9 Education Zones, 32 Higher Secondary and more than 50 High Schools headless in district
Anantnag: Dozens of senior positions in the Education department are lying vacant here in Anantnag district, much to the annoyance of the employees as well as the general public who have their children enrolled at different government institutions.
Sources in the department told Kashmir Reader that more than 85 positions – including Zonal Educational Officers (ZEOs), Principals, and Headmasters – are lying vacant in this south Kashmir district.
Anantnag district has 12 Education Zones in total and highly placed sources in the department revealed that there were only three ZEOs serving as of now.
“Rest of the 9 zones are either being monitored through additional charges or the ZEO offices remain headless,” a senior official in the department told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the government recently released a list and asked certain people to join as ZEOs in these zones but almost no one joined.
“The excuses ranged from, ‘I am nearing my retirement,’ to ‘the place of posting is too far,’” the official said.
The government, the official said, has not taken any note of this as of now.
The same situation prevails in Higher Secondary Schools of the district. Sources said that there are around 60 Higher Secondary Schools in the Anantnag district and only 28 have Principals right now.
“32 of them are being run without Principals, by the support staff,” the official said, adding that the government recently allocated Principals UT wide but Anantnag got only four or five of them.
The dearth comes amidst a time when government schools have started holding community classes, on directions of the government, after remaining closed through the pandemic and the lockdown after revocation of Article 370.
Insiders in the department told Kashmir Reader that the absence of these officials was hurting the school system badly for there was no one to take a call on things whenever necessary.
“Besides, the people holding additional charges or those in charge of the post for now mostly lack drawing and disbursing powers, leading to a shortage of essentials in the schools as well as offices in the zones,” the sources in the department told Kashmir Reader.
The High Schools have been equally hit. Anantnag district, sources say, has 117 High Schools and most of them do not have Head Masters as of now. “The ratio is 60:40, with 40% of the schools functioning with Head Masters,” the official said, adding that the government thus far has taken no call on filling these gaps.
These posts lying vacant have in fact hurt the schools the most. The High School in Kamad area of Anantnag is one such school and the locals are quick to express disappointment over the issue.
“Imparting education is not the only issue. The school was recently given a computer lab and a solar system and there is no night watchman to guard these things. No teacher has the authority to seek a nightwatchman because Headmaster is the right person to take such calls,” the local Auqaf President, Muhammad Afzal Bhat, said.
The teachers at this school say that their work has been greatly affected as they are trying to focus on the community classes these days.
Kashmir Reader tried talking to Director Education, Tasadduq Mir, but he did not attend the call.