Building a case for Conflict Studies

Respected Sir,

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

In 2008, the Centre for International Peace and Conflict Studies (CIPACS) was established at Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), becoming the only university in Jammu and Kashmir to offer a peace and conflict studies master’s program. The centre aimed to train students in policy-oriented research which could be relevant for policy makers and organisations.

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

For any centre or department, its trained graduates become asset whose professional and academic achievements are showcased with pride. However, we are a cohort of more than 200 postgraduates who, having completed their master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations (Peace and Conflict Studies) from IUST and other universities, not only find it difficult to get jobs, especially in colleges and universities, but even the centre where we studied has not once recruited any of its pass-outs for a contractual position, even when some of us have requisite qualifications such as NET/JRF and PhD. Though, the centre has tried to raise our grievances with the authorities and amicably resolve the problems but to no avail. It remains within the ambit and powers of the state government to resolve the issue and find a pragmatic solution.

On average, we have spent over 2 lakh rupees on these courses, and not to mention the sheer hard work and time that has gone into finishing these courses. We had expectations and believed that through a postgrad degree we would be able realise our potentials. Many of us want to make a career in higher education. But as of now we are left in the lurch, with no support from the government.

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

1.            The Department of Higher Education declare us eligible to teach in colleges and universities of Jammu and Kashmir.

2.            The Hon’ble High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has recently issued orders to the Higher Education Department to make fresh academic arrangements. Our applications be accepted during the Higher Education Department’s upcoming notification for engagement of contractual academic staff at college level.

3.            The Department of Higher Education (J&K Government) introduce Peace and Conflict Studies at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, like in many universities and countries around the world. Having intellectual training and skills to analyse dynamics of conflicts and peacebuilding will give the young students of Kashmir a broader perspective on politics, as well as prepare them very early on in analytical thinking.

4.            Like International and Area Studies, our subject Peace and Conflict Studies too be acknowledged as a separate course and included in the list of papers for NET/SLET exams.

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

Thank you

Yours Sincerely,

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