With fake universities and their study centres taking root all over India, Jammu and Kashmir has been comparatively spared from the onslaught due to stringent conditions set by state constitution.
The certificates granted by outside universities are already playing havoc with academic as well as office work. "People don't know how to write a letter and suddenly they are appointed as teachers or administrators," said Dr Shafiq Ahmad, Incharge officer Jammu, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU). "All over India, there have been an explosion of universities and distance education study centres. There is complete lack of oversight on them."
"In case of Jammu and Kashmir, the study centres have to seek permission from government to establish their institute here due to laws prevalent here. This has prevented everybody from establishing their study centres here," he further said.
Due to stringent rules only two regional centres (MANUU and IGNOU) have been allowed to establish their centres here. "We had to move our files for around six months to get the approval to establish a regional centre here," said Shafiq. "There are two things-Regional Centre and Study centre. The regional centre controls the academic function and acts as monitoring centre for the latter, the study centres. This keeps a check on the quality of education."
Currently any university can start a study centre in any state except JK, which further fuels the degradation of education sector. "Had there been no provision under Article 370, there would have been rush of study centres here, churning degrees at record rate," said Shafiq. "Whatever study centres here are, they are all illegal as they have not acquired the required permission from higher education. Outside the state we have no control and student getting degrees be it regular or distance need to be screened."
As of now, government only approves degrees from those institutes who have both regional centre as well as study centre established in the state. "Our university MANUU, IGNOU and Kashmir University are approved due to the meeting of such conditions," said Shafiq. "As of now we don't known, but same rule applies for the forthcoming screening test of teachers."
Experts say that the degree from outside institutes have imbalanced the entire education setup in the state. "We are in a dire situation. The students move outside and come back with degrees with marks as high as 97 percents. The recruiting agencies usually consider these marks and our students, despite being far more intelligent fail to get the posts," said Prof Musadiq, registrar KU. "Call it our tradition or our academic standard, but at KU, professors at the most usually don't give marks in excess of 80 percents. Outside students even get 96 percent in English language subject which is even impossible for a Britisher."
"If the recruitment continues to be taken on the basis of marks percentage, the future will be nightmarish for both academic and administration," said Shafiq.
The recent controversy over screening test of teachers has its genesis in these fake certificates too. "The particular teacher who was unable to write an essay on cow had got his degree from some of these fake universities outside. Only one person was caught just imagine what others would be doing at schools with such degrees," said Shafiq.
According to the prescribed rules under government order number 252-HE of 2012, only degrees among universities of IGNOU, MANUU and KU fulfill the criteria.