Srinagar, Feb 17: Amid the row over the validity of degrees obtained through distance mode, a top official of the School Education Department (SED) has clarified that only distance degrees obtained without proper permission from the competent authorities are invalid.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Principal Secretary SED, Alok Kumar said the department in its fresh order has referred to Government Order No.940-Edu of 2017 and it has nothing to do with distance education per se.
The issue about the validity of the distance mode degrees has once again come to limelight after the SED in its fresh order rejected the claim of the petitioners for their inclusion in the seniority list of Environmental Science discipline and consequent claim for promotion to the post of Lecturer Environmental Sciences.
The candidates had approached the High Court with a writ petition praying for promotion benefits as lecturer in Environmental Science in accordance with the seniority on the available posts and newly created Higher secondary Schools, in which distribution of posts was done by the field agencies in different subjects including Environmental science.
The Department has rejected the claim of the petitioners while in compliance with the judgment dated August 20 of 2018, having regard to the Government Order No. 252-HE of 2021 dated May 30 of 2012, Government Order No.940-Edu of 2017, SRO 339 dated December 20 of 2012 and other rules and regulations governing the field.
“It has been found that the claim of the petitioners does not merit consideration based upon the observations and findings and as such the claim of the petitioners for their inclusion in the seniority list of Environmental Science discipline and consequent claim for promotion to the post of Lecturer Environmental Sciences is hereby rejected,” reads an order issued by the Principal Secretary SED, Alok Kumar.
The order further reads that the degree obtained through Distance Mode either in Environmental Sciences or Ecology and Environment perused in contravention to the provisions and conditions laid down in Government Order number 252-HE of 2021, Government Order number 940-Edu of 2017 and other rules governing the field cannot be considered valid for the purposes of seniority and promotion.
The order created chaos among the stakeholders and questions were raised over validity of the degrees obtained through distance mode.
In wake of this, the Regional Director IGNOU Srinagar Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmad Dar issued a statement noting that all the Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates issued by the University were duly recognised by University Grants Commission (UGC).
“All the programs offered by IGNOU including the MSCENV (MSC Environmental Science) were duly recognized by UGC and in terms of the decision taken by UGC in its 550th meeting,” he said, adding that the UGC has exempted IGNOU from applicability of UGC (Open and Distance Learning programs and Online Programs) Regulations, 2020 from academic session 2020-2021 and onwards.
The Principal Secretary SED further said the people have created confusion by selective reading of the order.
“People should read the order properly because selective reading of the order creates confusion unnecessarily,” Alok Kumar said.
On validity of the distance mode degrees he said the official who had issued a communication declaring distance mode degrees invalid was attached and suspended by the department.
The SED in January ordered for attachment of in-charge Joint Director Elementary Education (EE) over ‘mis-presentation of facts’ regarding validity of Post-graduate degrees obtained through distance mode.
“In view of the mis-presentation of the facts and departments stand regarding PG Degrees acquired through Distance Mode vide communication No. DSEK/EstIII/B-Trs/NZ/TS/1172/2022/5762, dated December 31 of 2022 of DSEK, Shamas-ud- Din, in-charge Joint Director, Elementary Education (EE) DSEK is hereby attached with the Administrative Department with immediate effect,” the order reads.
As already reported, the Joint Director on December 28 of 2022 told Chief Education Officer (CEO) Baramulla that the degrees obtained through distance mode in Science subjects will not be considered for promotion or seniority.
The letter was issued to the CEO in response to an application of an RReT teacher seeking permission for pursuing PG in Environmental Science through IGNOU.
As already reported by this newspaper, the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Tasaduq Hussain earlier also clarified that the government equally recognizes degrees obtained through distance or regular mode subject to conditions issued by the department from time to time.
The statement was issued to clear the confusion among stakeholders over the validity of the degrees obtained by the in-service teachers from distance mode.