JAMMU, Feb 20: Minister for Education Sayed Altaf Bukhari today 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 Depart-ment 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.
“Government is keen to see all 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 Univer-sities, Cluster Universities, Principals of various Government Degree Colleges, senior officers of Higher Education Department were present in the 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 or 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.
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.
The Minister also took a detailed review of the construction works of Degree College buildings and other institutions.
He called for tightening noose around the executing agencies if found casing delay in execution of work.
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.