The ministry of human resource development has formed a committee under former University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Arun Nigavekar to review and suggest alternatives and improvement for the Academic Performance Indicator (API), a mandatory requirement for universities to select and promote faculty members.
The panel will also review the exemption to PhD candidates from clearing the national eligibility test as eligibility criteria for the entry point for the teachers’ appointment. Considering the increasing number of teachers’ vacancies in universities and colleges, the ministry has decided to review the situation and sought the opinion of universities, research institutions and public by September 20.
The advertisement stated that the central government and the UGC have laid down various provisions to regulate the teachers and academic staff in universities and colleges and their career advancement in UGC-funded institutions. “However, the continuing vacancies in central government-funded institutions are a matter of concern as these universities and colleges have to discharge their role as pace setting institutions in their area of operation.”
It added that the government has received recommendations regarding the scheme of academic and research requirements governing direct recruitment and career advancement of teachers in universities and colleges. In the interest of attracting and retaining talent and selecting the most meritorious to the teaching profession, the central government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Arun Nigavekar.
The committee will evaluate the API scheme with regard to the entry point and suggest suitable improvements. The members will also evaluate the PhD/NET qualifications for entry of teachers and suggest a policy for selections.
Speaking to TOI, Nigavekar said that a preliminary meeting of the members was conducted few weeks back during which it was decided to invite the feedback from the universities and colleges on the issue.
“Teachers’ vacancies and the eligibility criteria is a complex issue and needs to be handled carefully without disturbing the quality. We are looking at uniformity in all academic institutions, and for it, we need to create a national strategy to achieve the solution,” he said.
He added that the committee’s next meeting is likely to be conducted in the first week of October and the recommendations are likely to be drawn by October end.
The API system was introduced in 2010, but its received wide criticism across the country for allegedly allowing favouritism and benefitting a select few. The UGC had almost scrapped the API in 2012, however, it was retained after the ministry’s intervention in 2013. The argument for scrapping the API was that the strict but inflexible parameters were holding up appointments and worsening teacher vacancies across universities.