Showkat Ahmad Wani
Although every new project, program or initiative of the government or private sector is devised and formulated with good intentions but at the same time, throughout the world it is a practice that the new initiative or project is first tested in a sample area (small area) to assess its success and mostly to identify the unforeseen and unanticipated repercussions that may arise. If there are any unanticipated repercussions, accordingly modifications are made in the project and later on the program /project is implemented throughout the whole target area. Similarly School Education Department (J&K) last year came out with an innovative and novel initiative of Annual Transfer Drive but without testing it in any sample area to identify its repercussions and consequences, the policy was implemented in whole of UT of J&K.
Under annual transfer drive (ATD), a teaching personal with a stay of more than 4 years will fill online application with three preferred postings and accordingly he/she will be adjusted against one of these choice postings. If choice posting is not available, he/she will be given another chance to apply with other preferred posting choices and in this way he will get himself/herself transferred and adjusted to the preferred choice posting. If an officer/official namely Mr. A has more than four years stay at a place, and does not apply and Mr. B opts for the post Mr. A is working against, Mr. A is deemed to have vacated the post for Mr. B. In such case Mr. A is provided chance to apply with his preferred choice postings so that he also can be adjusted suitably to his comfort and convenience. Employee friendly policy where it is win-win situation for everyone. It is a good policy which has ended corruption in system(for transfers) and on that account the ATD policy framers deserve appreciation and applause.
But implementation of the ATD policy is proving a disaster and fiasco for the schools of hard zones because teaching personnel from schools of hard zones areas opted for schools of softer zones, got transferred and on the other side no teaching personal applied and opted for schools of hard zone . In the process the vacancies of lectures in schools of hard zones is increasing with issuance of each ATD order. In due course of time the process will definitely put a question mark on the functioning of these schools. In a situation, Mr A and Mr B were working as Lecturers (same subject) in same urban city/town in two different schools from more than four years. What is appalling, both Mr A and Mr B in a well planned nexus and understanding with each other opted for each other’s school and succeeded to replace each other in same city/town. In maximum of cases the ATD has not been able to move out already rooted lecturers from towns and cities, because they have managed things to their desire under ATD. The lecturers of hard zones , somehow after hard struggle identified vacancies near the towns/cities , succeeded to get transferred from there, leaving behind the poor children of rural far flung areas at the mercy of Almighty. Irony is that many lecturers who are at the verge of retirement, and had days or months left to superannuate have also been dislocated under ATD, which should have been avoided. Although schools of rural / hard zone have huge enrollment and deserve lecturers for each and every subject but alas the unforeseen and unanticipated consequences of ATD have hit them the most. The same may not have happened if our Government schools hundreds of vacancies of lecturers. If we had 100% filled posts of lecturers, then even after exercising all options, someone, somewhere(even though half heartedly) may had to opt for the hard zone /rural areas. Before implementing this ATD policy the powers that be, did not take these consequences into account. Solution to the problem is that the government may have to engage contractual lecturers for the vacant posts of lecturers, the practice that was previously in vogue but has been discontinued before so many years. School education department had run mega enrollment drives during last two years motivating parents to enroll their wards in Government schools and the enrollment had a phenomenal increase mostly in rural and hard zone areas but now, how the ATD policy of school education department is in turn rewarding the parents for the trust and faith they had reposed on us .We will be having no answers to the queries of students and parents.
Let the School Education Department rethink over the consequences that have arisen mainly the fiasco ,the schools of hard zone areas may be confronted with in due course of time. Let the higher echelons of power chalk out a plan by making desirable changes in the ATD policy itself or initiate steps for engaging contractual lecturers from among the highly qualified youth for the vacant posts of lecturers in all higher secondary schools of the UT of J&K . Schools opened after 31 months (Covid Lockdown Closure) and our school going children especially of hard zone areas do not deserve this step motherly treatment. Let the better sense prevail .
(The author is Teaches Political Science Govt MHSS D H Pora District Kulgam)
Showkat Ahmad Wani