‘Govt To Focus On Filling Critical Academic, Infrastructural Gaps In Higher Education’

JAMMU: Minister for Education Altaf Bukhari on Monday said that the Government would focus on filling critical academic and infrastructural gaps to realize the objectives of expansion plan of Higher Education in the state.

Chairing maiden meeting of the Higher Education department after assuming office here today, the Minister set and identified a range of goals, particularly with regard to dispensing of higher education through colleges – which have witnessed huge expansion in the previous years.

The state has presently ninety six Government Degree colleges, including in remotest areas of Gurez, Karnah in Kashmir Valley and Marwah, Gool and other cut off places in Jammu region.

“Government is keen to see all government Degree colleges functioning as per the set standards and serve the purpose of providing best quality higher education to the students, irrespective of the place these are located” the Minister asserted. He said his focus would be pointed towards meeting core academic and infrastructural needs of each institution, including full strength of faculty and fully equipped campus. For this, he assured to expedite the construction of buildings of all remaining colleges.

Minister of state for School Education, Culture, Tourism, Technical Education, Priya Sethi, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education, Dr Asgar Samoon, representatives of   state universities, Cluster Universities, Principals of various Government Degree colleges, senior officers of Higher Education department were present at the high level meeting.

Taking a highly important decision, the Minister asked the Higher Education Department to moot a proposal to explore the possibility to solve the issue of academic arrangement lecturers – who have been serving  in the department for several years and many of them  have crossed, are about to cross the upper age limit. He also stressed on making provisions to ensure that the employees engaged on contract basis are provided remuneration as per the basic minimum wages.

“We should ensure that the government does not float own provisions. For that we should have to review the remuneration of all workers and pay them as per the basic minimum wages” he directed. He also directed for quick disposal of cases of workers entitled for regularization after set time period. “I want to see that such cases are disposed of within seven days after the worker qualifies for regularization of services” he added.

Taking serious view of huge vacancies of Assistant professors in the department, the Minister asked the concerned authorities to vigorously work out proposal for fast tracking the recruitment. The meeting was however informed that PSC has recently released a selection list of Assistant professors. He called for forwarding all remaining teaching and non-teaching vacancies to the recruitment agencies and pursuing the case vigorously for early recruitment.

In this context, he asked the department to work out a proposal to see how the staff engaged on academic arrangements are absorbed as they have given many years to the department and also have much experience.

“This is tested lot with long experience. We should not let this talent go waste.  Their career prospects need to be safeguarded by the government” he said.

The Minister also took a detailed review of the construction works of Degree College buildings and other institutions.

It was informed that sixteen out of 22 college building taken up for construction would be completed during 2017-18.

The Minister called for tightening noose around the executing agencies, if found causing delay the execution of work.

The Minister hailed the far reaching reforms brought in the department by his predecessor,   Naeem Akhter and said that his mission would to realize all the objectives set by him. He stressed on proper, effective and full utilization of funds received under centrally sponsored schemes, while noting that in many cases the funds have lapsed, which is not a good sign.

The Minister also encouraged the College managements to utilize the grants they receive and assured them full support in the judicious use of the funds.

“Government has full respect for the teachers- they are builders of a progressive society. I have full faith that they will utilize the funds in best interest of the students and future of education in the state. Doubting your credentials make non case. Minor flaws can be ignored in view of your nature of work” he said and asked them not to hesitate and use the funds for developing their institutions into institutions of excellence.

The Minister also reviewed the functioning of universities, Engineering colleges and received feedback on the status of establishment of new institutions sanctioned for the state. 

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