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Predicament of Rehbar-e-Khel Teachers

The then people at the helm of affairs have jeopardized careers. But, the incumbent LG administration is a ray of hope for everyone out there

Post by MUSHTAQ HURRA on Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Khailo Gay Koodo Gay Ho Jawogay Kharab (Playing, gamboling will ruin you) was the maxim of past. Parents used to ridicule their children for spending any time in playgrounds and sports activities. Even teachers would punish their students for indulging in frequent sports and frolicking programmes, because there were scanty and meager career opportunities available in the field of sports and games. Pursuing academics was believed to be the only mantra of success in life. Sportsmen were not treated at par with educationally and academically qualified people. But, with the passage of time, games and sports began to offer rich and lucrative career choices. Perception of people regarding it, changed considerably. Last three or four decades witnessed a paradigm shift in the approach of people towards games and sports. It burgeoned greatly as a booming industry.

The rise of games and sports lured young people of our erstwhile state, to choose physical education as their means to earn livelihood. I mean, they studied physical education with the hope that it will fetch them a good job, given the growing scope and potential in the field.  Even the subject (Physical Education) was introduced at higher secondary level, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Young people almost broke the shackles of medical and engineering stereotypes, and thought to make a new beginning. Thousands of aspiring young men and women from Jammu and Kashmir, studied physical education across the length and breadth of our country. They thronged some prestigious colleges and universities of India, and obtained degrees like M.Ped, B.Ped, M.Phil, PhD, NET, SET etc.

But, ironically, physical education pass-outs were absorbed in youth services and sports ( YSS ) department very sparsely. Thus, the number of unemployed physical education professionals, grew to alarming proportions. In the year 2017, the then state government of Jammu and Kashmir envisaged a scheme, called Rehbar-e-Khel (REK), and accordingly, some three thousands highly qualified physical education professionals were recruited as physical education teachers, on a paltry stipend of rupees three thousand per month. The terms and conditions laid down by the then state administration were too harsh and cruel to believe. As per the scheme, the teachers were supposed to serve the department on the minimal honorarium, during the preliminary seven years. The vacant posts of physical education teachers were frozen, and kept reserved for the serving Rehbar-e-Khel teachers. The REK teachers had to be inducted and confirmed on the permanent establishment, after the satisfactory period of initial seven years of service. 



Though the stipend was too paltry for the teachers to make both ends to meet, but the dream career ahead of these first seven years, motivated and inspired them to give their best to the department. It is pertinent to mention here that unemployment allowance given in many European and American states, in comparison to the stipend given to these Rehbar-e-Khel teachers, is quite substantial and high. Well, the agony of these REKs was reducing with every passing year, till the incumbent LG administration of Jammu and Kashmir UT circulated an order in May, 2022, to de-freeze the vacancies, reserved for the Rehbar-e-Khel teachers. The administrative decree created havoc and caused ripples among the Rehbar-e-Khel teaching fraternity.

They registered their dismay and anger against the decision. The teachers took to streets, and protested against the order. Many influential trade union leaders of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, expressed solidarity with these teachers, by joining their protest programmes. Even a popular trade union leader had suffered cardiac ailment during one of the protest programmes, at Srinagar. And consequently, when representatives of Rehbar-e-Khel teachers met the Honourable LG - Jinab Manoj Sinha Jee, he assured them of withdrawal of the order. But, that order has probably been kept in abeyance.

It created inhibitions, suspicions, and apprehensions, in this cadre of teaching community. In the wake of the above mentioned order and the prolonged provisional period of initial seven years, they could see their futures bleak and dark. They voiced their concerns, but to no avail. They approached people at the helm, but no one came forward to scrutinize the genuineness of their demands. When things looked darker and darker, they came out of their houses, and commenced a historic dharna in the city of temples - Jammu. They are on roads, protesting peacefully and democratically, for last forty days or so. During the course of the protest, they were once baton charged as well. Many teachers, including some female protesters had suffered minor injuries. But, the protesting Rehbar-e-Khel teachers looked determined to make a breakthrough. Administration failed to disperse them, and consequently, the physical education teachers intensified their silent hartal, with the hope that LG administration of Jammu and Kashmir will mitigate their pains.

Many political stalwarts of Jammu and Kashmir, including Mr Ravinder Raina Sahab, visited the protesting Rehbar-i-Khel teachers, and pledged to extend all possible support and help to them. But, the ice is yet to melt. The scenes emerging from the protesting site are piteous and poignant. Someone is crying for failing to bring medicine for their old and ailing parents, someone is unable to buy a toy of rupees hundred for her little doll( Daughter), and someone is cursing his fate for not feeding his children well. The then people at the helm of affairs have jeopardized careers. But, the incumbent LG administration is a ray of hope for everyone out there. We have already seen their guts when the administration resolved the chronic issue of Rehbar-i-Taleem teachers. I request Honorable lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Shri Manoj Sinha Sahab, to look into the matter of Rehbar-e-Khel teachers sympathetically and compassionately, and end the miseries of the beleaguered teaching fraternity. 


(Author is a Teacher and a Columnist. He can be reached at mushtaqhurra143@gmail.com)


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