The education sector, one of the pillars of human development and progress, is in a serious crisis in Jammu and Kashmir for quite some time. More specifically, Higher Education in Jammu and Kashmir is in a deep mess and demands immediate attention.
Jammu and Kashmir Higher Education Department had advertised a notification under order No. 58-JK (HED) of 2021; Dated: 25-02-2021 for the engagement of Academic Arrangement candidates in Kashmir Division for session 2021. The merit lists were framed and uploaded on the website of Government College for Women (GCW) M.A. Road, Srinagar, after 15-04-2021 by the Nodal Principal (GCW M.A. Road) for all advertised subjects according to the guidelines advertised by J&K Higher Education Department. On 07-05-2021, the notification was issued by the Nodal Principal in which it was conveyed that the counselling for the engagement of Academic Arrangement candidates will be held from 08-05-2021 purely on a merit basis as per the list displayed on the college website. Just the next day it was deferred by Nodal Principal without any concrete reason.
Even after three months, the higher education department is unnecessarily dillydallying in the academic arrangement. Despite an acute shortage of teachers at the majority of colleges, higher authorities show reluctance to fill the academic arrangement vacancies and thereby leaving the careers of students in jeopardy.
Over the years, the Jammu and Kashmir higher education department would engage ‘academic arrangements’ to compensate for the dearth of teaching staff in the colleges. Every year when the notification is issued for the recruitment of college contractual, a section of candidates knocks on the doors of the judiciary to maintain the status quo of previous candidates. The issue of status quo contractual is lingering for the last 10 years. In the last decade, no policy was framed to address the issues of the status quo and make the department function normally and on a merit basis. The layers are piling up every year and pushing the system into a mess. Neither the higher officials address the ‘status quo’ issue nor do they have any policy instrument to clean the mess.
The irony is that in the same state, the Jammu higher education is functioning quite normally and without any so-called ‘status quo’ issue. They recruit candidates every year purely on the basis of merit. It is despite the fact that people demanding the continuity of their service despite having pledged in the affidavit duly signed by the Magistrate that they would not claim permanency of the job. Inexplicably surprising!
Presently, the issue has been caught in official wrangles, thus adversely affecting the academics in colleges. The system has closed doors for every meritorious student and has reduced the exit chance of those who fall nowhere in the merit list. The students have doctorate degrees; UGC-NET and good publications and still they do not find their names in the selection list. The status quo has blocked their way to enter into the academic/teaching structure in our part of the world. This type of recruitment policy puts our whole educational system at crossroads and the future of hundreds of highly educated youths at stake. The need of the hour is that higher education officials should clean the system to let meritorious students enter the academic institutions for facilitating quality education. The better education system will make students able to compete in the job market world over and generate more revenue for J&K. A strong policy and courage is needed to get rid of the mess and make the education sector significantly functional.
Therefore, we request the concerned authorities to ponder upon the following point(s):
1. The counselling on the basis of merit shall be put into practice without any further delay. So that the meritorious candidates may get the opportunity to serve higher education effectively and efficiently.
2. The counselling should start as earlier as possible so that both teachers and students do not suffer.
3. The mess piled in the recruitment of the contractual faculties need to be cleaned to make smooth progress of higher education in future.
Disclaimer: This content was received from Non-status quo Academic Arrangement (contractual) Aspirants of Kashmir. No KB journalist is involved in the creation of this content, except for some slight editing in line with our style guide.