Kashmir catering exclusively to women, thereby ushering them into an era of technology and creativity at the brink of the new millennium.
In conversation with Rising Kashmir’s feature writer Syedah Rafiyah, the college’s principal Dr. Shafquat Ara talks in detail about achievements of the institution in areas like quality improvement, augmentation of infrastructure,curriculum development, staff development and courses offered at the college.
Excerpts!
What is the role of polytechnic in skill development?
The role of polytechnic education is to create a pool of skill-based manpower to support shop floor and field operations as a middle level link between technicians and engineers. The pass-outs of diploma-level institutions in engineering and technology play an important role in managing shop-floor operations. It is further an established fact that small and medium industry prefer to employ diploma holders because of their special skills.
Your college is the first technical institute in J&K catering exclusively to women. What is its role in technology and creativity?
The institution emerged as the first technical institute in J&K state catering exclusively to women, thereby ushering them into an era of technology and creativity at the brink of the new millennium.
With the intervention of Technical  Education III, World Bank Assisted project, the institution has achieved a significant breakthrough in areas like quality improvement, augmentation of infrastructure, curriculum development, staff development, networking with user and other organizations etc.
The polytechnic has won many accolades and has the distinction of receiving the Best Polytechnic Award-2005 and the Best Polytechnic Award-2011 and having been adjudged as the most outstanding polytechnic in North India by the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR), Chandigarh. This is due recognition of our achievements but also a sure reminder that there are more heights of excellence to be strived for.
What is current student enrolment of the college? Has it grown over the years?
The present student intake for 3-year diploma in our institution is 630 students, out of which 535 students are presently on rolls. The ratio of intake and admitted diploma holders is around 85 percent. It has definitely grown over the years and the ratio is best for last 10 years because of independence in admission given to institutions.
What is the role of technical education in improving lives of people?
Everyone is aware of the importance of technical education. It helps students to develop theoretical and practical knowledge. It improves the quality of living standard by producing trained and experienced manpower.
Technical education gives all the knowledge and skills people require to compete in this cutthroat competition. Science and technology has influenced almost every section of society that people can’t imagine their life without its existence.
To fulfill need of the modern era, the education system should focus on technical and practical knowledge. Technology is impacting every phase of human life.
The usage of technology in education will focus towards learner-centric education and highlight creative thinking. Keeping in mind the obvious advantage of the application of technology in education, the higher educational institutes are now keen on integrating technology and education.
Technical education has become the buzz word of today. Technical and skill education should be given top most priority because it encourages the aspirants to come out with their potential. It builds a level of confidence and sense of self-respect in every individual
If a country has enough skilled manpower, it will not depend on other nations. Technical education contributes a major share to the overall education system and plays a vital role in the social and economic development of our nation. Technical knowledge is becoming an indispensable part of our living.
The advancements made in the field of science and engineering has made life sophisticated and moreover, has improved the quality of life. These technical fields need the support of highly qualified experts.
Therefore, technical education aims to impart the best vocational education possible. Aspirants should be prepared beforehand to become a part of the fast changing and advancing world. Engineering benefits only when it is done for the right engineering college, which is highly reputed and imparts quality education.
Technical education can meet the escalating demands of growing society and its multiplying demands. With the conventional methods and stereotyped general education, people acquire nothing to contribute to the progress and prosperity of human society.
Polytechnic education in India contributes significantly to its Economic Development, what is its role in Kashmir?
Technical education is critical to India’s aspirations of emerging as a major player in the global knowledge economy. Technical education contributes substantially to the socio-economic development of the country.
The development sustenance of the industrial sector is entirely dependent upon availability of trained manpower to perform multidimensional activities needed to keep the wheel of industry running.
The Technical Education Department aims towards making available these trained technically qualified hands to serve the industry and society.
Equality of educational opportunities and preparing highly skilled work force for enterprises with excellence is also objective of Technical Education.
As many students become entrepreneurs and get placed in various industries across valley, hence increasing the economic development of the valley.
What courses your college offer to improve practical and technical skills of students?
We provide Three-year diploma programs in seven disciplineslike Electronic and Communication Engineering, Computer Engineering, Garment Technology, Textile Technology, Office Management and Computer Applications, Food Technology, and Medical Lab Technology.
