This is in response to Sajad Padder's write-up "Research in Colleges" published in GK on 12 Feb. 2018. His point is in the backdrop of recently released order by the state government which reads as "The Higher Education Department of J&K via order no. 77-HE of 2018 dated 08-02-2018 authorized college assistant/associate professors to act as research guides''. The news spread like wildfire on social networking sites followed by a furious debate revolving around whether the college teachers could manage to act as research guides. KUTA (Kashmir University teachers association) and JUTA (Jammu University Teachers Association) lost no time in making the public statement of immediate revocation of the said order which they unanimously call would be in the best interest of academics and research.
As such my point is directed both to the author, who is batting for the Research in Colleges and the government which has issued this order. The author who incidentally happens to be a teacher at college has vehemently based his argument in favour of college-based research in J&K. Well, he has tried to draw a discriminative line by proclaiming that university teachers are looking at college teachers as inferior lot – "elitism". He added that 'where does this come from' and maintained that, "the college teachers also need to enhance their API's like the university teachers."
I seriously fail to comprehend which measuring scale the author has used to find it out that 'he and rest of the college teachers' in the state are being looked down upon as inferiors by University teachers. There 'maybe' some problems in the behaviour of a minuscule section of University teachers who might regard themselves as 'elites' but this is not true of a whole lot. Ironically, the author has miserably failed to dissect things objectively as he has left no stone unturned in painting unfairly the whole University teacher community. This is seriously unfortunate on his part. I wonder, what makes him not to talk about those college teachers who too are the worshippers of what he called 'teacher elitism' and who suffer from this 'teacher hierarchical bias' by treating HSE or elementary school teachers inferior.
In the very next argument, the author increases confusion by invoking the API score card for the promotion of college teachers. He seems to be running more after promotion than the excellence in research. No one has any problem with his/their promotion but all this must not be at the cost of the career of research scholars. The meticulous readings of his article suggest a saner reader that he pledges to fight more for the promotion than any other things. I earnestly suggest the author that there are numerous other means by which he can attain promotion; by publishing scholarly research papers in reputed international peer-reviewed journals, participate in UGC/ICHR/ICSSR sponsored International Conferences and Seminars, and publishing academic books through well-known publications and so on. There is nothing like shortcut method(s) of becoming Professor overnight from the position of an Assistant Professor.
In the article, the author firstly has discordantly tried to compare Kashmir colleges with the rest of the Indian colleges and secondly has suggested of starting research programmes. However, he forgets that the colleges in Kashmir are far behind when the line of questing is all about research. His write-up has raised a basic question of what is the scope of research in our colleges. Although I am the product of one of the colleges in north Kashmir and have experienced a lot, how strong the work culture is prevailing over there as an institution. What actually sizzled me is that how a person could stress for the implementation of a research programme in colleges when he himself is aware of the lack of basic structures over there. When you don't have the proper library system and laboratory mechanism, how could your fanciful dreams of research in colleges are supposed to get fulfilled? The author should not pretend to be innocent about a section of college teachers who merely see their job as 'money earning machine'. In this sorry state of affairs when the basic syllabus of students is not completed, I wonder how these teachers could do justice to the research programmes. Furthermore, it seems a flight of fanciful idea to think about the research in our colleges when they are mostly over jammed with contractual or Ad hoc teachers with less or no experience of research at all. The selection criteria and the process of JKPSC adds more dilemmas.
The author surprisingly makes a low-key point by demonstrating that, "there's a clear disconnection between state universities and the colleges which were on full display during the recent UG level exams where several exams had to be postponed due to bad management and lack of coordination & cooperation." I am amazed how could he suggest and stress to implement the research programmes when he is aware about all the condition of our colleges. Are we going to make these colleges what we generally call in Kashmir as "Bhopali colleges?" I wish, rather pray, this dream of the respected author not to be fulfilled for the greater cause.
Postscript: Before starting research in different colleges of the state, it's mandatory to build infrastructure in the form of laboratories, libraries and other necessary arrangements. Without all this, it will be useless exercise to start research work in colleges. The government must give a second thought before its implementation. After all, it is not all about the promotion and producing PhD's. Our academician's, intellectuals both in colleges and Universities along with civil society group should come forward and should not hesitate to call spade a spade. I hope good sense prevail, the sooner, the better.
Author is a Doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University.