Srinagar, Sep 9: Hundreds of Social work professional degree holders (MSW’s) of J&K state held a “silent sit-in protest” in Pratap Park Srinagar on Saturday.
They protested against the official apathy towards their profession since last two decades. The protesters said, that though first post graduate course of social work was started in the University of Kashmir in the year 2003, and simultaneously in following years some other universities like IGNOU and CUK, Jammu also initiated the course. However, there is no recognition of their degree by different govt departments so far.
“Though we have met and given many representations to different departments in last 15 years still we are not eligible for relevant government jobs.”
They said that when their fraternity is best capacitated to serve in departments like Social Welfare, ICDS, Labour Welfare to name a few still due to non-inclusion of social work degree as eligibility in these departments, even if they apply for these positions from time to time they are not even short listed for the interview. The irony can be judged from the fact that they are not even found eligible for the post of Social Worker.
They demanded that around 3000 professional social work degree holders who have completed their degrees from within and outside state universities shall be at least given chance to appear for interviews held for these posts. The most recent example of official apathy towards social workers is that the shortlisted candidates for the posts of Protection officer, Social Workers etc do not include any MSW’s in many districts. Furthermore, they demanded that state govt. shall direct the concerned departments that the post graduate social work course (MSW) shall be included as eligibility for the relevant posts like that of social workers, protection officers, counselors, mental health workers, outreach workers to name few.
The protesters further added that after giving so many representations with no positive results they have been forced to come on roads and if their demand of inclusion in eligibility in the relevant posts is not meant they may be forced to sit-in for a hunger strike and take other desperate measures as they are unable to support their families. Some of the candidates said that they are unemployed since last 13 years since they passed out from the University and are now feeling completely frustrated and alienated.
They also said if the state does not give professional degree holders chance to serve then the courses of social work offered by different universities in the state shall be closed down so that no new comers face similar hardships as they are facing. It would be pertinent to state here that in other states of India social work degree holders are preferred for these jobs over other candidates as they have relevant degree, exposure and experience. They also demanded that social works shall be included as a subject for PSC state service exams.