CUJ stops popular job oriented vocational course to settle score with teaching staff

HoD’s request for admissions also rejected

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, May 24: For allegedly settling personal score with some teaching staff members, the Central University of Jammu has stopped the Government of India sponsored job-oriented vocational course in Tourism Management (B Voc Tourism), which was most sought-after among the candidates because of its greater scope in providing employment.
Notwithstanding more than double the number of students admitted in B Voc Tourism than the strength of other two vocational programmes in the university, the CUJ has deferred fresh admissions for this popular programme while allowing continuation of the other courses.
Even as the funding agency University Grants Commission (UGC) as well as the faculty members in the Department of Tourism Management have formally conveyed their consent to continue this vocational programme, the concerned CUJ authorities are adamant for not allowing fresh admissions in B Voc Tourism and thus triggering a strong resentment among the admission seekers as well as the teaching staff.
Pertinent to mention that the Central Government, under its flagship programs Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna and the National Governing Body of Skill Education ‘National Skill Development Council’ is imparting vocational education to students to make them skilled and job ready under National Skill Quality Framework. UGC has approved Central University of Jammu, Central University of Kashmir and Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University – Rajouri, to impart vocational education to students under NSQF and all these institutions have been funded by the UGC to run these courses in the respective universities.
CUJ was the first institution in J&K to get the maximum number of courses approved in vocational education with initial funding of Rs 1.85 crores and the vocational courses were offered as Certificate, Diploma courses under Community College and Bachelors degree courses; B Voc Retail Management and B Voc Tourism Management, under the Departments of HRM & OB and Travel & Tourism Management, respectively.
Similarly, Central University of Kashmir and BGSBU had got initial funding and they started with just diploma level courses in Tourism Management and their students after completing their diploma level programs took admission into Central University of Jammu’s Bachelor in Vocational studies (B Voc Tourism Management) degree program through the lateral entry to complete their bachelor’s degree.
From last academic year, BGSBU and CUK have started B Voc degree program in Tourism Management also because of its demand as there is a great scope of job opportunities in the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, to utter surprise, the same program has been removed by the Central University of Jammu from its admission process this year, thus keeping the Jammu students at a bay from such job-oriented vocational education programs which would have made them skilled and help them to fetch jobs in the Tourism Industry.
The B Voc Tourism Management course at CUJ has not been advertised this time citing lack of funds, infrastructure and teachers to engage the classes. However, the funds were commonly allocated for B Voc Tourism Management and B Voc Retail Management while the third course B Voc Banking and Finance was introduced later with financial implications on the earlier allocated grants.
“So, if funds are available for B Voc Retail Management, then why they are not available for B Voc Tourism Management as the allocation has been collectively granted for both the courses?” asked an admission seeker, adding that as far as the faculty crunch is concerned, if adhoc and contractual employees can be engaged for B Voc Retail Management and B Voc Banking Finance, why can’t be they engaged for the B Voc Tourism Management?
Furthermore, sources said that the staff members of Dept of Tourism and Travel Management have repeatedly requested the CUJ authorities for advertising admission in B Voc Tourism Management and have conveyed their consent for taking the workload. Besides numerous verbal communications, official communication vide letter number CUJ/TTM/2020/115 dated 11-03-2020 was also forwarded in this regard by the Head of the Department as well as the Dean to the Registrar of the University and the Admission Committee, but no action was taken on the official communiqué .
Pertinent to mention that B- Voc Tourism Management had last year enrolled 110 students, more than the combined strength of other two B Voc programs (B Voc Retail Management – 58 approx and B Voc Banking and Finance – 40 approx) , which have been advertised for fresh admission this time.
The university insiders alleged malafide discharge of duties by the Nodal Officer of the B Voc Program at Central University of Jammu, who is blue eyed of the Vice-Chancellor and has been instrumental in making this program redundant for settling personal score with some teaching staff even at the cost of future of the students.
“The whole narrative has been developed to target some teaching staff members who had raised voice against alleged wrong doings of the administration and deferring fresh admissions in B Voc Tourism Management is likely to adversely affect their prospects of continuing services in the university,” explained a faculty member on the condition of anonymity.
When contacted, Registrar of CUJ, Dr Ravi Kumar said that decision to stop admissions for B Voc Tourism Management has been taken by the Academic Council and he was not associated with the same.