All those PhDs seeking teaching jobs in the colleges and universities across the country may not be shown the door under the University Grants Commission (UGC) rules notified in 2009 to bring uniformity in qualification of the faculty instead of each university following own rules.
The UGC rules put into difficulty the existing faculties as also the new aspirants as it required appointment of teachers in universities and colleges only if they have cleared the national or state-level eligibility tests called Net an Slet or enrolled for PhD through entrance test and did course work before writing the thesis.
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The government is set to tweak these rules on the recommendation of a panel headed by former UGC chairman Arun Nigavekar that recommended that a PhD will be eligible for the post of an assistant professor if he gave an open viva-voce, his thesis assessed by an external examiner and he has two publications in his name, including one in a peer-reviewed journal.
The Panel has also rejected the UGC making the rules to have retrospective effect that put jobs of over a lakh existing teachers in doubt as they had got their PhDs before 2009 and their degrees did not conform to these rules. The panel, which held discussions with faculty members across the country, recommended that it was unfair to implement the PhD norms retrospectively to make it equivalent to Net, now the national qualifying exam to become an assistant professor.
However, the panel felt that certain norms could not be ignored while treating PhDs who had not appeared for Net. The PhD should have appeared for an open viva voce and two external examiners should have assessed the thesis. The student should have published two papers, one in a peer review journal, it said.
“Eighty per cent of degree holders will be eligible for teaching jobs if the government gives conditional equivalence to Net-Slet,” said Prof. Kesab Bhattacharya, the president of All-India Federation of University and College Teachers” Organisations. He said most universities had been following the three norms while granting PhDs for over a decade.
The panel also examined concerns expressed by teachers over the academic performance indicator (API) scheme, which prescribes a point-system for promotion of teachers. It wants teachers to earn points from teaching, research and extension activities to be eligible for a promotion.The panel suggested that for first promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, more importance should be given to teaching than research. The next promotion from associate professor to professor would give priority to research over teaching.