The Board of Governors of the statutory Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education [BOSE] has refused to regularise over 14,000 unauthorised admissions by the elementary teacher training (ETT) institutions of Jammu province and left the matter to the discretion of the Omar Abdullah Cabinet.

Authoritative sources revealed to The Hindu that the board met in Jammu on Friday with the key agenda of the “regularisation” of the admissions by over 500 private educational institutions, mainly in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts. Senior bureaucrats and government officials from the departments of School Education, Higher Education, Finance, besides Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and representatives from the Universities of Kashmir and Jammu attended the meeting.

With a number of the 561 ETT schools in Jammu and 86 in Kashmir belonging to influential politicians and their families — including at least six sitting and former Ministers — a well-connected academic lobby is known to be pushing for regularisation of the admissions. Even after the notified process ended with the authorised admission of about 13,000 candidates in the middle of 2012, the management of over 500 ETT schools in Jammu division proceeded with the unauthorised admission of 14,000 more students, mostly from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.

Huge amounts of money are known to have been collected from these candidates notwithstanding the BOSE directions warning them against such admissions beyond the fixed last date.

Sources said that despite being “under tremendous pressure from the men of consequence in the government,” the Board of Governors refused to take a decision to regularise the ETT admissions. After a great deal of deliberation, it decided to give a “recommendation of one-time exception.”

“We have left the matter to the government. It’s now the Cabinet that would have to take the last call,” said a senior bureaucratic source. Chairman of BOSE, Dr. Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, and Secretary Renu Goswami declined to share any details of the meeting with the media.

However, Joint Secretary [ETT] Vidya Rattan Sharma confirmed to The Hindu that over 500 ETT schools/colleges had violatied norms and instructions from the BOSE in 2012.

Leaves it to the Omar Abdullah Cabinet to take the call