JAMMU: The retirement age of professors in the universities of Jammu and Kashmir is being enhanced. During the Council meeting of Kashmir University, the Vice Chancellors of Kashmir University (KU) and Jammu University (JU) are reported to have apprised Lieutenant Governor, who is also chancellor of the two varsities that the age enhancement will no impact on the unemployment among our educated youth, as the slots of Assistant Professors will remain available for recruitment.The two VCs have assured the LG that the enhancement in the retirement age of Assistant Professors is not being sought.However, the assertion of the VCs on the subject is far from the truth. No doubt the retirement age of only professors will be enhanced but the LG was not informed that in J&K, 95 per cent of the Professors are blocking the positions of Assistant Professors as they have been promoted under Career Advancement Scheme of UGC, wherein they get promoted even if there are no substantive positions of Professors available, so they are drawing salaries of Professors and enjoying the designation and full benefits of being professors but holding the position of Assistant Prof or Lecturer. When such Professors retire at the age of 62 at the moment, a position of Assistant Professor is released. And thousands of young men and women holding Ph.D degrees having cleared UGC NET Exam heave a sigh of relief when they see one little opportunity in this opening.More than 100 posts of Assistants Professors are actually being held and blocked by senior teachers, who are enjoying higher designations and salaries in university of Jammu .Other universities are no different.So when the age of retirement of Professors is enhanced to 65, instead of posts of Professors, 99 percent posts of Associate and Assistant Profs in Jammu University will get blocked . In case there are some highly deserving Professors who the institutions do not want to lose, there is a provision of re-employing them, said a senior Professor who was re-employed a few years ago. There are instances of re-employment of capable teachers from time to time. A senior most administrative functionary informed that a former Dean Academic Affairs of the University was recommended for re-employment last week only .Thus in one institution alone the retirement age enhancement of Professors will delay more than 100 job opportunities of Assistant Professors, because only when these Profs retire at the age of 65 will the position of Assistant Professor be vacant as these Professors haven’t been promoted against open substantive posts. If this is the scenario in one institution like Jammu University, the across the board age enhancement will block career of educated youth by three more years. In a conflict ridden erstwhile State where employment generation is seen critical to youth engagement, this move will further push the youth in the realms of unemployment, frustration and tendency to get misguided.The UT Govt has to seek data from universities as to how many Professors are actually Professors s and how many of them are actually Assistant Professors but designated professors under Career Advancement Scheme , said a research scholar. Another research scholar said that in his department all Professors were actually lecturers so he will have to wait for three more years before a post of Assistant Professor is released when the first Professor retires. Under the circumstances it seems to be a disastrous move which will block the career of our youth.The need of the hour is to create job opportunities for our educated youth and not block their future by the move of enhancing retirement age of Professors, which seemingly blocks position of Professors but in J&K UT it actually blocks position of Assistant Professors said a former Dean of the University. Thus, if some deserving Professors needs to be given extension , it should be given but why block all the posts by giving across the board extension. Point to ponder is that why should not the retirement age be reduced so that our educated youth gets right opportunities at the right time.
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