The Centre has scrapped the requirement of PhD to apply for an assistant professor’s post in universities, formally restoring parity between varsities and colleges on the minimum qualification.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has dropped the provision from the regulations unveiled in 2018, which were supposed to have been implemented from July 2021 but were deferred in view of the pandemic.
Universities and colleges have been recruiting assistant professors based on the fulfilment of the minimum qualification requirements as prescribed by the UGC from time to time.
Before the 2018 regulations, candidates qualifying in the National Eligibility Test (NET), conducted by the UGC, or the State Eligibility Test (SET) — some states call it the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) — conducted by the state governments, were eligible to apply for an assistant professor’s post in colleges and universities. Those with PhD degrees were exempt from the NET/SET/SLET requirement.
In its 2018 regulations, the UGC introduced a provision making PhD mandatory for those applying for the assistant professor’s post in universities. For colleges, the provision for entry through NET/ SET/ SLET was kept unchanged.
On Tuesday, the UGC notified an amended regulation, dropping the provision of mandatory PhD for assistant professor’s jobs in universities.
The new provision says: “NET/SET/SLET shall be the minimum criteria for the direct recruitment to the post of assistant professors for all higher education institutions.”
Abha Dev Habib and Rajesh Jha, former members of the executive council of Delhi University (DU), welcomed the decision, saying the proposed provision was never discussed with the teaching community.
“The DU Teachers Association has always opposed the requirement of PhD for assistant professors in universities. Such a requirement affects the entry of candidates from marginalised sections since most of them do not have the resources and support to pursue PhD,” Habib said.
She said the minimum qualification should not be rigid since the final selection is to be done by subjectexperts in the respective institutions.
“The requirement of PhD was also prompting candidates to pursue research courses without rigour. The quality of research was suffering too,” Habib said.
Jha said the UGC had imposed a provision that sought to discriminate against the faculty members in colleges.
“The qualification has always remained the same for university and college teachers. The UGC regulation sought to treat them differently. This is not a healthy practice,” Jha said.