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In-service teachers pursuing B.Ed courses at Govt College of Education face attendance shortage

Srinagar: In a startling revelation, most of the in-service teachers of the School Education Department (SED) deputed to the Government College of Education Srinagar for BEd programme are facing a severe shortage of attendance.

This crisis has cast a shadow over their internal assessments and their ability to meet the Ministry of Education's mandate to enhance their teaching skills.

The core issue revolves around a group of in-service teachers who, despite being sent for training, rarely attend their BEd classes. These teachers, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity for professional development, are allegedly occupied with external activities.

As a result, they are falling short of the required attendance, jeopardizing their academic progress and the quality of education they can offer in the future.

The Ministry of Education's primary objective in deputing these in-service teachers for the BEd course was to equip them with essential teaching skills to enhance their effectiveness in classrooms.

"Until they complete this course, they are classified as untrained teachers by the Ministry of Education and the Education Department in the J&K as well," an official said.

However, it has come to light that a subset of these teachers is exploiting this opportunity to evade daily attendance obligations in schools, only to continue this pattern at the College of Education.

According to university regulations all candidates, whether students or in-service teachers, must maintain a minimum attendance of 75 percent to be eligible for examinations.

"Occasionally, the college may grant some leniency, allowing candidates with 50 percent attendance to sit for exams, provided they have genuine reasons for the shortfall," a college professor said.

However, some in-service teacher candidates have been found to have attendance records as low as 8 to 10 percent.

"This puts the college in a predicament, forcing them to detain these candidates due to non-compliance with attendance requirements," the professor said.

He said those not attending classes will graduate without acquiring the necessary skills to educate students effectively. "They are preoccupied with other activities and do not take their coursework seriously," he said.

The college currently maintains a biometric attendance system, making it virtually impossible to forge attendance records.

"The college certifies attendance for in-service candidates before their salaries are released, but we don't know whether the concerned DDOs consider our certifications or not. The college also reports instances of attendance shortages to the DSEK as well," he said.

An official from the college further revealed that the DSEK has been repeatedly informed about the attendance crisis among some in-service teachers.

"We requested the DSEK not to depute teachers who cannot commit to daily classes at the college. There are alternative methods, such as distance education, available for those unable to attend classes regularly," he said.

The college professor emphasized that adhering to attendance rules is vital for maintaining fairness and transparency while pointing out that in-service teachers who do not meet the attendance requirements not only compromise their own learning but also occupy seats that could be better utilized by candidates genuinely committed to their education.

"Even if we give extra relaxation to these shortage cases, other students who attend classes regularly approach the University authorities and other higher ups and complain against us which puts the college in trouble," he said.

Amid the issue, the Principal Government College of Education, MA road Srinagar has issued a notification with the directions to the teachers not to submit the internal assessment of the candidates, including in-service teachers, having shortage in attendance.

"The following students of BEd semester session 2023 are hereby detained in BEd 1st semester on account of shortage of attendance in regular class work. All the concerned teachers are directed not to submit their internal assessment in the examination section of the college," the notice reads.

Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Tasaduq Hussain Mir was not available for his comments despite repeated attempts.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Principal Government College of Education Prof. Seema Naaz said some in-service teachers have shortage of attendance and the department has been apprised about it. "We have set norms for the attendance as per University statutes," she said.

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