UGC’s move on assistant professor eligibility draws mixed reactions; commission clarifies PhDs 'eligible'

UGC made NET, SLET, SET as minimum eligibility criteria for direct recruitment of assistant professors in colleges and universities.

UGC's decision on eligibility criteria for assistant professors gets mixed reactions (Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons)UGC's decision on eligibility criteria for assistant professors gets mixed reactions (Representational Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Vagisha Kaushik | July 6, 2023 | 06:39 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to set aside PhD and make the National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) as the minimum eligibility criteria for direct recruitment of assistant professors has drawn mixed reactions from PhDs, professors, and aspirants. Some researchers demanded to make PhD mandatory too while many candidates came up with doubts in the gazette notification.

The commission made the amendments in the “Minimum qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other academic staff in Universities and colleges and other measures for maintenance of standards in higher education regulations 2018”. The revised regulations have come into effect from July 1, 2023, UGC added.

Meanwhile, UGC has clarified that PhD degree holders are eligible for the posts. The commission explained that it has only amended the general condition of PhD being mandatory for the direct recruitment of assistant professors. While NET, SLET, SET are the criteria for those who have a master’s degree, PhD degree holders are exempted from these exams for the appointment of the post.

Academics, researchers, and students took to Twitter to share their opinion on the new UGC rules. A Twitter user called it a right decision and said, “Ugc has taken the right decision. An aspirant with NET, SET or SLET plus PhD will now serve in Higher Education. Bogus PhD holders fail to crack these competitive exams. Only NET, SET or SLET qualified candidates should be allowed to go for research.”

A PhD asked to stop giving research degrees and said in a tweet, “UGC will destroy Indian Higher education. If Ph.D. is not Compulsory for Assistant Professor. Please stop giving Ph.D. Degree. 1. Ph.D. Students are most experienced then NET Qualified. 2. Students have to qualify Entrance for Ph.D. 3. Ph.D. Students are giving 3 to 5 years.”

A researcher tweeted, “If NET is mandatory then why many Prestigious University taking admission into PhD without NET but the basis of entrance exam. This amendment this amendment is legally wrong. UGC should stop playing with youth who have dedicated their youth in research and now they are worthless.”

A law student agreed with the decision and wrote, “NET is a joke of an exam but I oddly empathize with UGC, nothing they do can guarantee quality of teacher or researcher it's all bs. PhDs in India are treated as if they are a joke by so many unis and profs. Will never forget PhD in undergrad I saw by one of faculty on crpci”

Another Twitter user said, “What kind of rule is this? Is this UGC's way of undermining a PhD degree? If PhD is not mandatory then why should NET be. They both should be optional then. The existing criteria is good. NET shouldn't be the criteria if someone has a PhD.” “So, a PhD from Harvard or Oxford is not eligible to become assistant professor in India. Good luck to those Indians who are doing PhD abroad in world class institutions and aim to return as a faculty. This notice will only boost #braindrain out of India,” commented another Twitter user.

A Twitter user asked how this is an upgradation of standards and said, “Min qualifications to teach in higher secondary schools remain Masters with BEd. Ironically, in colleges the requirement is Masters with NET/SET/SLET. I don't see how this is an upgrade on standards. PhD should be a mandatory requirement with NET/SET/SLET”

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