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PhD, NET qualified candidates cry foul over SED’s BED preference for +2 lecturer posts

PhD, NET qualified candidates cry foul over SED’s BED preference for +2 lecturer posts

Will take up the matter with Secretary Education Department: Advisor Bhatnagar

Syed Rizwan Geelani 

Srinagar, Sept 29: The recent proposal by the School Education Department (SED) to introduce a new recruitment policy mandating a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree as a compulsory qualification for eligibility as a plus 2 level lecturer in educational institutions has sparked controversy and drawn strong opposition from PhD scholars and NET, JRF qualified candidates alike.

The scholars complained to Greater Kashmir that the move poses a grave injustice to them and has far-reaching implications for the future of education and research.

The School Education Department's proposed policy outlines eligibility requirements for plus 2 level lecturer positions, which includes a master's degree in the relevant subject with a minimum of 50 percent marks and a B.Ed or equivalent degree. Notably, there is no mention of requiring a PhD or qualifications like the National Eligibility Test (NET) or Junior Research Fellowship (JRF).

“PhD scholars have dedicated several years to advanced research and have made significant contributions to their respective field. The new policy has a negative impact on our career prospects and the broader educational landscape,” a delegation of aggrieved PhD scholars told Greater Kashmir.

They argued that PhD scholars often drive cutting-edge research, innovation, and the dissemination of knowledge in society. The candidates said the mandatory B.Ed requirement for lecturer eligibility threatens to exclude highly qualified individuals from teaching positions in educational institutions.

“This is not the first instance of perceived injustice, as previously, the points for PhD qualifications in certain areas were reduced significantly,” they said.

They said PhD scholars bring in-depth knowledge and expertise to their fields, which, they said, is essential for nurturing the next generation of students and advancing academic research.

“Excluding us solely based on a B.Ed requirement, deprives students of the opportunity to learn from subject matter experts,” they said.

Moreover, the scholars argued that this policy discourages individuals from pursuing PhD degrees, as it limits their career prospects and creates uncertainty about their future in academia.

“This could potentially stifle research and innovation in Jammu and Kashmir. Ousting PhD scholars from teaching positions is a disservice to the state's intellectual capital, as their knowledge and research can significantly contribute to the growth and development of educational institutions,” the PhD and NET qualified candidates said.

“This policy may inadvertently perpetuate inequalities and hinder diversity in the academic workforce. We urge the authorities to review and reconsider this policy. There is a need to strike a balance between ensuring quality education and recognizing the value of advanced research and expertise that PhD scholars bring to the table,” they said.

The candidates said the University Grants Commission (UGC) recently announced that PhD was no longer mandatory to apply for the post of assistant professor in colleges and universities but the commission issued prior notification for the change.

“In contrast, the SED introduced the new B.Ed requirement suddenly, leading to the exclusion of individuals who have qualified for NET, JRF, and are pursuing a PhD,” the aspirants said.

The scholars expressed their disappointment noting that individuals with lesser qualifications benefit from this policy change while those more qualified to teach at the plus 2 level are excluded due to the B.Ed criteria.

“If the department intends to change the rules, they should have done so well in advance, considering the time it takes to complete a B.Ed degree. There should be a balanced approach that considers B.Ed as part of the eligibility criteria while preserving opportunities for PhD scholars,” the aspirants said.

Advisor to J&K Lieutenant Governor (LG) Rajiv Rai Batnagar, when contacted , said he was not aware about the development and will take up the matter with the education department.

“I need to talk to the education secretary regarding this matter. We will see what can be done in this regard,” Batnagar told Greater Kashmir.

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