Reflecting the non-seriousness of the authorities in School Education Department, more than 100 higher secondary schools continue to remain headless in Kashmir.
More than 30 zones are also without permanent heads while as two posts of Chief Education Officer (CEO) are unfilled for past many months. The CEO posts are vacant in Kupwara and Kulgam districts.
The delay in filling these key positions has hampered the day to day affairs in higher secondary schools as well as in offices at zonal and district level.
An official in civil secretariat said the post of principal in 6 out of 10 District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) in Kashmir are vacant and the offices are managed by equivalent rank official as their additional assignment. The DIETs have been rendered headless at a time when the department is making tall claims of undertaking teacher-training programmes for in-service teachers.
“The charges of principals in headless higher secondary schools have been assigned to principals of other higher secondary schools. But it is not humanly possible for one person to manage two critical jobs. This adhocism mars the functioning of the department at ground level,” the official said.
Even if the vacant posts are managed by officials as their additional charge, the department has not given drawing and disbursing powers to them due to which the salary of staff and other financial work gets hampered.
“In Anantnag district around 10 higher secondary schools are managed by officials as their additional charge. They only run the administration without DDO powers. The salary of teaching as well non-teaching staff has not been released for past three months,” said a lecturer posted in higher secondary school in Verinag, Anantnag.
“Same is the case in higher secondary schools in Kupwara and Baramulla district where officials run the administration of headless higher secondary schools but are without DDO powers,” an official said.
In Kupwara district, the CEO post is vacant for last more than one month due to which the salary bills and other financial work in the district has been adversely hit.
“The allotment of funds for salary of teachers has been delayed due to which the teachers have not received salary of November,” the official said. He said the Zonal Educational Offices have prepared the allotment as per the requirement in their respective zones. “But the post of CEO is vacant and no official has been given DDO powers to sign the bills and other allotments,” he said.
The officials in the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) said they have submitted the proposal for posting of heads of institutions and officers at district and zonal level.
“But the filling of vacant post of higher secondary school principals, CEOs and ZEOs are delayed by administrative department. The department neither assigns DDO powers to other equivalent rank officials nor they fill these positions on permanent heads,” an official said.
Secretary School Education Department, Sarita Chauhan, said the department was aware about the issue and DDO powers were being assigned to the officials.
“Assigning DDO powers to officials is given priority. We are doing it wherever we get the possibility of assigning these powers to officials,” she said.
About the vacant posts of CEOs and ZEOs, she said the department was working on it and the vacancies would be filled within three to four days.
“It can take maximum one week but all these vacancies will be filled,” she assured.