Future At Stake

Six years after the University of Kashmir introduced a specialised course in finance studies, Master of Finance and Control (MFC), the state recruiting agencies don’t find the pass outs eligible for any jobs. Ikhlaq Qadri reports.

Moomin (name changed) was selected for two courses in the University of Kashmir, Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the newly introduced Master of Finance and Control (MFC). He opted for the MFC programme considering it more specialised and appealing.

Last year he qualified the prelims test for the post of Assistant Director, Statistics, advertised by Public Service Commission (PSC). Before he could sit in the mains examination, a PSC notice in January asked the MFC pass outs not to appear, as they were not eligible. Some 12 MFC post graduates had qualified the mains text.

Moomin regrets his choice, and says this is not the first such disqualification he had faced.

MFC pass outs say that the two recruiting agencies, Service Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB), and PSC are yet to recognise the degree to make it eligible for the posts notified for otherwise equivalent degrees like Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Commerce (MCom). The university authorities, students allege, have failed to establish the status of the degree. On the contrary, internal tussles between the departments of business studies, and financial studies has complicated problems for MFC pass outs, students allege.

Few years back when the Department of Business and Financial studies (formerly Department Of Commerce) started the course it was termed as ‘highly specialised professional course in finance’. The course is recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

Later when the pass outs found out that the degree was not considered equivalent, in the state, to other similar courses, they approached the authorities at their department and university administration, but the problem persisted.

This month when the PSC disqualified MFC degrees for the post of Assistant Director Statistics, it gave a deadline of Jan 25 to file any objections.

“We filed objection but that was discarded by terming our degree either not equivalent to MBA finance or to M.Com,” said Tajammul (name changed), another pass out.

The students approached the university (department) again, but allege that there was little concern. The students blaming the department said that they only started course with pomp and show without knowing where and in which category to place it?

“They straightway copied it from Delhi University and forgot to categorise so that it has its own place in the market,” said Shameem (name changed) a student of MFC 4th semester.

Most students are regretting their decision of taking the course.

“We don’t know what our degree is. If this is not accepted in state in which it is offered. What will be its fate outside,” Moomin told Kashmir Life.

Earlier, the students said, that state’s Department of Handicrafts also advertised some posts where the eligibility was a degree in finance. The MFC pass outs were, however, declared ineligible.

“The handicrafts department (officials) went to a senior professor of Business School who told them that MFC pass outs are not eligible and instead take MBA with finance specialization,” said Moomin.

The students alleged a tussle between the Business School and the Department of Financial And Business Studies is complicating matters for them.

According to them a meeting between two departments was held in 2010 to decide the status of MFC degree. “The show was dominated by the Business School who are of the opinion that MFC should not be considered equivalent to the degree of MBA finance,” said Suhail (name changed).

“The business school objected to decision of our degree being equivalent to MBA finance as they fear for the security of their own students,” said Suhail.

He added that the Business School has proposed to offer this degree in their department and “then only to make it equivalent with MBA Finance.”

The UGC recognises the degree as equivalent to MBA and M.Com. The University of Delhi gives it the same status. As per the guidelines of UGC, courses having 80 per cent of similarity are equivalent to each other. The students ask that if UGC considers the degree equivalent to similar courses, why not the state government.

“In National Eligibility Test (NET) we can appear under both subjects, Management and Commerce,” said Harris (name changed).

The students have hopes from the Vice Chancellor, Professor Riyaz Punjabi, who they said made efforts at individual level to make this degree acceptable for various posts, but says their department as “incompetent” to follow the case.

“The VC is more than willing to help us but our department is not interested,” said Mohsina (name changed) a student of 4th semester.

The Head Business and Financial Studies, Dr Nazir Ahmed Nazir, declined the student version.

“When University is recognised it itself means that the course is recognised. The students are not correct in saying that this degree is not respected in the market,” Dr Nazir said.

“This degree is meant for private sector and there they are getting good jobs.”

He also informed that an Equivalence Committee was looking into the issue.

“We have discussed it at departmental level and the committee is working on it. It is not the individual who can do it,” he said declining to give a time frame.

The students acknowledge the scope in private sector, but added most of these jobs are available outside the state.
 
“I have responsibility in family. I can’t afford to leave valley and if I am capable to compete in government sector at high level why the university is not able to support me,” said Musadiq (name changed).

Dean, Faculty of Business and Financial Studies & Management, could not be reached despite repeated efforts. Both the Business School and the Business and Financial Studies departments come under the same faculty.

The batch strength of the course is around 40 and this year the number of pass outs will be approximately 160. A good number of payment seats are also offered.

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