Prof Javed Mughal
It is a matter of great anguish and concern that the Commerce Stream, holding an indispensable place in day to day life and is sure to continue to be so till the human society is there, is being discouraged and relegated to the backdrop of oblivion for the reasons best known either to the growing disinterest of the students or to the incompetence of the teachers who along-with their entire family depend on nothing else than this stream for their survival. The very approach, integrity and the stream-managing-efficiency of teachers deserve, at the first instance, to be called in question. To the best my poor wisdom, a teacher who fails to successfully work for promotion of the stream or subject of his bread and butter, does not have any right to stay in the department concerned. He must come forward to make a clean abreast of his poor performance and inability to do justice to the very source of his survival and step down the prestigious position of a College teacher with immediate effect. This decision or action on his part will at least work a little to preserve his left-over image and dignity in the society and people will call him an Honest-Incompetent. Commerce Stream happens to be the only ill-fated one that is badly suffering in almost all the suburban Colleges of the state at present and the teachers are sitting in their comfy chairs draining out the state exchequer doing little for the revival of their subject. My senses sink down into despair when I look at them and find them quite untouched about what they are doing practically on the ground. The amount of salary they get in the Colleges is, on an average, fifty times more than the contribution made by the students in the said stream in the form of admission fees to the Government. The matter is serious and need to be probed in with an extra-ordinary care.
The State Government in general and the Higher Education Department in particular can’t afford to waste money on such a non-productive stuff of teachers especially when we are passing through a considerable financial crunch in the state or forthcoming Union Territory. Let me go a step further to reveal a heart-rending spectacle of Commerce almost with one leg in the grave in one of the Colleges in my knowledge where we have 30 students only in total and three Assistant Professors drawing more than rupees 40 lacs salary per annum. Same is the condition prevailing in some other suburban Colleges across the state. There is no doubt that the concerned department is very serious about it and certain instructions stand issued from the corridor of Higher Education Department also regarding the promotion of such degenerating streams and disciplines but it needs to be speeded up so that the smothering weight on the treasury can be mitigated. If an academic audit is conducted in the suburban Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir, a very dismal picture shall, for sure, come out to the notice of the department of Higher Education. My plea is that there should be sincere efforts of the teachers to protect their streams and subjects by convincing the students to opt for Commerce and other subjects under threat without imposing any compulsion on them as we are doing now-a-days in many of our Colleges. It is the duty of a teacher to work tooth and nail to save the image and existence of the very source of his survival. I understand that the importance and significance of any subject or any branch of knowledge is counted in relation to its relevance to the life and survival ahead and the survival-system is directly subordinated to its capacity to contribute to the economic strength of a state or country.
Now I can understand the helplessness of certain subjects like Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Kashmiri, Dogri, etc in being popular with the readers since they cease to be potent enough to help us survive satisfactorily but the reason behind galloping-fast-degeneration of Commerce Stream in most of the outskirt Colleges, despite its unavoidable demand and relevance in our present society, is beyond the ken of my understanding and definitely leaves a question mark on the competence of the faculty concerned. I am left with no other option than to attribute the defeat of this stream in some of the Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir or elsewhere either to the nonchalant attitude of the teachers concerned or to their criminal incompetence. Matter is serious and needs special initiative to be sorted out. Now is the age of functional worth of the subjects or streams to be adopted in the Colleges or Universities. Govt. must come forward with a policy to conduct an academic audit on all the institutions of higher learning and see whether the subjects/ streams taught therein are potent enough to provide our youngsters with a safe, secure and self dependant future or not. Govt. must also incorporate a strong provision to examine whether the powerful and life oriented subjects and streams are progressing in a healthy way or not and in case of negative results, the teachers concerned should be dealt with severely. It has frequently been seen especially in Colleges that a teacher once recruited becomes self complacent and take his future-security for granted despite being least bothered about what he is there for. In the recent past the Department of Higher Education has taken a very wise decision to disallow the admissions in subjects/ streams in the newly established Colleges where the strength is below 20. My humble submission to the department shall be to wind up all the already existing subjects/streams even in well established institutions having less than 20 students since it is a burden on the govt. exchequer. The choice of subjects/streams must be in correspondence with the revenue-output generated by the admissions in the Colleges or the far-fetched practical utility of such streams or subjects. Our teachers are either badly failing to convince the new comers in the Colleges about the significance and relevance of their subjects in daily life or they are cunning enough to discourage the students-inflow into the streams of their bread and butter with the mala-fide intention to avoid burden and enjoy leisure time. Whatever the reason may be, it is dangerous and anti-students- stance and must be checked as early as possible.
Prof Javed Mughal