Builders of the nation have become the talk of the town in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.From schools to bread shops all people talk of RET’s future. Man who has never gone to school and not knows ABCof the scheme also comments on the issue.Social media is also full of positive and adversive posts about the nation builders.Worries got intensified when the vision document 2047 was released by Planning Development and Monitoring Department Govt. of Jammu and Kashmir, where in unskilled Rehber-e-Taleem (RET) teachers are declared major threat for educational development in the region,im am quoting actual words from vision Document “Un-trainedteachers/ReTs/RReTs in Government Schools”(VD Page 158).The teacher community raised voice against the vision document.They are not afraid of losing the job but are concerned about their honour and respect. RET job which once was considered as respectable job has become the victim of the state policies. Once pioneers of education have now become scarp goats and all fingers today points towards this poor RETwho cleaned the nose of children and give them basic education. Although selection was fair and was as per rules and regulation of the Govt.RET scheme was started to provide basic education to children at their door step and many circulars were issued by the Government from time to time regarding selection process which were implemented in letter and spirit. At first Revenue village was made unit for selection and all was well. But when for political reasons and vote banks the unit for selection of RET was made confined to “habitation” or “mohalla” ruined the whole system and in this process some people got engaged as RET’s which put a question mark on standard and quality education.Rules were amended from time to time to benefit the local youth for political gains. There was the mushroom growth of primary schools under the slogan of “Education for All” or (SarvashikshaAbiyan) which urged the government to merge many schools later .The scheme was the educational in nature in India , but in our state politics crept into the policy and made it an “employment policy” rather than educational policy. I have an example from my own village, we were four friends and three of us passed 10th class in the first attempt in year 2000 and fourth one failed. Now see the magnitude of tragedy we three did post-graduation in 2008 from Kashmir university and our friend cleared 12th class after 5 chances in the same year and got engaged as RET in 2010 on habitation criteria and we are still unemployed although from same village and there are many stories like our village. Another tragedy is that some people succeeded in producing fake certificate and got selected by hook or crook, while some produced the degrees of fake universities or study centres run by some consultants in our valley.as there was no such verification process at that time by the concerned ZEO’s or CEO’s and people got selected on a mere production of Xeroz copies of documents.This is the one side of story. Another part is more tragic but interesting. RET was considered as permanentemployee and all of them tied martial knots on the pretext of being RET.The tragedy did not ends here but the female RET’s made martial knots over night for the sake of RET post,And now if this RETteacheris disgraced after three decades, what will be his/her position in family and society is beyond imagination. Another side of the story is that the Ret teachers had suffered a lot since their appointment back in year 2000-2001.Is it not a tragedy that these RETteachers were exploited for five years on a meager stipend of ₹ 50/Day. Which is less than the half of daily wages of a casual labour?
“Regarding education system there is a need of updating the curriculum with an emphasis on practical skills, integrating technology, involving communities, supporting special education, improving assessment techniques, addressing socio-economic disparities, and establishing ongoing monitoring and feedback systems. It is the duty of media to go through the Vision document and also highlight the issues and weakness of other sectors and departments as well”.
Another tragedy is that the vision document 2047 put teachers on radar but gives deaf ear to other problems of the system which includethe impoverished conditions of government schools as good number of schools are without basic infrastructure which includes buildings and staff. Toilet and drinking water facilities are still a distant dream in most of the schools as was revealed in a national report. Another tragedy is that the first threat mentioned in the document is regarding the monitoring the objectives of private Educational institutions, but no media house raised that issue but directly question the credibility of Ret teachers .I am of the opinion that only few journalists may have gone through the vision 2047 document and rest half -baked journalists copy pasted the story. Another tragedy is this in the same document on page 163 is mention of Higher education of Jammu&Kashmir wherein the 1st threat mentioned in the vision document is regarding the unemployment and brain drain of learned and skilled youth by the foreign countries. “Constant threat of poaching of learned and skilled youth by foreign countries due to lack of proper employment avenues” (VD page 163).But till date no one media house or socio-political organization debated on the grave issue of brain drain and unemployment in the region, rather they focused mainly on the Ret teachers.
Last tragedy is that the vision documentconsisting of 333 pages ,but the half- baked journalist highlighted the single line of the document and published stories on social media which disgraced the teacher community to a large extent. Before pointing to credibility and qualification of RET teachers government as well as other stake holders should introspect that Rehber-e- Taleem teachers are the pillars of education system which faced hurdles in every sphere of life. It is injustice that all teachers are put in a same rod. It is apt to mention that most of the Ret are now a days working as lectures and some are working as district level officers. These teachers even sacrificed their life during election duty. They prepared census reports-a vital survey for development and future planning at NitiAyog.Notonly this but these teachers prepared voter lists thus strengthened the democratic fiber of the union territory and India as well. The teachers are pioneer in spreading the digital knowledge and have participated in digital India Programmes and their services were utilized from Aadhar card and ration card registration.they are on front line during Back to village programmes organized by the government. It is apt to mention that these teachers played a vital role during COVID-19 Pandemic thus risking their lives.isn’t it true that these teachers were appointed as nodal offices at covidcentres and even some were doing screening at Lower Munda Quazigund ,railway station and airport. The work of these teachers was acknowledged at UT and national level and many Ret were awarded at UT level and this year Ret teacher namely Reyaz Ahmad sheikh from Anantnag bagged Best teacher award at National level.
Bottom Line: So before hovering question on the trustworthiness of Rehber-e-TaleemTeachers ,it is necessary to have a look on other sectors of the union Territory mentioned in the Vision Document 2047. Regarding education system there is a need of updating the curriculum with an emphasis on practical skills, integrating technology, involving communities, supporting special education, improving assessment techniques, addressing socio-economic disparities, and establishing ongoing monitoring and feedback systems. It is the duty of media to go through the Vision document and also highlight the issues and weakness of other sectors and departments as well
(Author teaches Geography at Government Degree College Kulgam. The views, opinions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)