The Supreme Court’s verdict upholding UGC norms making National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Level eligibility Test (SLET) mandatory for aspiring assistant professors and lecturers has been welcomed by academics.
“Only qualified candidates will now be able to apply for the positions of assistant professors and lecturers,” said Vaidhyasubramaniam S, dean, planning and development, Sastra University. “Those who want such jobs will also take NET and SLET more seriously. In due course of time, institutions will have a decent pool of qualified people to choose from,” he said.
On April 6, 2012, Allahabad High Court had said in its verdict that the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations, 2009, were satisfactory for the appointment of assistant professors. The regulations say that a candidate with a master’s degree who has passed NET or SLET exam would qualify for interview to the post of assistant professor. However, candidates with PhD would be exempted from NET or SLET. In judgment exempted those who had obtained MPhil or PhD before December 31, 2009 from NET/SLET.
A Supreme Court bench of Justice R F Nariman and Justice T S Thakur in its verdict said UGC itself did not implement its recommendations. The bench said that if six out of 11 criteria were satisfied by a candidate who was awarded a PhD degree by a university, that candidate can be exempted from passing NET/SLET.
Academicians and experts have welcomed the decision. A professor of an arts and science college said, “If you look at the passing percentage of NET, especially in mathematics and science subjects, it is low. While it will take some time to improve, it is a good decision in the long run. Universities and colleges may find it difficult in the initial stages to recruit good faculty.”
S Swaminathan, president of NET SLET Association, said, “The number of people who have passed NET and SLET are few, but even these have not been hired by government and government aided institutions.”