PhD mandate relaxation for assistant professor’s post may improve faculty quality – Times of India


There is debate over whether a doctorate should be a key condition for an associate professor’s position or whether this mandate should be abolished. The center amended the University Grants Commission (UGC) rules to postpone the mandatory requirement for a Ph.D. until July 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, the assistant professor position, which is an entry-level position at universities, can be filled by master’s degree holders who are qualified by the UGC NET (National Eligibility Test). In 2018, the Center introduced the Regulation on Minimum Qualifications for the Appointment of Faculty and Other Academic Personnel at Universities and Colleges and on Measures to Maintain Higher Education Standards, which requires all candidates for the position of assistant professor to hold a doctorate. degree. It provided for a three-year period for obtaining a Ph.D. degree, and also indicated that a prerequisite would be introduced from July 1, 2021 for the 2021-22 academic year. On the other hand, the UGC has postponed this mandate for another two years, which gives potential associate professor candidates more time to defend their doctoral dissertations. The PhD requirement has been one of the stumbling blocks to filling vacant faculty positions, leaving about 6,000 authorized positions vacant at central universities alone.

Success marker

Yogesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi (UU), says: “A PhD as an assistant professor is essential to the quality of teaching and learning. But when hiring teachers, two aspects are taken into account – the academic scholarship and the teaching ability. This does not mean that a doctorate is the only indicator of academic performance. A PhD is required at research universities, but a candidate with a UGC NET qualification can also work in colleges. At DU, for example, we have already advertised assistant professor positions in which qualified NET candidates might be as good as candidates for a Ph.D. Although UGC NET improved the overall quality of teachers in entry-level positions, there was a time when UGC NET did not exist and still good teachers were hired in the university system. ”


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Building the right talent pool

BJ Rao, vice chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, says a Ph.D. should be an important qualification for faculty members at PG and post-PG levels. “Relaxation can affect the quality of research and teaching. However, schools will always look for the best talent available, regardless of qualifications, ”adds Rao. He explains that Master’s degree holders with the UGC NET qualification are worthy enough to be considered for an assistant professor position, but in limited areas of educational pursuits. “It is important that worthy candidates are selected.”

The current loosening will, he said, expand the pool of applications, but the responsibility for building the right pool of talent will hinge on a sensible selection process. “India is a country with an abundance of talent, so a candidate cannot be judged by degree alone. Qualities such as academic excellence, proactivity, innovative thinking, persistence, mentoring, etc. also matter. ” According to Rao, a Ph.D. must be mandatory for career advancement, in addition to the minimum qualifications required by the UGC 2018 rules for associate professor and professor levels.

PhD is optional

According to Bhushan Patwardhan, Former Vice Chair of the University Grants Commission and National Research Professor Ayush, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences at Savitribai Fule Pune University, a Ph.D. as a prerequisite for an associate professor’s position may be desirable, but not required. “It is unlikely that the quality of teaching staff in HEIs will decline, and, in fact, this could improve the quality of teachers by attracting more people who are genuinely interested in the teaching profession. The requirement for a PhD to become a teacher has very weak logic. This prerequisite has led to despair for the doctorate, which in turn has led commercial stores to openly sell those degrees, ”he adds.

According to Patvardhan, a doctorate is essentially a research degree. This should only be done by those with research ability and seeking to pursue an academic research career. He adds that such doctoral holders can be made good teachers because teaching and research go hand in hand across multiple disciplines, especially at the PG level.

“Already many teachers may have entered universities with poor quality PhD degrees. It is our hope that the government will not simply abandon the doctorate as a precondition for the position of assistant professor without having a robust mechanism in place to ensure that faculty is selected based on predetermined criteria based on academic merit, scholarships, commitment, nationalism and honesty. ,” He says.


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