In Kashmir, teachers man non-teaching jobs!

It’s a messy state of affairs, to put it in a nutshell. The school education department has failed to undertake re-organisation of non-teaching and ministerial staff in the department since 1989, forcing deputation of teachers for the non-teaching jobs. A senior official said almost all the non-teaching posts were vacant in the offices of Chief Education Officer (CEOs) and Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) which has now led to crises in the department. Over the years, the department has been deputing teachers for manning the non-teaching posts which continues to evoke widespread criticism. Though the CEOs and ZEOs have been time and again directed to relieve the teachers engaged in non-teaching assignments in their offices, the orders have never been implemented on the ground. “We have no option but to continue with the practice. The sanctioned strength of the staff in the CEOs offices has not been filled till date owing to which the officers utilise services of teachers,” said the official. Not only in the offices but the crises is prevalent in the schools as well wherein most of non-teaching posts are lying vacant. “We are facing this problem majorly in those schools which were upgraded during past few years,” the official said.

During the up gradation of the schools, the department gives preference to creation of teaching posts only. “That is why we find teachers doing clerical job in most of the schools. The department gives least preference to filling these non-teaching posts in the schools as well as the offices,” the official said. Since the inception of various centrally sponsored schemes, the workload in CEOs offices has increased manifold but the dearth of staff in the office is believed to be the one of the basic reasons for poor implementation of the schemes. Another official said the workload has increased because the CEOs offices have to report to district administrators, State project director (SPD) Smagara (erstwhile SSA and RMSA) and the directorate of school education Kashmir (DSEK). “The SPD has to be regularly updated with learning outcomes and status of other components of centrally sponsored schemes. The CEO office has to also update the directorate with the overall functioning of the office in terms of academics and administration. For all this, the requisite manpower is not available in offices,” the official said. While the authorities have allowed the deputation of teachers for manning non-teaching jobs it has a direct impact on the academics in schools. “The government can’t overcome this problem unless the sanctioned strength in offices is filled,” the official said. Sample this: In CEO office of Bandipora, the post of assistant director planning is vacant for past many years. Besides, positions of two head assistants, accountant assistant and junior assistant are also vacant. There are two sections in each CEO office in Kashmir – establishment section and planning section. In both the section of all offices there is dearth of staff. “We are managing the posts either by deputing teachers to the offices or by assigning additional charges to the staff there,” the CEO Bandipora said.

The situation in the office of CEO Kupwara is no different where two posts each of statistical assistant and assistant accountant, a post each of accountant, stenographer, head assistant, junior assistant and senior assistant are lying vacant. “We manage the work through internal arrangement in office or depute teachers for the job,” said CEO Kupwara, Muhammad Shafi War. Already, litigation cell, cultural wing, monitoring wing and ICT laboratory are looked after by teachers in these offices. “These cells are managed by teachers on rotation basis who are deputed from schools for tenure of two to three years,” the CEO Kupwara said. “Deputing teachers for non-teaching jobs is totally wrong. But we have no option than to keep them in our office because clerical and other posts are vacant,” an official in CEO office Baramulla said. While the department has ignored filling the posts, the prolonged attachment of teachers in offices has resulted in academic crises in educational institutions wherein the students often hit streets over dearth of teachers, particularly in rural areas. Secretary School Education Department, Sarita Chauhan said all the vacant posts in CEOs offices “will be filled”. “We will collect the details of vacancies and fill the posts soon,” she said.