Building a case for Conflict Studies

An Open Letter to Mr Khurshid A. Ganai, Hon’ble Advisor to Governor Jammu and Kashmir
Building a case for Conflict Studies

Respected Sir,

We write on behalf of the cohort of candidates having degreesin Peace and Conflict Studies from Islamic University of Science andTechnology, Awantipora.

In 2008, the Centre for International Peace and ConflictStudies (CIPACS) was established at Islamic University of Science andTechnology (IUST), becoming the only university in Jammu and Kashmir to offer apeace and conflict studies master's program. The centre aimed to train studentsin policy-oriented research which could be relevant for policy makers andorganisations.

In 2012, the nomenclature of the program was changed fromInternational Peace and Conflict Studies to International Relations (Peace andConflict Studies), keeping in view the problems that the pass-outs with theInternational Peace and Conflict Studies degree faced in the field: for example,their applications were initially rejected for PhD entrance exams at KashmirUniversity; their applications for teaching posts at Central University ofKashmir were rejected for being 'ineligible', citing "PG not in relevantsubject" as the reason (ref: CUK, Employment Notification No. 16 of 2015Dated:07-10-2015 & 01 of 2014 dated 24-01-2014).

For any centre or department, its trained graduates becomeasset whose professional and academic achievements are showcased with pride.However, we are a cohort of more than 200 postgraduates who, having completedtheir master's degree in International Peace and Conflict Studies andInternational Relations (Peace and Conflict Studies) from IUST and otheruniversities, not only find it difficult to get jobs, especially in collegesand universities, but even the centre where we studied has not once recruitedany of its pass-outs for a contractual position, even when some of us haverequisite qualifications such as NET/JRF and PhD. Though, the centre has triedto raise our grievances with the authorities and amicably resolve the problemsbut to no avail. It remains within the ambit and powers of the state governmentto resolve the issue and find a pragmatic solution.

On average, we have spent over 2 lakh rupees on thesecourses, and not to mention the sheer hard work and time that has gone intofinishing these courses. We had expectations and believed that through apostgrad degree we would be able realise our potentials. Many of us want tomake a career in higher education. But as of now we are left in the lurch, withno support from the government.

Dear Sir, in the light of the above-mentioned facts, werequest you to kindly take a considerate look at our issues and please initiateredressal of our problems, which we have outlined above. Specifically, we wantthe following points to be considered:

1.            TheDepartment of Higher Education declare us eligible to teach in colleges anduniversities of Jammu and Kashmir.

2.            TheHon'ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has recently issued orders to theHigher Education Department to make fresh academic arrangements. Ourapplications be accepted during the Higher Education Department's upcomingnotification for engagement of contractual academic staff at college level.

3.            TheDepartment of Higher Education (J&K Government) introduce Peace andConflict Studies at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, like in manyuniversities and countries around the world. Having intellectual training andskills to analyse dynamics of conflicts and peacebuilding will give the youngstudents of Kashmir a broader perspective on politics, as well as prepare themvery early on in analytical thinking.

4.            LikeInternational and Area Studies, our subject Peace and Conflict Studies too beacknowledged as a separate course and included in the list of papers forNET/SLET exams.

We look forward to hearing from you, and anticipate throughyour kind intervention some serious resolution of our grievances

Thank you

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Shakoor Ahmad, Dr Mohammad Tahir, Waseem Ahmad (PhDCandidate), Tariq Ahmad (PhD candidate) on and behalf of the appellants

Contact: mtahirfiraz@gmail.com

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