A very warm Good Morning to you, Sir. Hope this message finds you in very good spirits. I want to begin with this quote of H. L. Mencken that “It is a little inaccurate to say, I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency.” I retain my sincere faith in the credibility of the institutions that we are a part of. It is in the same spirit that I have chosen to write to your esteemed self via an open platform. Today, India is managing one of the largest higher education systems in the world with UGC (University Grants Commission) as its backbone. We are only next to the United States and China in publicly funding the higher education system. The UGC is the only grant-giving agency vested with twin responsibilities of providing funds on one hand and maintaining the standards in institutions of higher learning on the other hand.
These standards have been enhanced and enforced by its regulations from time to time, the most recent being of 2010 superseded by those of 2016 and further in 2018. The teaching fraternity, the research scholars as well as the aspirants of college and University positions are strongly desirous of implementation of the most recent UGC regulations of 2018 in toto across all institutions of higher learning in J&K. These regulations are in vogue everywhere but partially here, for an eliminated reason called “370”.
Whileas the cause is away, the effect still remains, which is quite unfortunate. It is needless to mention that higher education contributes to national development through dissemination of specialized knowledge and skill and provides the potential human resource to the nation. This sector in J&K is truly in need of an overhaul in terms of the existing central protocol provided by the UGC. Whereas the teachers have a discretionary responsibility in this regard, the executive has no less. While enjoying immunity from the laws of Indian mainland, the manner of appointment and career advancement in higher education in J&K usually did not take the proper course.
As for instance, in 2011, a unique advertisement notification of its kind was brought out, setting such minimal eligibility criteria for appointment of assistant professors in three disciplines as were never held before, neither after. One may not directly allege but apprehend it to be a favour to the blue-eyed candidates. Many more examples of such kind can be found outside my range of age and experience, if one chooses to verify. Similarly, one wants to ask, why did some of our fore bearers need court orders to justify their appointments unless fishy. The career advancement scheme makes no distinction it is supposed to make in terms of higher qualification, sense of competition or research profile or academic contributions of teachers in terms of UGC 2018 regulations. The performers and non-performers move ahead, alike.
This is highly demotivating for the teachers with a zeal for research and innovation. The most recent brazen violation of UGC regulations in J&K came in the form of SRO-243 of 2018, taking away the monetary incentives and making all placements notional from the said date. This has especially come as a huge set back to the fresh entrants.
While as the system extended full service benefits to the non-UGC clouded people, it took away the same for the UGC enabled lot, which is an irony. It is requested that you may kindly look into these matters and in fact many more, pertaining to superannuation and order of administrative hierarchy in this department. Hope the letter is well taken.
Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Govt College for Women, M.A. Road Srinagar
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.