It is a privilege to be a teacher. We all celebrate being teachers who are able to teach what we have acquired, learned and understood to the best of our ability and satisfaction.
The service of teachers and of education department is being taken for granted. This is exemplified by the hastily drafted new job policy by the present ruling party which has been an instrument of injustice to the newly appointed lecturers who as per this new job policy will be given minimum basic salary for five years and have to serve in zone III of Jammu and kashmir for five years. While lecturers are appointed by premier recruiting agency of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission and fall under gazzeted posts category. While other services like Kashmir administrative service, Kashmir judicial service etc have been left out of this SRO (SRO-202 of 2015) which amounts to insult and disgrace lecturers and medicos.
Point is why lecturers and medicos are treated like this when even if it was mandatory to implement this policy, lecturers and Medicos should have been left out given the vital role they have in hand towards the society. Earlier lecturers had to serve for one year in hard zone (zone III) and then after they were promoted in service. Salary is typically determined by comparing market pay rates for people performing similar work in similar industries in the same region. Salary is also determined by leveling the pay rates and salary ranges established by an individual employer. Salary is also affected by the number of people available to perform the specific job in the employer's employment locale. Therefore looking at the shooting prices of commodities, inflation in labour market and recommendations of pay commission attempt should have been to hike the pay not to slash it with more than 200% this lacks rationale and reason why to inflict atrocities on these new recruits.
Now policy makers ought to have left it voluntary for lecturers to serve in hard zone (Zone III) and compensated it by giving them additional wages to meet their expenses while serving there. Here the case is reverse on the one hand they are forced to work in zone III and also the pay is minimum amount of their total pay. Those who applied and qualified the screening and interview for these posts are highly qualified having merit, Ph.D, M.Phil, NET/SET/SLET, research publications and experience.
We all know in acquiring these attributes there goes huge investment of time and money besides burning mid night oil. After achieving so much at a huge cost when one meets such fate it demonizes and discourages not just the individual but all those people who are associated with him, the family, the friends and the students who are following the same trodden path. Cabinet while framing this policy ought to have taken in consideration various demerits associated with this flawed policy. Firstly, why discriminate with these highly eligible, talented and qualified people. If it was a matter of extra burden on the states exchequer which it definitely is not, how does the government justify more than 100% hike in the salary and other allowances of legislators that too approving it without taking any one on board and doing it willfully. Secondly, how it holds it correct to exempt all other services from the said discriminatory SRO because all the appointees in those services get full salary and there is no such issue like serving in hard zone (zone III). Thirdly, government may be flexible in its modalities of job policies but those appointed lecturers in the gazzeted post will certainly have inferiority complex and low self belief leading to identity crises in that scenario how will they conduct themselves leave aside leading others and teaching leadership qualities to others.
Lecturers need to be given rightful place in workforce so that they could have consistency of thought, a long term vision in their chosen field of work to ensure they work with and transfer to others the values of core integrity and courage to stand for others. The need is for setting the direction right and aligning this work force to commit themselves to serve the common cause. The new recruits should be encouraged to serve this department with fresh zeal and zest, energy, innovations, breaking the stereotypes and beaten track of traditional teaching only, these are mentors and counselors and should be held with esteem; these should be entrusted with the job of transforming this valley into a competent knowledge society which will be globally recognized for its educational, information and knowledge capital. A little trivia goes like while hiring for job men are recruited on perceived potential. We should demand rightful place for these skilled designers of the society. Respect, recognition, realization are cornerstone to personal growth and career advancement and to keep yourself motivated. We all understand that the biological clock and career clock are in absolute conflict with each other. Your age and eligibility decide whether the recruiting agency will take you in or write you off. And given the scarcity of jobs we all know how hard it is to find a job here. Now we get a job at an age when we have to raise a family, when we have to look after young children and sometimes take on the responsibility of ageing parents.
The fact is that we don't make jobs lucrative for lecturers to stay energetic for long time into the job. To remain consciously focused, let the job be interesting enough to hold your attention, let the job challenge you, and take the best out of you.
(Showket Akhoon is Ph.D Research Scholar (JRF-SERB DST) from the Department of Chemistry, University of Kashmir.)