School teaching staff shortage: Failure to hold screening tests leads to impasse

School teaching staff shortage: Failure to hold screening tests leads to impasse

SRINAGAR: In the middle of the ongoing academic session, and with the annual board examinations a few months away, Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School, Kakpora, in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, is deficient by at least three specialist teachers – of History, Urdu and Physical Education – for teaching its senior secondary students.
In a video posted on social media, students of the school can be seen complaining about the shortage of teachers at the institution.
“The year is ending and the exams are months away, but we are yet to complete the syllabus. We don’t know what we are going to write in the exams,” a student says.
To make things worse for the students, two contractual lecturers posted at the school this year have also left, they complain.
The reason for the departures is that the extended term of the contractual lecturers, hired by the School Education Department (SED) last year on the academic arrangement basis, ended on June 30 this year.
The screening test of applicants for appointment as contractual lecturers at the valley’s higher secondary schools could not be held earlier as the department cited the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), which was in effect in the state during the Lok Sabha elections.
Now with the MCC ending a month or so ago, the SED has not yet held the screening test even as it invited applications for the posts on the basis of academic merit more than four months ago.
After inviting the applications on March 2, the DSEK withdrew the advertisement notification after the teachers appointed last year asked the directorate to conduct a screening test as was the prevalent practice at the time of their engagement.
The directorate, on March 9, invited fresh applications from candidates for contractual lecturer posts for the ongoing academic session on the basis of a screening test.
The impasse has led to a dearth of teaching staff at several schools across the valley, with newly upgraded institutions being severely affected.
Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School Pampore is one among the many schools bearing the brunt of the non-availability of teachers.
A parent of a student enrolled at the institution told Kashmir Reader that the school had no Environmental Science teacher to teach the hundreds of students who had chosen the subject.
The Secretary School Education Kashmir, Dr Mohammad Younis Malik, and the Secretary School Education Department, Sarita Chouhan, did not respond to repeated calls made by this reporter.