Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK)

SRINAGAR — The School Education Department is either ‘misleading the public or twisting the facts’ pertaining to the Postgraduate degrees obtained by teachers through Distance mode in the Science stream, particularly in the discipline of Environmental Sciences.

The department in the past one-and-a-half months has issued several orders which are completely contradictory to each other—‘raising a question on the standard and professionalism of the School Education Department.’

One of the aggrieved teachers, who possess a valid Post Graduation degree in Environmental Sciences, told the news agency KNO, “Some of the in-service teachers have fraudulently submitted documents of invalid degrees and claimed promotions in the department by crushing the genuine and deserving teachers.”

He said, “Our promotion was due a long ago. However, some scammers managed degrees from tuck-shops without any proper verification by the concerned authorities of the department.”

“The government took a good step by demoting such scammers with a re-verification process. However, we want the government to re-verify such degrees of all the in-service teachers, especially in Environmental Sciences,” the teacher said.

In the latest development, the Joint Director of Elementary Education for the Directorate of School Education Kashmir was attached a week after he issued orders regarding the invalidation of the Postgraduate degrees obtained through Distance mode in Science stream, particularly in Environmental Sciences.

Earlier, in November end 2022, the Principal Secretary of School Education Department in a case that was filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal had issued the same directives as the Joint Director. Now, the question is why the Joint Director was attached by the department over what they call ‘mis-presentation of the facts and department’s stand regarding PG degrees acquired through Distance mode’ when both orders correspond to each other.

Pertinently, the Human Resource Management section of the School Education Department on November 29, 2022, said that there was a petition filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) pertaining to degrees obtained through Distance mode in Environmental Sciences, saying as to whether the degree obtained in Ecology and Environment can be treated at par or equivalent to the degree obtained in Environmental Science, and whether degree obtained through Distance mode in Environmental Sciences can be considered valid for the purposes of seniority and promotion and whether the degree obtained without proper permission from the competent authority can be considered valid for the purposes of seniority and promotion.

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Principal Secretary, School Education Department in the CAT order has said, “In view of the settled legal position, the degree obtained by the in-service candidate without obtaining proper permission from the competent authority cannot be reckoned valid, particularly for the purposes of seniority and promotion.”

“During the course of examination, it has been found that the petitioners have acquired their degrees in the field of Ecology and Environment which is not equivalent to and does not correspond to the degree obtained in the field of Environmental Sciences as has been deliberated upon herein. As such, the petitioners including similarly situated cases cannot be considered for the seniority and promotion or otherwise to the post of Lecturer in Environmental Sciences based upon such degrees,” it reads.

It also states, “It has been further found from the records that the petitioners have obtained their degrees through Distance mode which cannot be considered for the purposes of seniority and promotion or otherwise to the post of Lecturer in Environmental Sciences based upon the observations and deliberations made herein.”

Principal Secretary had also said, “It has also been found that most of the petitioners as shown herein above have obtained such degrees without obtaining proper permission from the competent authority as such the higher qualification acquired by the petitioners in contravention to the rules and regulations cannot be considered for the purposes of seniority and promotion or otherwise to the post of Lecturer in Environmental Sciences based upon the observations and deliberations made herein above.”

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He said, “There are three categories of masters, teachers in School Education Department in the discipline of Environmental Science. One category of incumbents is those who have pursued higher education qualifications viz Post Graduation Degree in Environmental Science or in Ecology and Environment. The category of incumbents who have acquired higher qualifications in Ecology and Environment are claiming that their degrees be treated at par with those incumbents who have obtained their degrees in Environmental Sciences for the purposes of seniority and promotion.”

It also states that the second category of incumbents are those who have obtained their degrees in Environmental Science or in Ecology and Environment through Distance mode either in Environmental Science or in Ecology and Environment and this category is claiming to consider their higher degrees obtained through Distance mode for their seniority and promotion to the next higher post.

“The third categories of incumbents include those who have pursued their higher qualification degrees in contravention to Jammu and Kashmir Leave Rules of 1979 i.e. without obtaining proper permission from the competent authority in this regard,” reads the order.

The Principal Secretary had said, “In view of the above settled legal position, the degree obtained by the in-service candidate without obtaining proper permission from the competent authority cannot be reckoned valid, particularly for the purposes of seniority and promotion.”

“Therefore, after having considered the cases of petitioners in compliance with the judgment order, it has been found that the claim of the petitioners does not merit consideration based upon the observations and findings and as such the claim of the petitioners for their inclusion in the seniority list of Environmental Science discipline and consequent claim for promotion to the post of Lecturer Environmental Sciences is hereby rejected,” he said.

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