JAVEID HASSAN MALIK
It is said that education drags a person from darkness towards light but in Kashmir, the total reverse seems to be unfolding, courtesy policy makers at the helm. Highly educated youth are getting marginalized and pushed to wall from times immemorial and most recently by the decision of the SAC to regularize ReT teachers into general line teachers which is simply going to freeze the advertisement of teacher posts in future. Moreover, it is also going to metastasize the tumor which has ruined our elementary level education system into higher levels of education sector that had started to recover in the past few years.
With this decision, people at helm are compromising over bringing quality and excellence in school education that is the current need of an hour. The appointment of ReT teacher will serve as worst negative reference point for times to come. History is testimony to an undeniable fact how ReT teachers were brought into system; people say the ReT scheme was like an unanticipated tide of luck that carried with itself everything that came in its way, be it good or bad, but bad overpowered the good in this race.
Even in my own area, those people who had left studies halfway and had concentrated their brain on farming and other works got adjusted in the ReT scheme by greasing the palms of concerned zonal authorities to bring schools in the nearest locality. With no competition, no exams to qualify, recruitments were simply done by submitting few documents and a person got appointed as ReT.
I am reminded remembered of one such incident regarding these appointments; it happened during my graduation years way back in 2010,those days every morning I used to visit the baker’s shop in morning to buy bread for my family. There , a guy of my age, used to always boast about himself being TDC pass out, but to his bad luck he couldn’t write simple English sentences properly; For a few days during my usual visits I didn’t notice him there. I thought he might have gone to home till I came across news via word of mouth that literally pulled the earth underneath my feet; he was no more a baker but a newly appointed ReT teacher.
In majority of the cases people who doubted their future in studies preferred to join ReT on paltry salary , quiet less the wages earned by daily wagers doing manual work in fields and many people didn’t give a damn to this job and preferred to continue their higher studies which paid them dividends in the end; instead of falling into quagmire of ReT they got appointed as General line teachers by passing JKSSB exam.
Now, how can the government justify this decision of making ReT teachers status and rank equivalent to general line teachers?
The question which begs consideration is: did these teachers change the grass root level of school education? The answer is a big No. Instead these teachers became richer and richer while poor students became poorer with each passing hour as they didn’t get the quality education for which these teachers were appointment. If they had any self-confidence on their teaching they would have admitted their own wards in government schools; instead their kids are studying in prestigious private schools and those kids who are studying in these schools simply cannot afford private education; it has been found that more than learning what motivates these kids is the appetite for middle day meals and freedom to roam freely in working hours that they can’t afford in private schools.
The irony is that only few months back same teachers had to appear in BEd exams mandatory for any person to be eligible as teacher. To add insult to their injuries these teachers were caught cheating and following unfair means to pass the exam (newspaper reports are testimony to this news).
Now I can say with some confidence that the government has fit(ted) square pegs in round holes at our elementary level of education and now if same teachers are installed at high school level how can they justify this position vis a vis general line teachers who had to go through cut throat competition to qualify as general line teachers? Our pampered ReT teachers believe other way: they have always dictated terms to government in their favour, be it in ex ministers, cow saga or the seventh pay commission. If this is the way how government listens and addresses the grievances of aggrieved candidates then all unemployed youth especially those candidates with Bed and Med degree in hand to save their future, they have every right protest legally against this decision taken without taking students into confidence. Already protests have rocked university campuses of both provinces but the government is turning a blind eye to the growing outcry of youths against this decision. Now, before I rest my motion, I want to make it clear I have no personal animosity with any person or forum that motivated me to pour this hard talk against the government decision. I am writing this on the behalf of lakhs of aggrieved candidates who have lost hope of being teachers in the future due this hasty decision.
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