After completing M.Sc. from the University of Kashmir in December 2016, I went to Jammu. Like most of the students, I was too yearning for a PhD programme from any University/Institute as I had a backing of Immunology, Genetics & Molecular Biology at Post -Graduation level and any institute could have given me a hefty amount in scholarship for running research programme but in March 2017, the advertisement notification for the recruitment of 550 Subject Specific Teachers under RMSA (RashtriyaMadhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) changed my mind to go for a job especially when unemployment is at zenith level and even insecurity after doing PhD is categorically increasing in the Union Territory of J&K day by day. It was a great news among all job seeking youths of J&K as it was the first-ever recruitment of teachers under RMSA scheme despite of the fact that the scheme was launched by axial government in the aisles of J&K in 2009. Post-Graduation & B.Ed. were kept as the basic eligibility for filling DAFs. The criteria for the final selection of the teachers was kept at 10 & 20 points from Post –Graduation & Graduation respectively and 70 points were allotted for the screening test which was held on 26th, Nov 2017 in two cities of J&K -Jammu & Srinagar. Subsequently, 550 Subject Specific Teachers were appointed after a thorough and fair selection process without any litigation as is the usual case in J&K vis-à-vis the recruitment drive.
We accomplished our first year of service in a lucent way and were busy in providing quality education to the kids of poor people in far -flung areas of the erstwhile J&K. Owing breaks beyond normal comprehension/wisdom, our services were rehired for a period of three & half months from March, 11 2019 to June, 30 2019 and for a month only from July 10,2019 to August 10, 2019. Since then we are literally jobless entities subject to limitless ridicule, torments, disrespect, ignominy, depression and anxiety for no fault of ours. We can’t comprehend the biggest irony that with the abrogation of Article -370 & 35A, why did we lose our jobs when the same was meant to bring more jobs and prosperity. Sheer injustice & misfortune! Most of the Subject Specific Teachers submitted their joining on the pretext that RMSA is a Central Government scheme (though contractual appointment) but it gives a guarantee to work unless the project stops getting funds from the government at the centre.
In one of the landmark decisions in 2018, the Union government subsumes the three erstwhile schemes of SarvaShiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teachers Education (TE) into a single pan India scheme -Samagra Shiksha to provide quality education and enhancing learning outcomes of students; bridging Social and Gender Gaps in School Education and support States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; and strengthening and up gradation of SCERTs/State Institute of Education and DIET as a nodal agencies for teacher training. RMSA (now Samagra Shiksha) is a pan India scheme and is fully functional in all States and Union Territories of the country. It is pertinent to mention here that some of the states have regularised the services of Subject Specific Teachers recruited under the then RMSA (now Samagra Shiksha) scheme.
Undeniably this is quite obfuscating as the Subject Specific Teachers aren’t a burden on the UT Exchequer/Finance department and there is a possibility that the UT Administration is getting funds from the HRD Ministry every year through PAB (Project Approval Board) minutes in order to run various projects under Samagra Shiksha across J&K. Notwithstanding, the step motherly treatment is being done with the vulnerable Subject Specific Teachers even thoughmost of us are NET/SET and even some are PhDs.
The vox –populi of the Subject Specific Teachers is incessantly being ignored at all corners even though the file subjecting further extension of the services of the aggrieved Subject Specific Teachers had already been approved by the –then Governor of the state (now UT) Sh. Satya Pal Malik. We believe the higher-ups of the School Education Department of J&K are afflatus to the people for which we are eyeing them with a pollyanna approach but see the melancholy of our homes and family – desperation has engulfed us, incessant sniggering by the kith & kin, social status has ruined, relationships have broken, unconquerable lassitude and depression and latterly agonizing pain due to the termination of our services is like rejuvenating out of the shock especially when our recruitment was one of the finest and crystal-clear. We don’t believe that the Subject Specific Teachers job is over and out for us and like “that ship has sailed’’ because we were recruited in a central Government scheme and we never ever vowed any demand from the UT Government to regularise our services or anything like that. Officials in the School Education Department of J&K have gone pear-shaped in comprehending & they themselves have made our case morecomplicated and hence abstruse.
The novel corona virus cataclysm and the subsequent national lockdown has compelled Government to go for online/community classes. We are quite substantive to the teaching community in J&K ampersand ready to take classes under forthcoming -community classes (If current crisis doesn’t start flattening) plan of UT administration and the unfortunate, irrational “cul-de-sac” must be lifted from the way of Subject Specific Teachers and all loopholes must be discern at first since the Government at centre is bent to promote all existing and upcoming central schemes in the UTof J&K. The J&K government plan to overhaul UT education system through rationalisation is quite plausible stuff but it should be done on the basis of rules and regulations since our appointment is bonded to contractual recruitment norms of MHRD (gesticulation towards the order released by the School Education Department in March -2019 for the continuation of the services of the Subject Specific Teachers) and rationalisation can be done on the posts which have been created and hence are being sanctioned by the UT Cabinet or the SAC/AC. We are one of the experienced & talented teachers and our quest to contribute society in this pandemic is escalating day-by-day. During our 16 months stay in various schools, we tried bringing dynamism, emphasising various activities like organising weekly quiz competition, essay writings, maintaining hygiene and see our performance -it was quite satisfactory and various sections of the society have passed praiseworthy annotations for we people and veritably want our revival again in the already allotted schools to us.
Why the Principal Secretary to School Education, Project Director -Samagra Shiksha, DSE-J & DSE-K are stoically silent on the continuation of the services of the Subject Specific Teachers? The ceaseless delay in the continuation of our services depicts that there is something black in the lenticels and government is deliberately hiding something despite the fact everything is open to all & sundry about the pattern, sponsorship and various facts regarding the schemes which come from the edifice of South or North block and government must reminisce that the -RMSA (now Samagra Shiksha) is functioning from the ramparts of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, GOI.
Ambiguity regarding extension of the services on project life must be resolved at earliest and concerned authorities must refrain from further dawdle of we people. At last, the officers concerned must have a broad look in our matter and don’t play hide and seek with us; decipher file for the extension of the discontented hearts in a tearing hurry and release verdict based on all facts, justify meritocracy and get a tag of cynosure for good governance.
This is an opinion piece written by RAJESH MANHAS who has previously worked as a Subject Specific Teacher of Science in Government High School Kuddhar (Kastigarh) Doda. He can be contacted at: Mob +91- 7006127672, Email: – [email protected]
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