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Silenced Scholars: The Unseen Struggle of Educated Youth in Kashmir’s Colleges

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Dr Mudasir Ahmad Gori

In Kashmir,a silent struggle has often gone unnoticed amidst roar of a volley of other things. It’s the struggle of the educated youth, particularly those working in colleges, who despite their qualifications, are relegated to meager salaries and constant victimization.

The educated youth, armed with degrees and aspirations, find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of underemployment and exploitation. Many of them have dedicated years to pursue higher education, often against the backdrop of conflict and uncertainty, only to find themselves undervalued and underpaid in their own homeland.

The colleges of Kashmir, supposed bastions of learning and enlightenment, should ideally be the harbinger of progress and prosperity for the youth. However, the reality paints a starkly different picture. Despite their qualifications and dedication, these educators are offered paltry salaries that barely suffice to make ends meet.

One of the primary issues plaguing these educated youth is the lack of consideration from the concerned government or concerned officials. Instead of being recognized for their qualifications and contributions to education, they are subjected to constant victimization and neglect.

The disparity between their qualifications and their salaries is glaring, especially when compared to the standards set by the University Grants Commission (UGC). According to UGC norms, educators should be remunerated based on their qualifications and experience. However, in Kashmir, these norms are often disregarded, leaving the educated youth disillusioned and disheartened.

The consequences of this neglect extend beyond financial hardship. Many of these educators struggle to make ends meet, facing challenges in providing for their families and planning for their futures. The emotional toll of being undervalued and overlooked takes a heavy toll on their mental well-being, further exacerbating their plight.

Moreover, the underpayment and victimization of educated youth have broader implications for society as a whole. When the educators, who play a crucial role in shaping the minds of the future generation, are undervalued and demotivated, the quality of education suffers. This perpetuates a vicious cycle of underdevelopment, hindering the progress and prosperity of the entire region.

It is imperative for the concerned authorities to acknowledge the plight of these educated youth and take proactive measures to address their grievances. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, commensurate with their qualifications and contributions to education.

The followings things may be taken into consideration:

  • Implementation of UGC Norms: The first step is to ensure that the salaries of educators in Kashmir’s colleges are in line with the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms. This would involve conducting a comprehensive review of existing salary structures and making necessary adjustments to align with UGC guidelines. I have a strong reservation against this process. If they believe that the contractuals can’t be given UGC based salary because these posts are not sanctioned. Then what about the contractuals who work against a clear vacancy, they must be paid as per UGC norms. But no, that is not happening, just a consolidated salary is being paid to contractuals irrespective of working against a sanctioned post. This needs to be addressed.
  • Dialogue and Engagement: Facilitating constructive dialogue between educators, government authorities, and relevant stakeholders is crucial. This could be achieved through regular meetings, forums, and roundtable discussions to address concerns, exchange ideas, and work towards finding sustainable solutions.
  • Merit-Based Recruitment and Promotion: Ensuring transparency and fairness in recruitment and promotion processes is essential to recognize and reward the contributions of educated youth based on merit. Establishing clear criteria and procedures for recruitment and promotion can help mitigate issues of favoritism and nepotism.
  • Financial Assistance Programs: Introducing financial assistance programs, such as scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans, can provide relief to educators facing financial hardships. These programs can help cover expenses related to housing, healthcare, education, and other essential needs.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanisms: Implementing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to oversee the implementation of reforms and ensure accountability is vital. This could involve establishing oversight committees, conducting regular audits, and soliciting feedback from educators and other stakeholders.
  • Collaboration with Academic Institutions: Collaborating with academic institutions, both within Kashmir and at the national level, can facilitate knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices in education governance and management. This collaboration can lead to innovative solutions and strategies to address the challenges faced by educated youth in Kashmir.

The story of the educated youth in Kashmir is a tale of unfulfilled aspirations and untapped potential. It’s a story that highlights the urgent need for reform and recognition in the education sector. Until then, the struggle continues for these educators who dream of a brighter future amidst the shadows of neglect and indifference.

 

 

 

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