Frequent siege of Srinagar takes Kashmir’s higher education hostage

Class work to suffer for around a month; Colleges await hiring of



Srinagar, Mar 17: Notwithstanding the government claims that due care was being paid to keep education of students away from turmoil, frequent siege of this summer Capital for the past two months is feared to hit class work at various degree colleges not only within Srinagar but across Kashmir that too even if there are no more curfews. Reasons: The Srinagar-based Amar Singh College, which is the nodal office to hire contractual teachers for degree colleges across the Valley hasn’t been able to complete the task as would happen in the previous years.
 Highly placed sources said the class work at all the 46 degree colleges of Kashmir was likely to remain affected for at-least a month because of delay in recruitment of the temporary staff including Contractual Lecturers and Teaching Assistants. In the past, the process would be in place by first week of March.
 The staff-starved colleges in Kashmir province have been running short of teachers for the past many years.  And instead of filling up the vacancies on fulltime basis, successive regimes have banked on contractual expertise despite severe criticism from various quarters for a permanent solution to the recurring problem.
 Till last year, the government would hire the staff of around a thousand, without any written examination by keeping into consideration their academic qualification and experience.
 “Candidates with PhDs, M Phils NETs and SLETs would be given preference on merit basis. There used to be no written exams,” said a senor official in the Higher Education Department.
 But this year, the official said, the government changed the process and introduced a new system of written examination for selection in the contractual posts.
 Officials confirmed that over 7000 candidates have applied for the jobs. The aspirants were asked to submit their forms at Amar Singh College Srinagar, which is also functioning as the Nodal office for hiring of the contractuals.
 The Higher Education Department was expected to complete the recruitment process by first week of March so that the students would not suffer once the class work begins, as usual, somewhere in the middle of this month.
 But insiders said frequent siege of Srinagar since the hanging of Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru in New Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9, has been badly hindering the office work.
 “There has not been even a single week which has gone without restrictions in the summer Capital. Things decline to get back to normal,” said a senior official in the Higher Education department.
 A college professor said government was trying to give a “rosy picture of the situation by imposing curfews.”
 “There’s no real peace anywhere. It’s only being enforced through curfews which ultimately affect our economy, tourism sector and of course the education of our youth,” said the professor requesting not to be named.

 Sources said the recruitment of new staff would take around a month to complete. “It’s is not an easy task to conduct written exams of over 7000 candidates and then their counseling also takes considerable time… This all will take at least a month to complete,” the source said.
 Principal of a City based degree college endorsed the views. “New classes are starting from the coming week. But we don’t have requisite staff in place. Class work is bound to suffer,” he added.
 Experts said the “best way out of the problem was to decentralize the recruitment process.”
 “In the prevalent conditions every district should have its own nodal office rather than keeping everything centered to Srinagar, which is more often under siege,” said an academician.
 “How can you bank on a place which has been under curfew most of the times since February?” he questioned.

 The government however has its own take on the issue.  Officials claimed that process would be finalized within days.
 “We have pool of eligible candidates who have already worked. They don’t need to appear in exams. We’ll start their conselling from next week,” the nodal officer of the degree colleges and Principal Amar Singh College, Prof MY Pirzada told Greater Kashmir.
 “Meanwhile,” he added “We’ll also conduct written exams of the remaining lot and come out with results.”
 “Moreover class work has not commenced as yet in any of the colleges. So till now nobody has suffered,” he added.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST

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