‘There is a perception that Kashmir has limited working days and semester system overburdens students and teachers.’

The University of Kashmir’s first directly appointed Registrar Dr Nisar Ahmad Mir tells Mir Suneem

KASHMIR LIFE (KL): You are the first directly appointed Registrar of the University of Kashmir? How are you planning to manage this huge institution?

NISAR AHMAD MIR (NAM): The University had constituted a selection committee to recruit a Registrar directly, and I am fortunate to get this opportunity to serve this prestigious institution. It is a challenging assignment but meanwhile a great opportunity for me to deliver my best. Our University exists beyond Hazratbal campus as it has campuses in Leh, Kargil, Baramulla, Islamabad and Zakura. We are going to start courses at Kupwara campus as well. I will be facilitating and executing our Vice Chancellor’s plans and ideas, and together, we will try to improve and enhance the education and other co-curricular activities in this institution along with our experienced faculty.

KL: What are the loopholes in academics and the co-curricular activities that you wish to address first?

NAM: There are no loopholes. But every institution has to go through a SWOT analysis to notice their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ours is an old university and has well-established systems in place. There are certain limitations that our VC has already started addressing.

Currently, our priority is the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Since 2016 when our NAAC accreditation expired, it has not been conducted in this university and we want it to be conducted immediately as there are certain inter-related issues with NAAC also. Now UGC, MHRD and other funding organizations have linked our funding with NAAC grading. The funding will be given according to the grading. We have already submitted our Self Study Report (SSR) to NAAC Bangalore. They had raised some queries, which we responded to and it has been accepted. We are now waiting for a NAAC team to visit us and assess us on different parameters like academics, research, administrative and extra-curricular activities. We expect a good NAAC score, which will enable us to submit our funding proposal to different agencies, and subsequently we can develop other campuses and consolidate on our main campus as well.

KL: Why this university has a laid back and delayed response in terms of Admissions, examinations or results of students?

NAM: Since all the colleges across Kashmir are affiliated with this University, we depend on them for completion of syllabi. The moment they certify their progress, we plan an examination.

For undergraduate (UG) students, we have identified certain priority areas and the declaration of results is one of them, and soon we will sort out this issue. Not only it affects students but the administration as well. A delay in the examination at UG level means a simultaneous delay in entrance examinations for Post Graduate (PG) classes. Earlier, KU conducted these entrance tests in March- April; now it has unfortunately gone to September-October.

In a recent meeting, we have decided to conduct an entrance test for PG twice in order to compensate for the loss of students and fill the gap. We realize that the last batch of UG lost the opportunity to apply outside the state for PG courses but we are working hard to streamline the admission system now.

In PG classes, however, there is no such problem as the examinations are conducted on time and results are also declared timely.

KL: The results of second semester UG students currently in their fifth semester are yet to be declared in several streams. What if some have multiple backlogs? How would they cope up later? Isn’t it unfair?

NAM: Unfortunately in 2016, the situation de-stabilised the calendar and the examination was not held that year and it started the backlog. That is why we are conducting two entrance tests in 2019 so that the next batch won’t suffer and the system gets pushed back to its original track. As far as the declaration of results is concerned, there are certain subjects that take more time for evaluation. The University is already discussing the issue with the Controller examination to address the issue.

KL: A year has to have two semesters. But every semester examination takes three months. Why?

NAM: In a joint administration meeting, we discussed the issue and realized that the basket period of examinations is taking longer than required and it must be minimized. We will take the necessary measures and put an end to this soon.

KL: There are rumours that the University is going to do away with semester systems?

NAM: In the present circumstances, the semester system overburdens students and teachers. There is a public perception that Kashmir has a limited number of working days and semester system overburdens students and teachers and University should put an end to it.

We have clubbed the final two semesters of current final year students in their own interest so that their courses are completed on time and they could pursue higher studies in the same year. However, if a major change in curriculum or systems has to be discussed and approved by certain bodies within the University, it should be after due consultation with all the stakeholders including the college principals.

KL: Why are students asked to submit fees and fill forms for PhD and MPhil examinations when it is not held in the first place, and rather students already having qualified the national examination are taken in?

NAM: The PhD and MPhil admissions are determined on the availability of seats. Norms prevent us from compromising the numbers. The 2018 guidelines of United Grants Commission (UGC) make entrance test compulsory but those who have qualified JRF, NET and SLET are exempted from appearing in it. If the seats are already filled with such students, there are no seats left and no need to take the entrance examination. But if some seats are left, then the test has to be conducted. However, if in a particular department, we are not conducting the entrance examination, the fees are refunded.

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