Perpetual Postponement and Perennial Delays

Cancellations, delays and corruptions in examinations for employment have induced despair in Kashmiri students

FOR the young and restless in Kashmir, government conducted examinations are bad news. Over the years, they have gained the reputation of being untrustworthy. So much is a job seeker’s distrust towards government advertised posts that there’s an existential dread attached to the entire exercise. “When”, “Where”, “How”, “What ifs”, “Yet again?” – these questions sum up the life of an aspirant seeking government jobs here.

Some red tape delays have become characteristic of Sarkari processes, however, the expected delays have managed to inject an exclusive despair in Kashmiri students. With unique unconducive conditions for education in Kashmir, such careless attitude in the industry of exams and employment is a cruel joke on students here.

Delay in examinations seems to have by now become a characteristic feature of our education system. Students have been seen  raising their voice every now and then, knocking at the doors of authorities to register the delay in their examinations. Scholarships and fellowships have been lost, at times jobs slipped out of student’s hands, either because they were in the midst of their examinations because of earlier delay or were awaiting their results. This has had not only the implications of depressive order on students, but it has more pathetically postponed their employment and thereby delayed the entire schedule of their lives.

No matter how much we resist and desist,  the case remains that ours is a fast paced age and there is no scope for delay, procrastination or even a slight deviation from the rigidly fixed timelines. At a time when economically underprivileged students, by virtue of their brilliance, have honed their skills to international standards and are aspiring to pursue higher education in some prestigious institutions of the world, the flawed system of exam delays risks their dreams and jeopardises their careers.

These lapses are unfathomable in other parts of the world where the academic calendar and all application cycles are followed religiously. However, in Kashmir, these irrational lapses have been normalised.

Recently, JKSSB has been delaying exams indefinitely. The scale of discomfort that this causes aspirants is unquantifiable. With deference, postponements, delays and even annulments becoming the feature of exams, the helplessness of students has only aggravated with no solution in sight.

With a special socio-political context, the authorities here should have been more adept and prompt with making opportunities easy, available, accessible and more importantly, realisable. However, this is rarely ever the case.

For instance, the University of Kashmir seems to have earned a name of its own with good NAAC ranking, the flamboyant campus and a faculty that is at par with any other University in the country. The University has to its credit a long list of brilliant, boastful and proud alumni. But all this has not helped the university to mend its underperformance as far its examination wing is concerned. Instead, the cell has become a prototype of perennial delay. The course which should have otherwise taken three years is taking five and the degree which ought to have been awarded after four years, stretches to six. Can we even comprehend what it means for young aspiring students brewing with energy to have two or three years of their careers wasted in the unending vicious cycle of examination delays?

The University is only one of the many examples of institutional delays in Kashmir. One would have thought that once students manage to find their way out of Universities with no accountability, they would find a better world with better opportunities outside. However, the journey ahead is lonelier.

While cracking competitive exams is of concern to students elsewhere, here students have a different kind of predicament. In Kashmir, students wonder whether exams would ever take place in the first place. Finally, if posts are ever advertised, they are indefinitely postponed at every step.

On a personal note, the writer applied for some exams whose forms were submitted in January 2021 and examinations took place somewhere in May 2022 and after the results went out , there emerged controversies, allegations and the selected candidates are still lingering in limbo. The case with JE electrical exams held by erstwhile JKSPDC is still more disturbing and debilitating. The posts were advertised in 2017, the written exam was held in 2018, the viva happened in the month of March 2019 and after the abrogation of article 370 on 5th August 2019, the posts were annulled, as final result had not been declared and candidates were yet to join. Think of tragedy of this magnitude and the ways it must have ruined the aspirants, shattered their dreams and pushed them against despair.

Why have we normalised this cycle of despair for students here? What would it take for concerned institutions to respect the sanctity of hard work? When will these authorities and institutions work with the spirit of honesty towards making employability realisable for the deserving?

This culture which students are subjected to needs to be checked. We need to encourage a conducive, representative and inclusive access to opportunities. However, all that students are getting are: ill-prepared timelines, compromised exam cycles and corrupted results.

Views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

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Amir Suhail Wani

The author is a writer and columnist

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