Rashid Paul

Taking wings, now Kashmiri students too look for education abroad

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Countless opportunities are there, just aim for it and work hard, say those who have made it

Srinagar: Despite being caught in an environment of violence and political instability, Kashmiri youth are setting a new encouraging trend while more and more children even from the modest socio- economic tiers making it to the finest educational and technological institutions across the Fist World countries like USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Australia, et al.

Sakhra Riyaz and Rahil Nabi, studying in a local private school here, this week only received intimation of having been selected for a Fulbright scholarship in the USA and Qatar. Rahil has been offered 100 percent scholarship to Georgetown University in Washington DC, and Sakhra will avail the scholarship in Qatar for a four year undergraduate course.

Both have cleared the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) with an exceptionally high score.

Four students from another private school in the city too had in August last year won the scholarships in England and USA. They had proved their worth by scoring between 1300 to 1400 points in SAT, conducted by the College Board, National Office, New York, USA.

Likewise Shabir Bhat from Budgam recently added a feather to his cap by qualifying for the Émile Boutmy scholarship of France. Son of a farmer, Shabir is undergoing two years Masters programme in physics in Paris.

Many local boys and girls are preparing for American College Testing (ACT), a standardized test required to be taken by students looking for admission in undergraduate schools based in the US and Canada.

SAT, according to experts, too is a standardized test administered by the College Board USA, required to be taken by students seeking admission to undergraduate schools. The exam evaluates the written, verbal and mathematical skills of the candidates.

Ahmad Maruf, a resident of Haidepora, a computer sciences undergraduate in the University of Tennessee informed this newspaper from USA that SAT is the key to education in that country.

Qualifying SAT does also guarantee admission in most of the top ranking universities in Europe as a good number of these countries have a higher education alliance with the College Board of USA, he said.

Maruf says that hard work is the only mantra to cross SAT and fetch a scholarship. He advises preparation for SAT immediately after the class 10th examination.

Highlighting the abilities of Kashmiri students, he said, “I am the lone Indian out of a group of ten in his university studying on scholarship”.

To study in America is a dream, for which one needs millions of rupees. “But this country is a land of opportunities. If you work hard you can realize your dreams,” said Maruf.

Besides, campuses across India, according to Maruf “have become unfavorable for Kashmir’s. Hard work can catapult you to the top quality education in safer conditions without incurring any expenditure!”

Prof Nighat Basu, senior faculty and former Head School of Academics at Central University Kashmir is also cautious of the safety of Kashmiri students in the country.

“Over the past couple of years the environment has become communally acerbic and our children are more vulnerable to violence,” says she.

The Prof said there are infinite scholarship programmes in medicine, technology, sciences and social sciences in the developed world. Even Malaysia, Singapore and a number of countries in the neighborhood of India too have such offers.

She suggests the academic institutions like Board of School Education, colleges and universities must evolve counseling centers which can educate children about the scholarship programmes in the safe and academically/technologically advanced countries.

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