PhD scholars in the state who have earned their degrees before 2009 held a major protest on Sunday in the city demanding that they should be allowed to apply for guest faculty posts in degree colleges of Uttarakhand.
Agitating scholars under the aegis of Uttarakhand PhD holders Association (UPHA) had planned to gherao chief minister Harish Rawat’s residence, but were stalled midway by police at Kanak chowk, after which they sat on the streets and shouted slogans against finance and higher education minister, Indira Hriyadesh, for over an hour.
The protest was stalled after chief minister’s media incharge assured the members of a meeting with the CM in this regard by Sunday evening.
The hiring for guest lecturers in degree colleges of the state is underway, but according to UGC regulations 2009, PhD scholars can not apply for teaching posts in degree colleges of the state without qualifying for National eligibility test (NET) or Uttarakhand State Eligibility Test (U-SET).
“We are not really demanding jobs, all we want is the opportunity. We must be given a chance to be selected for guest lecturers’ posts in degree colleges. When we completed our PhDs, spending a major chunk of our lives on research, NET/U-SET wasn’t compulsory, so why such a criteria should be imposed on us?” said Veerendra Bartwal, UPHA media-in charge.
It is believed that nearly 8,000 PhD holders will be affected if as per UGC 2009 regulation, the PhD holders prior to 2009 are not considered for appointment as assistant professors or guest lecturers in degree colleges.
The members allege that in states such as Haryana, Punjab, Orissa and Delhi, there is no such rule and if the Uttarakhand government does not give them a chance to be recruited in the state colleges, it will lead to migration of many qualified and experienced scholars from the state.
The scholars have also threatened to go on a hunger strike if their demands are not met.
At the time of filing this report, the meeting of association members with the CM was yet to take place.