UGC drops rule making PhD mandatory to qualify for assistant prof jobs in universities
The commission , in 2018 set the criteria for recruitment for entry-level posts at universities and colleges.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has reversed its decision of making a PhD mandatory for assistant professors in higher education institutions; the National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) will continue to remain the basis for recruitments to the entry-level positions.
The commission , in 2018 set the criteria for recruitment for entry-level posts at universities and colleges. At the time, it asked all universities to start applying the PhD criterion for recruitment from July 2021. The move was criticized by faculty from different universities who said that many candidates could not complete their PhDs amid the Covid-19 pandemic and appealed to the central government to relax the eligibility. In October 2021, the commission announced that it was deferring implementation of the criterion for another two years, i.e July 2023. But it has now been scrapped altogether.
According to a notification dated June 30 and released in public domain on Wednesday, the commission has amended the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and other Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2018, and deleted the PhD requirement clause.
This has been substituted with another clause stating, that “NET/SET/SLET shall be the minimum criteria for the direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor for all Higher Education Institutions.”
UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said that the move will provide relief to aspiring candidates who wish to join academics. “If they clear NET/SET/SLET, they will become eligible to apply for the post of Assistant Professor in all higher education institutions (HEIs). However, depending on the number of applications in higher education institutions received in a given discipline, the shortlisting criteria can be fixed above the minimum standards set by UGC to invite a manageable number of candidates for the interview.”
Kumar clarified that a PhD will still be needed for promotion to associate professor level. “Therefore, even if someone joins as an assistant professor without a PhD, the faculty member, while teaching in the HEI, has to do good quality research and obtain a PhD to be eligible for promotion to the next level leading to improved research outcomes in HEIs,”
Abha Dev Habib, an associate professor at Delhi University’s Miranda House College welcomed the amendment. “Making PhD a mandatory requirement for entry level recruitments would have put candidates coming from marginalized sections in a disadvantaged position. It would have also increased the entry age of the profession. Besides,universities would not have been able to fill the vacancies.”
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