According to a recent announcement by the HRD ministry of the country, Ph.D. is now a must for the post of Assistant Professor in Universities which is like the entry level teaching post in Indian Universities.
For all of those who didn’t know: no, Ph.D. was not a compulsory qualification when it came to being a professor in Indian Universities till now.
All you need to do till date is have a Masters’ degree and crack the National Eligibility Test (NET).
Hence, this new guideline from the HRD is a game changer at various levels.
Let’s go through the fresh set of guidelines in a jiffy (source: HT):
#1. Recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor in Universities will now need a Ph.D. degree in addition to clearing NET and having a Masters’ degree.
#2. A simplified teacher evaluation grading system will be introduced.
#3. Promotion till the Associate Professor post will be strictly based on his/her teaching metrics.
And all these guidelines will be applicable by 2021.
What Does This Mean For The Students?
Well since it concerns the people who are already professors in the Universities in addition to the aspiring ones, this surely concerns the students of these universities as well.
But, in a good way or a bad way?
Well let’s look at it this way: if I want to become a professor at any University, I not only have to make an effort to get a Masters’ degree and pass the NET which is currently the eligibility criteria for becoming an Assistant Professor but I also have to put in ample amount of my time (we are talking years here) and efforts to do a Ph.D. which I might not want to do in the first place!
This will definitely make me less keen on becoming a professor and that would surely deny the students a deserving lecturer and hence, quality education.
Presently, as per the AISHE 2011-12 (All India Survey On Higher Education) carried out by the MHRD, the student to teacher ratio at institutes of higher education is 24 i.e. there is one teacher for every 24 students.
However, according to the new UGC guidelines, the student to teacher ratio at higher education institutes should at least be 10 which means there should be at least one teacher for every 10 students.
But, as far as I see it, on one hand the authorities are trying to bring more valuable teachers on board so that students can have quality education and on the other hand, they are actually discouraging young individuals from going for lecturership because of the new eligibility criteria because not everybody wants to do a PhD.
Clearly a paradox.
However, here is another twist.
In order to avoid brain-drain in our country, a special provision has been made under the new guidelines as per which NET is not required for those who have already pursued a Ph.D. from any University ranked among the Top 500 Global Universities. Hence, such candidates will be eligible for direct recruitment.
As much as this sounds good, here’s the catch.
Delhi University and a couple of other State Universities do not come under the Top 500 Global Universities.
This means that even though hundreds of candidates are already pursuing or have pursued Ph.D. from these institutes, these institutes will not have the autonomy to hire their own PhDs without making them clear NET which could be humiliating for these PhD scholars who already have accrued global recognition through their work.
This just discourages more and more aspirants from becoming a professor in Indian Universities and hence hampers the already screwed up education system in our country.
All we can do is hope that this new rule will not deter the quality experience students should have in these universities.
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