“Post August 5, 2019, the government’s steps have been aimed at intimidation of employees.”


SRINAGAR — In an unusual move, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has asked the Directorate of School Education to identify the “deadwood” staff in the department and retire them early. The move has raised anxieties among the employees of the department.

Principal Secretary School Education Department, Biswajit Kumar Singh, in an order dated 21-12-2021, addressed to Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK), Tassaduk Hussain Mir, asked to submit a list of deadwood employees within 15 days or else “strict action” will follow.

Kulsuma Akhtar, Principal Govt. Higher Secondary Zaloora, said that she couldn’t understand what the government meant by “deadwood”.

“We have been living under a lockdown since August 2019 and despite that, my school produced good results. And I must say my staff members are very hard-working and dedicated. I don’t know what deadwood is, the government must come up clean on the issue,” Kulsuma said.

The order read that the Department of Education has a huge number of employees and many of them were not performing their duties properly which had led to “large drop out and lower outcome”.

Support Our Journalism

You are reading this because you value quality and serious journalism.

But, serious journalism needs serious support. We need readers like you to support us and pay for making quality and independent journalism more vibrant.

“It becomes inevitable to identify the non-working or deadwood in both teaching and non-teaching category who have either emptied the schools in enrollment by mostly resorting to private coaching or side business or have created corrupt and malicious work culture in offices which has put the public to great inconvenience and have proven counterproductive to the growth of the department,” the order read. 

However, the teachers argue that “drop outs” in government schools is not their fault and rather blame the inadequate infrastructure for the drop outs. “Look at the infrastructure of our schools, how does the government expect parents to admit their kids to government schools,” a teacher asked.

Last month, an enrolment drive was launched in Kashmir by DSEK, after a two per cent drop in enrolment. Teachers went door-to-door in an effort to convince parents to send their kids to government schools.

“The teachers who are 55 years old or above are the most respectable and experienced employees. If govt thinks they are “deadwood”, I must say there’s something wrong in their understanding,” said Abdul Salam Dar, Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) Sopore.

According to reports, Biswajit Singh has said that the order was particularly for those non-performing employees who have crossed the age of 55 years.

“There is a chance to rejuvenate the young lot but we can’t invest in those non-performing employees who are above the age of 55,” reports quoted him as having said.

“In my opinion, those teachers who have been on leave, even without pay, for two-three years now and are living somewhere abroad, should be declared as deadwood. They are doing nothing, except occupying the post,” the ZEO added.

Post-abrogation, all the steps that the government has been taking are more inclined towards intimidation of employees than development, Afifa, a middle-school teacher said.

“If they really want to improve the roll in schools, there are more important issues that need to be addressed first,” she said.

“Any literate person would understand and know the meaning of deadwood. If any head of the institute finds difficulty in understanding the term, they should consult me and ask me about it,” Principal Secretary School Education Department, Biswajit Singh, told Mountain Ink

Advertisement

Advertisement

“It is a three-layered structure. If any employee ends up in the list, he/she will be reviewed by three committees and then only will any action be taken,” he explained.

He said that the department has a 1:10 teacher-student ratio and still the results are not good. “We must identify the under-performing employees in order to make our schools better,” Singh added.

Mountain Ink is now on Telegram. Subscribe here.

Become Our Ally

To help us strengthen the tradition of quality reading and writing, we need allies like YOU. Subscribe to us.