Srinagar, Jan 6: Amid the row over the validity of degrees obtained through distance mode, the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Tasaduq Hussain Mir on Friday evening issued a clarification noting that the government equally recognizes degrees obtained through distance or regular mode subject to conditions issued by the department from time to time.
Talking to Greater Kashmir he said a debate has started among the stakeholders over the validity of the degrees obtained by the in-service teachers from distance mode.
Notably, the debate started after a letter was issued by the Joint Director education on December 28 of 2022 to 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.
“It is to inform that the Administrative Department has conveyed that the degrees obtained through distance mode in Science Stream (Environmental Science) cannot be considered valid for the purposes of seniority and promotion,” reads the document.
The DSEK however said the letter has been withdrawn to clear the confusion among teachers.
"We withdraw the letter and want to clarify that our intention was to inform the teachers that any degree to be acquired should be obtained after getting proper approval from the department," DSEK said.
Notably, the DSEK statement came hours after the Regional Director IGNOU Srinagar on Friday issued a statement noting that all the Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates issued by the University were duly recognised by University Grants Commission (UGC).
The Regional Director Dr. Shahnawaz Ahmad Dar in a statement said that all the programs offered by IGNOU including the MSCENV were duly recognized by UGC and in terms of the decision taken by UGC in its 550th meeting.
“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," he said.
He said that all the Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates awarded by IGNOU are recognized by all the member institutions of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) and are at par with the corresponding Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates issued by all Indian or Deemed Universities or Institutions.
"IGNOU offers two programs in Environmental studies viz. Masters of Science in Environmental and Master of Arts in Environmental Studies. The Masters of Science program is having a laboratory course of 4-credits in the first three semesters and dissertation or project of an 8-credit course in fourth semester as compulsory courses to complete the degree,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DSEK said that the government equally considers the degrees obtained through distance or regular mode subject to the conditions as issued by the government from time to time.
"These include fulfillment of the conditions as laid down in government order 940 which includes UGC recognition, approval of the Education council to the institution and above all the permission from the competent authorities," the DSEK said.
He said the in-service teachers aspiring to pursue higher qualification (through distance mode) should apply for leave if they intend to attend the campus of the University for practical classes.
"The teacher cannot simultaneously pursue the course and withdraw the salary. It is against the rules," he said.
He said the teachers who want to pursue their higher studies from the Universities outside J&K UT need concurrence from the finance department and the approval of the General Administration Department (GAD).
"Then only the education department can issue the permission in accordance with these conditions. The higher qualification pursued by the teachers is beneficial but the degree should be obtained after getting proper approval and permission from the competent authorities," the DSEK said.