Electronic and Communication Engineering: Students can perceive jobs in various public and private sectors or even can have their own startups in repairing of home appliances or provide services in various communication sectors.
Computer Engineering: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors or can start freelancer or can take entrepreneurship for the development of small applications and websites, provide services of computer hardware and networks and be basic-level graphic designers.
Garment Technology: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors or be entrepreneurs by starting their own ventures of designer clothing.
Textile Technology: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors or be entrepreneurs by starting their own ventures in Tie and Dye, Weaving, Knitting etc.
Office Management and Computer Applications: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors as Personal Assistant, Stenographer or be entrepreneurs by starting their own ventures of documentation centres.
Food Technology: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors by starting their own ventures of Food Industry.
Medical Lab Technology: Students can do jobs in various public and private sectors by establishing their own clinical laboratory.
We have also one year certification program in 2 trades under Heritage craft course vis-a-vis Shawl Weaving and Hand Embroidery and short term job oriented courses of 1- 3 months.  
We have seen that small and medium industry prefer to employ Diploma holders because of their special skills. What is your role in that?
There is a continuous industry-academic interaction. The students undergo various industrial training and visits regarding new and upcoming technologies which results in their placements which is the ultimate goal of the institution.
Does your college offer placements for students?
There is 100 percent placement in certain branches like MLT, Garment Technology and maximum of the students prefer to go for higher studies under lateral entry scheme.
Majority of the students who join polytechnics are from rural area as they cannot afford to go to an engineering college. Do you provide any scholarship for them?
As currently various national level scholarships are available for the students,we aware them about these scholarships and we also provide them career counseling.
However, for the students admitted in various courses in polytechnics can avail various National scholarships like Pragati, Saksham, Swanath, Post Matric Scholarship, Merit cum Means Scholarship and Labour Scholarship Scheme in which a student gets up to Rs 50,000 as scholarship money per annum.
What facilities do you provide for student welfare?
We have all required facilities available for students including library, internet, hostel, 100KW Solar Power backup, entertainment, cultural programs, mental health counseling, career counseling and entrepreneurship development programs.
Tell us briefly about any success story of any student who studied in the college?
See there is 100 percent placement of Medical Lab Technology and Garment Technology students who work in various labs and have their own start-ups. One of our female students of Medical Lab Technology Department has established a clinical laboratory at Magam.
What is being done to augment infrastructure?
Latest and updated computer systems have been procured by the institution and have been augmented in all the seven disciplines. Construction of classroom-cum-workshop block is near completion with a cost of Rs 372 lakhs. Construction of new block of staff quarters is also near completion in addition to the existing staff quarters.
Does your college provide hostel facility and transport for girls?
As the institution is exclusively for women, there are two hostel blocks catering to about 250 students. However, construction of an additional 100 bedded Girls Hostel Block is also in the pipeline. The institution had two 40-seater buses which were damaged in 2014 floods. However, the Directorate of Skill Development, J&K is in process of procurement of fresh vehicles for the institution.
What has been the contribution of the college on which you have worked in recent years?
It is 100 percent admissions. Establishment of incubation centres for outgoing students so that they can start their own ventures and become self-employed.
Mental health counseling has been started by this institution in collaboration with Health Minds wherein professional counselors interact and counsel students and faculty on weekly basis which has reduced stress among them and improved quality of teaching and learning.
Around 200 girl students have availed various national scholarship schemes wherein a girl student gets Rs 50,000 annually as scholarship and for three year diploma gets totoal amount of Rs 1,50,000 for three years.
What is the strength of your college and what steps are being taken to upgrade it?
Quality education is provided to the girl students by highly qualified and experienced faculty. MoUs have been signed with relevant industries to make the industry ready and a constant industry-academic balance is maintained by undergoing continuous industrial training and visits.
What are your future plans?
We aim to provide quality education and ultimately to make the girls student self-reliant and financially independent.
What is your message for students who aspire to join your college?
By joining the institution, the girls will become technically sound, industry ready, can go for higher studies under Lateral Entry System and also become entrepreneurs.

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