Experts oppose UGC's move to make PhD optional for asst professor posts

HYDERABAD: Professors, educational experts and PhD scholars criticised the latest decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) withdrawing the criteria of a mandatory PhD for applicants to the post of assistant professor in higher educational institutions.

The UGC had said on Wednesday that the National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) would be the minimum criteria for direct recruitment to the post of assistant professor. A PhD would only be optional, it said.

In 2018, the commission reiterated that a PhD was a mandatory requirement for associate professors’ recruitment.

Prof K. Narender, Department of Journalism and former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Osmania University, said that the UGC must take the opinion of experts and stakeholders before deciding which would impact the education system in India.

“It should focus on the quality and content of the candidate, rather than merely on qualification,” he said.

Prof B. Bhima, principal of Nizam College and director of the microbiology department, said that a postgraduate degree with NET, SET and SLET qualifications is enough for entry-level.

“They can pursue a PhD after joining the post. Because of the decision, the competition among aspirants would increase, resulting in the universities getting quality and capable candidates for teaching,” Bhima said.

“Whether you have a PhD or not is a secondary thing… It should be thoroughly debated and understood because unilateral decision-making will have a cascading effect on students. Why can’t you (UGC) reach out to the think tank and stakeholders before making a decision?”

Prof. K. Narender, department of Journalism and mass communication, Osmania University

“The move is good and it will give a chance to many students who have been aspiring to be professors in universities. A PG with NET, SET and SLET is enough for entry-level and they can pursue a PhD after joining the post. The move will increase competition among aspirants and universities would get quality and capable candidates for teaching.”

Prof B. Bhima, Principal, Nizam College and director, Centre for Microbial and Fermentation Technology

“Each assistant professor can guide a maximum of four PhD scholars if they hold a PhD. Those who are selected on the basis of NET/SET/SLET scores won’t be eligible to guide PhD scholars. if the PhD is not mandatory for their recruitment, it will affect the intake of PhD students.

Syopat, a doctoral candidate from Rajasthan, Department of Linguistics and Phonetics at EFLU and assistant professor of English at FCRI, Mulugu

PhD indicates specialised research training and the programme also involves teaching and mentoring responsibilities which improve the pedagogical skills of the candidate. People can argue that NET tests overall ability, but it hardly requires three months of preparation. Research at Indian universities is on a downtrend. This move will hamper it further.

Ashish Chauhan, PhD scholar, Osmania University

The frequent changes in the decisions by the UGC are confusing the academia and candidates pursuing PhD. It is always welcome to make NET or SET mandatory but I believe UGC should also take a decision on PhD as the mandatory qualification to avoid confusion. As a PhD scholar, I strongly recommend it as PhD gives a lot of exposure not only to the subject but also to the academic space.”

Satish Goud, PhD scholar, Centre for Economic and Social Studies

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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