‘Not a favour, but a right’
Srinagar: With the traditional summer break in Valley schools already over, and with Kashmir University (KU) also announcing the same for its departments recently, colleges in the Valley complain that they are being “deprived” of summer vacations in the ongoing academic session by the Higher Education Department.
While schools in the Valley remained closed for the summer break from July 19 to 28, KU recently announced that it had scheduled the summer vacations for its departments from August 16 to 25. As academic work at the institutions was already two weeks past August 1, when the summer vacations usually commence, principals and teachers at the Valley colleges fear that the summer break might not be announced this year at all. They said that the department was even mulling to curtail the upcoming winter vacations in the Valley.
A senior college professor told Kashmir Reader that top officials in the Higher Education Department argue that there had been fewer working days at the colleges, which, as per the professor, “is not the case”.
“(Instead) The number of working days this academic session has been the highest in the last many years,” the professor claimed. Terming summer vacations as the “right of students and teachers”, president, College Teachers’ Association (CTA), Dr Tariq Ashai asked the Higher Education Department to announce the summer break.
While summer vacations were announced for other institutions, including schools and KU, Dr Ashai said that the Valley colleges were being “deprived” of the break. “If they curtail the vacations, the curtailed period should be credited into our service records,” Dr Ashai demanded.
“Unlike other non-vacation employees, a college teacher is not entitled to the earned leave of 12 months. If the government denies us the vacations, they should be credited to us as earned leave,” demanded Dr Ashai.
The vacations, he said, “are not any relaxation but are a matter of right” for teachers and students. “Let them treat us as non-vacation employees, we will do our duties even during winters.”
The CTA president said that the students at the colleges “have also raised voice against this deprivation”. “And the teachers who come from far-flung areas have already made plans for the summer vacations. Vacations are part and parcel of the education department,” he added.
Dr Ashai said that they have made a representation over the matter to Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, advisor to Governor N N Vohra. Ganai, however, had “forwarded the representation to the Commissioner Secretary for feedback”, as per Dr Ashai.
Upset with the higher officials not announcing the summer vacations this year so far, a college teacher said that the department “should at least make clear to us whether it would announce the summer break this year at all”.
Assuring the colleges that they would not be denied the summer vacations, Commissioner Secretary, Higher Education, Sarita Chauhan told Kashmir Reader that deliberations were on over the matter.