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'Conflict of interest' spoils SKIMS' faculty selection
7/12/2018 10:34:00 PM
Saahil Suhail
Early Times Report
Anantnag, July 12: : Apart from disputed eligibility of candidates and skewed marking pattern, the 'conflict of interest' has spoiled the faculty selection process at Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.
A crucial document, which Early Times has accessed, reveals the mystery behind the sudden ouster of Dr. M. S. Khuroo from the Governing Body and Apical Selection committee of this premier health institute.
Document detailing how the whole the selection process at SKIMS was manipulated and then sent to then Chairman Governing Body-Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. But instead of ordering a probe or asking the committee to ensure transparency, the whistleblower was thrown out.
According to the document, SKIMS Apical Selection committee started holding interviews for the Direct Recruitment from July 2017 to December 2017. Interviews for 31 of the 40 specialties were completed and the selection list was finalized. Secretary Apical Selection Committee (then Director SKIMS, Prof. A. G. Ahanger) had kept few specialties for review by the members as there was inter-observer variation in scoring pattern in these specialties.
However, then in December 2017, SKIMS faced a major administrative problem as then Director SKIMS along with three senior faculty members were suspended/removed from their positions.
Prof. Omar Javed Shah took over as the next Director SKIMS according to government order and interview process restarted in late March/April 2018 for the left-over 9 specialties.
According to the document sent to then Chief Minister the interview process related to these left-over specialties under the new selection committee was uneven and fraught with many inconsistencies. There were several instances where the interview process was polluted by conflict of interests, which affected the fairness and transparency in the selections.
"Repeated attempts were made to bring some order to the system. The process was completed in late May 2018. On June 5, 2018, the minutes of APSC (Direct Recruitment) were circulated for signatures. On review, there were multiple aberrations/anomalies of diverse types in the minutes related to duplicate cumulative marks sheets in records, error in computing marks in to cumulative and master sheet, disputed eligibility of candidates, skewed marking pattern to candidates (either 10/10 or 0/10 saga).
In 2018, the impact of these errors to the fairness and transparency in the selection process was identified and necessary recommendations to correct such aberrations/errors were suggested. APSC took a decision to review the APSC minutes carefully and edit any aberrations/errors, typographic or otherwise. It was expected that the minutes of APSC (Direct Recruitment) will be edited considering the document submitted to the APSC and the edited list would be submitted for signatures by the members.
Insiders revealed that these aberrations had caused major disastrous effect on the selection process. A number of candidates were included in the recommended select list who were either non-eligible or did not figure in the selection list.
"A candidate was found in select list by scoring allotting 5 (instead of 0.5) out of 3 marks. This could be a case of "unintentional Cut and paste error" or "intentionally entered error to select wrong candidate," reads the documents.
Similarly, a non-eligible candidate was interviewed through some ingenious unscheduled interview months after the interview of the specialty was conducted; another non-eligible candidate was selected by an ingenious process. He figured in one of the 10 candidates in the specialty. This non-eligible candidate was given 10/10 score by the experts, while nine other candidates were failed in the interview. It is worth mentioning that some out of these 9 candidates had received high ranking by members, while the non-eligible candidate was given low score by members.
According to the documents, Chairman GB SKIMS (Chief Minister J&K state) was apprised of these aberrations and their impact to the transparencies of the results and a document was submitted to her office on June 5, 2018.
Surprisingly, on June 13 Dr. Khuroo was relieved of the responsibility of Vice-Chairman, APSC and member GB SKIMS.
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