Describing teachers as guardians who hold key to the bright future of our Generation Next, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today advocated granting greater financial autonomy to educational institutions and creation of a Teachers’ Welfare Fund, on pattern of the fund set up in the Police Department.
He vowed to make J&K a ‘Knowledge Hub’ of South Asia and assigned teachers the onerous and challenging task of changing the destiny of our talented youth. “In the last two-and-a-half decades, we have fought battles on several fronts, but I want you to fight and win this one for making J&K an elite Knowledge Society,” he said, while congratulating the teaching community on the occasion of Teacher’s Day at a glittering function held at Kashmir University auditorium, here today.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh and Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar, were also present on the occasion.
Expressing concern over falling standards in the quality of education, Mufti Sayeed said the political turbulence of the last more than two decades has taken a heavy toll on the education sector. “While the rich and affluent could afford to send their children out, the wards of common masses suffered because of turmoil in the state,” he lamented, while praising the swift corrective measures initiated by the Education Department to bring the system back on rails.
The Chief Minister said it was not easy taking over the mantle from a previous regime which had reduced the education department to a farce and a ‘mere transfer industry’ where teachers were shuffled like a pack of cards. He said he was saddened when scams like the one that took place in BOPEE were unearthed which ruined future of many brilliant youth. “In my first tenure as Chief Minister between 2002 and 2005, I strongly resisted requests from the most ardent of my workers. I am what I am today because of my workers. But we detached all those teachers who had conveniently attached themselves to escape postings in remote and far-flung areas of the state,” he said, while indicating to the Education Department to provide security of tenure to the teachers so that they disseminate knowledge without a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.Asking the Education Department to trust its teachers to deliver at the College and School-levels, the Chief Minister favoured delegation of greater financial powers to avoid unnecessary delay in creating and upgrading educational facilities. “Education and Health are the two pillars of a sound society. Our college and school principals should not be seen as powerless administrators who cannot even take minor financial decisions at their own level,” he stated.