Srinagar: The School Education Department (SED) is facing an acute shortage of non-teaching staff in the district and zonal level offices, leading to the deputation of teachers in offices to man clerical jobs.
Even after the repeated circular instructions issued by the department, the deputation of teachers continues in offices at the district and zonal level as the offices are running short of manpower.
A top official said there has been no re-organisation of the non-teaching and ministerial staff in the department since 1989 “which has led to the deputation of teachers to handle non-teaching jobs in offices.
“Various posts are vacant in the office of Chief Education Officer (CEOs) and Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) which has now led to a crisis in the department,” the official said.
Over the years, the department has been deputing teachers to man non-teaching posts which continues to evoke widespread criticism.
“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 the teachers,” the official said.
Not only in the offices but the crisis is prevalent in the schools as well where most of the non-teaching posts are lying vacant.
“We are facing this problem majorly in those schools which were upgraded during the past few years under the erstwhile RMSA scheme,” the official said.
The official said that during the upgradation of the schools, the department sanctioned one post each of Junior Assistant and Laboratory Attendant for these schools but the schools are still waiting to get these posts filled.
“This is the only reason we find teachers doing clerical jobs in most schools. No doubt there are some instances where some blue-eyed teachers get adjusted in offices irrespective of their need but in most of the offices, we have a dearth of non-teaching staff,” the official said.
Notably, the workload in CEO offices and ZEO offices has increased manifold since the inception of various centrally-sponsored schemes.
“Workload has increased because the CEO offices have to report to district administrators, Project Director Samagra, and the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK),” the official said.
There are two sections in each CEO office in Kashmir – Establishment Section and Planning Section - but almost every office has a dearth of staff in these sections.
“We are managing the posts either by deputing teachers to the offices or by assigning additional charges to the staff already posted there,” said one of the CEOs wishing not to be named.
Amid the dearth of non-teaching staff in offices, the SED a few years ago froze all the posts of Junior Assistants to adjust SSA teachers as Grade II and Grade III teachers in the department.
Around 428 posts of Junior Assistants were frozen which deprived the appointment of around 300 candidates as Junior Assistants in the department.
President of All Department Clerical Staff Association (ADCSA), Jeelani Naik said, “These candidates were selected through SSRB.”
He said that the SED accorded sanction to freeze around 423 posts of Junior Assistants “which is a grave injustice with the non-teaching cadres.”
Naik said that the department witnesses poor implementation of orders for relieving teaching staff from non-teaching assignments due to the dearth of non-teaching staff in offices.
“We urge the department that all frozen non-teaching posts may kindly be restored and available supernumerary posts and available vacancy of teacher posts may be utilised to absorb Grade II and Grade III teachers,” he said.
Notably, the Class 4th employees of various districts who had already qualified their test for their promotion as Junior Assistants, Library Assistants, Laboratory Assistants, and placement of Junior Assistants, Senior Assistants, and Head Assistants were delayed as well.
“The promotion and posting orders are awaited because the department has frozen all junior assistant posts,” he said.
Advisor to Lieutenant Governor Rajiv Rai Batnagar told Greater Kashmir that the matter would be discussed with the Principal Secretary SED.
“We will see what needs to be done to address the problem,” he said. “I have not studied the matter as of now, but I will take up the matter with the Secretary to ascertain what the actual problem is and what needs to be done.”