Relaxing PhD Mandate for Assistant Professor Posts Can Improve Faculty Quality – Times of India

There is a debate as to whether a PhD should be a major requirement for the position of an assistant professor or whether this order should be removed. The Central University Grants Commission (UGC) has amended the rules to delay the mandatory requirement to do a PhD until July 2023 due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Currently, the post of Assistant Professor, which is an entry-level post across the university, can be filled by UGC NET (National Eligibility Test) qualified postgraduate degree holders. In 2018, the Center UGC introduced the ‘Minimum Qualification for Recruitment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for Maintaining Standards of Higher Education’, for which all candidates for the post of Assistant Professor must have a doctorate. Degree It provides a three-year period for obtaining a PhD degree, further stating that the compulsory conditions will be introduced for the academic year July 1, 2021 to 2021-22. But since then, the UGC has now delayed the order for another two years, giving potential candidates for the post of assistant professor more time to complete their PhDs. The PhD requirement was one of the hurdles in filling the vacancies in the vacant faculty posts due to which about 6,000 sanctioned posts are lying vacant in the central universities alone.

Success markers


Yogesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi (DU), said, “PhD degree is important for the position of Assistant Professor for the quality of education. But when hiring teachers, two aspects are taken into consideration – academic scholarship and teaching ability. This is not to say that a PhD is the only sign of academic success. In research-driven universities, a PhD degree is required, but in colleges, a UGC NET qualified candidate can do exactly the same. For example, at DU, we have already advertised for the position of Assistant Professor where NET qualified candidates can get the same opportunity as PhD candidates. Although UGC NET has improved the overall quality of teachers in entry-level posts, there was a time when UGC NET did not exist, and still good teachers were recruited in the university system. ”

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Creating the right talent pool


BJ Rao, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, said that PhD should be an essential qualification for teaching positions at PG and Post PG level. “A relaxation can affect the quality of research and education. However, organizations will always want to recruit the best among the available talents irrespective of the prescribed qualifications, ”Rao added. He explained that postgraduate degree holders who qualify for the UGC NET qualify to be considered for the position of Assistant Professor but with limited academic pursuits. “It is important that meritorious applicants are selected.”

The current relaxation, he says, will widen the application pool, but the responsibility to create the right talent pool will depend on a fair selection process. “India is a country with a surplus of talent so the degree criteria alone cannot evaluate a candidate. The qualities of academic excellence, activism, innovative thinking, perseverance, ability to give advice etc. are also important. Rao said PhDs should be mandatory for promotion in addition to the minimum qualification services prescribed in the 2018 UGC regulations for associate professors and professor levels.

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PhD is not required


A PhD degree may be desirable but not a prerequisite for the position of Assistant Professor, says Bhushan Patwardhan, former Vice Chairman, University Grants Commission, and National Research Professor – AYUSH, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Savitribai Phule University of Pune. “There is no possibility of compromising with the quality of faculty in HEI and indeed, the quality of teachers can be improved by attracting more interested people in the teaching profession. The condition of doing PhD to become a teacher is a very weak argument. This mandatory prerequisite has led to the frustration of pursuing a PhD, which has resulted in commercial stores selling these degrees in public, ”he added.

According to Patvardhan, PhD is basically a research degree. It should only be followed by those who have research qualifications and are interested in pursuing an academic research career. Such PhD holders can also become good teachers because teaching and research go hand in hand in different disciplines, especially at the PG level, he added.

“Many teachers have already entered HEI with low quality PhD degrees. It is to be hoped that the government will not cancel the PhD as a prerequisite for the position of assistant professor without developing a robust process to ensure faculty selection based on pre-determined criteria – which depends on academic merit, scholarship, commitment, nationalism and honesty. , “He said.

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