Srinagar: As Kashmir University braces to hold State Eligibility Test (SET) examination 2018 on Sunday 11 March, two bizarre orders have been issued that put teachers as subordinates to non-teaching staff during the conduct of the examination in the Valley.
The two orders, a copy of which lies with Narrator, issued for the “smooth conduct” of J&K SET examination has run the varsity in rough weather as one order lists non-teaching staff as “invigilators” while the other lists teachers as “assistant supervisors”.
The KU officials insist that “invigilators” are subordinate to “assistant supervisors”.
Though Wikipedia says that an exam invigilator, exam proctor or exam supervisor is someone who is appointed by the examination board and services for maintaining the proper conduct of a particular examination in accordance with the exam regulations, the KU thinks otherwise.
The Oxford English Dictionary shows “invigilator” as a noun of the verb “invigilate” with the meaning “supervise candidates during an examination”.
However, the KU, it seems, has its own lexicon to define the terms.
The list of the “invigilators” contain Library Assistants, Laboratory Assistants and Junior Assistants. While as the list of “assistant supervisors” contains doctors and professors.
The order has other discrepancies also. It lists two “engagees” who are working with an e-governance project have been posted as invigilators at NIT Srinagar and Islamia College of Science and Commerce, Hawal.
Prof Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, HoD Zoology Department in KU, who is currently Coordinator SET for Srinagar, fumbled for words when asked why “engagees” were deputed as invigilators and not bonafide employees of the varsity.
“I believe they are employees,” he told Narrator over the phone. But an order from the Joint Director (Budget and Creation) office says the otherwise. The order says that the wages of ten “engagees” shall be debited to the Revenue generated by the Directorate IT and SS instead of “Project Grant”.
A KU official said that what should have been the work of permanent employees have been handed over to people who have no stake in the university. He said that SET examination is a sensitive issue which should have been beyond the realm of contractuals.
Bhat, Coordinator Srinagar for SET, says that in the parlance of University Grants Commission (UGC), an “invigilator” is subordinate to “assistant supervisor” who in turn is subordinate to “superintendent”.
However, he failed to support his claim with any UGC document.
On the contrary, various UGC notifications have used the terms “invigilator” and “supervisor” synonymously. See picture below:
Furthermore, among various centres where the SET examination is scheduled, one is owned by Bhat himself at Nowgam. However, he doesn’t see any conflict of interest in the move and maintains that though many institutions were asked to provide the space for the examination, they showed reluctance.
“There is no conflict of interest in it. We have conducted earlier SET exams there,” says Bhat.
Assistant Registrar (Teaching Wing) Abdul Hamid, who has signed both the orders, says that though it is “illogical to put teachers subordinate to other staff”, however, “it is on the recommendations of chief coordinator. I have nothing to do it”.
Ironically, the first order about non-teaching invigilators was issued on 26 February while the second order is issued without any particular date. See picture below.
The Chief Coordinator of SET Exams, Prof Irshad Ahmad Nawchoo, says that there is another list of “Observers” who shall monitor the overall examination at each centre.
However, he refused to publicize the list.
A source at the varsity says that the teaching staff created a fuss soon after the first order of non-teaching staff was issued. Buckling under pressure, the administration had to come up with another list of teaching staff.
“Since they had already given preference to non-teaching staff, they didn’t put any date on the second order,” the source says.
The list of teaching staff has no teacher from Social Science school.
“There is a reason for that,” says Bhat, “The science stream people are well trained and have already conducted many such exams.”
Many observers believe that only those who are in the good books of the people at the helm reap the benefits of such things.