Srinagar: The appointment of a Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) officer as Secretary, J&K Board of School Education (JKBOSE), is a sane decision that the government has taken “for the first time”, the KAS Officers’ Association said Monday, and any criticism of the decision “based on conjecture is, by itself, politics”.
Special Secretary, Higher Education Department, Riyaz Ahmad was appointed Secretary, JKBOSE, by the Governor N N Vohra-led government on Saturday.
Quoting some teachers’ associations, however, a report in the local print media Sunday said that the post was supposed to be meant for academics only.
Welcoming Riyaz’s appointment to the top post at JKBOSE, President, KAS Officers’ Association, Tasadduq Hussain Mir said that they “appreciate” the decision by the Vohra-led government.
Although Mir minced words over the teachers’ associations criticising the appointment, the association’s Vice President, Anil Sharma said that the criticism of the move was “uncalled-for” and a “criticism only for the sake of criticism”.
“Any criticism based on conjecture is, by itself, politics,” Sharma remarked.
Calling Riyaz a “wonderful officer”, Sharma suggested that the officer be given “time to prove himself”.
“Why should you have preconceived notions against anybody? He is one of the best you could have sent (to the JKBOSE),” Sharma added.
The appointment of an administrator like Riyaz to the JKBOSE, Sharma hoped, will help to “look into issues much more clearly and in a better way”.
“Academics apart, when it comes to administration, it will bring impartiality and fairness in the board’s working,” Sharma said of Riyaz’s appointment.
By appointing a KAS officer as Secretary, JKBOSE, the state government has “for the first time done something sane as the secretary post is an administrative one,” a KAS officer posted in the civil secretariat, felt.
“What administration will a college teacher handle who has been confined to teaching all his life?” the officer questioned.
The officer even felt that the appointment of academics to the JKBOSE so far had been happening “against rules”.
“Appointing secretary to the JKBOSE is the prerogative of the GAD (General Administration Department). It is for the GAD to choose between an academic and an administrative officer. So far, they used to appoint academics to the post. This time around, they felt it prudent to appoint an administrator to the post,” argued the officer.
As on date, the KAS officer said that there was a debate over “appointing KAS officers even as Chief Education Officers”.
At the JKBOSE, certain elements had been taking the academics appointed to the board “for a ride” and would “make them dance to their tunes,” alleged the officer.
“Neither did the appointees (the academics) know of any administration,” he added.
“Because of this, there has been a regression in the board’s affairs. The standard has only gone towards worse,” rued the officer.
The officer suggested that the new secretary be given time to prove his worth.
“The board should at least let him work on trial basis. They can frame an opinion later,” he said.
The officer went on to allege that the criticism of a KAS officer’s appointment to the JKBOSE is because a particular academic “fears his replacement through this decision. Feeling that an administrative officer was better positioned to be appointed to the JKBOSE, a KAS officer said, “Academics do not have exposure to administration, not even at the smallest level.”
“And when you suddenly thrust him in to the chair, it is purely administration there,” added the officer.
A top official in the JKBOSE, though wishing anonymity, termed the appointment of a KAS officer as an “intrusion” into the “autonomous” board.
Director Academics JKBOSE, Farooq Peer was made in-charge Secretary of the JKBOSE by the School Education Department last month.
After the appointment of the then Secretary JKBOSE, Veena Pandita, as the board’s full-time Chairperson earlier this year, G N Itoo, the Director School Education also held the post before Peer.