DSEK’s election-time bar on hiring teachers causes distress in schools

DSEK’s election-time bar on hiring teachers causes distress in schools

SHOPIAN: More than two months after inviting applications, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK), in the guise of the election Model Code of Conduct, is yet to hold a screening test of the applicants for appointment as contractual lecturers at valley schools this year, resulting in a dearth of teaching staff, especially at the newly upgraded institutions.
The School Education Department has, for now, temporarily rehired the contractual lecturers engaged last year, but their term ends on June 30.
Although the DSEK had invited applications from candidates for contractual lecturer posts on the basis of academic merit on March 2, it withdrew the advertisement notification after the teachers appointed last year asked the directorate to conduct a screening test prevalent at the time of their engagement.
The directorate, on March 9, invited fresh application from the candidates for contractual lecturer posts for the ongoing academic session on the basis of a screening test.
However, more than 2 months later, the DSEK has not yet conducted the screening test on the pretext of the MCC, which is presently in place.
The impasse has led to a dearth of teaching staff at several schools across the valley, with newly upgraded institutions being the most severely affected. The students at these schools are suffering for lack of teachers as the numbers of rehired contractual lecturers of last year are turning out to be insufficient.
At the newly upgraded Higher Secondary School, Nawa Gabra Karnah in North Kashmir, all 11 “sanctioned posts” of teachers are lying vacant, a teacher said.
Likewise, the recently upgraded higher secondary schools in Ramnagri, Kanjiullar, Vehil, Sedow and Heerpora villages in south Kashmir’s Shopian district have 11 sanctioned teacher posts each, “but all are lying vacant”, as per a teacher.
A teacher at Model Higher Secondary School, Kunzer Tangmarg, told Kashmir Reader that due to the delay in appointment of contractual lecturers this year, there was “no faculty” for the commerce stream introduced at the institution a few years ago.
Besides, the faculty for the Economics subject was “insufficient” at the school, he said.
To name a few among several others, the schools where the academic work is suffering for want of teaching faculty include Boys’ Higher Secondary School (BHSS) Bandipora, BHSS Baramulla, HSS Panzan in central Kashmir, HSS Nowhatta, HSS Hardpanzoo in Budgam and HSS Damhal in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat said that due to the DSEK’s delay in conducting the screening test and appointing the contractual teachers to the schools, the Class 11 and 12 students were suffering.
Bhat claimed that “in 50 percent or more higher secondary schools, there is not even 20 percent of teaching staff for classes 11 and 12”.
Officials in the School Education Department posted in central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal districts also complained of a dearth of contractual lecturers at schools in the twin districts.
The Director School Education Kashmir, Dr Mohammad Younis Malik did not respond to repeated calls by this reporter.