From 2021, a PhD will be a must for teaching at university level , even for assistant professors, which is the entry level designation for instructors in universities, according to a draft policy document seen by Hindustan Times.
Teachers will undergo a mandatory, month-long induction programme before starting work and also have to devote two hours for mentoring of students for community development/extra-curricular activities.
According to a senior Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry official who asked not to be identified, these changes have been made to enhance the quality of education in the higher education sector. This person added that the University Grants Commission (UGC) will soon define the minimum qualifications for teachers.
So far, at the entry level, the minimum eligibility requirement for an assistant professor was that they should have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET) and have a Masters degree.
The government is likely to notify the new qualifications and other measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education soon.
In addition to the PhD, aspirants will have to clear the National Eligibility Test (NET) or an accredited test (state level eligibility test) or other similar exams, HRD ministry officials added.
However, those who obtained PhDs before 2009 will not be required to clear NET.
UGC , which had put up the draft regulations online for suggestions and objections, has incorporated all the changes and sent it to the HRD ministry for approval.
Some of the other features of the regulations include doing away with the Academic Performance Indicator (API) based appraisal , the introduction of a simplified teacher evaluation grading system, and the addition of a academic/research score for universities to improve research output.
In addition to this, promotion in colleges up to the level of associate professor will be based on teaching-centric metrics and in universities, teaching and research-centric. A PhD has also been made mandatory for promotion to the level of associate professor in colleges and assistant professor (Selection Grade) in universities.
To encourage the return of best brains who made a mark in foreign universities, a special provision has been made in the in eligibility conditions for recruitment of assistant professors in universities and colleges. All those who have a PhD degree from a university/institutions with a ranking among top 500 in the World University Ranking (at any time) by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the Times Higher Education (THE) or the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai) will be eligible for direct recruitment and not be required to clear NET.
“The Seventh Pay Commission had recommended that PhD should be the minimum eligibility for recruitment at universities. After much consideration, it was decided that it should be applicable from 2021. NET as the minimum eligibility criteria is important for a diverse country and as there are so many different subjects,” said VS Chauhan, who was the chairman of the pay review commission for the seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC), and is the current chairman of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).
“I am unaware as to what has prompted these changes. I am sure that there must be some wisdom behind them,” said Dinesh Singh, former Vice Chancellor of Delhi University.
Singh added that it was ironical that because it isn’t in the Top 500 globally, the University of Delhi will, in effect, not be able to hire its own PhDs directly and require them to clear NET. “I have first-hand knowledge of so many doctoral students of the universities whose doctoral work have been deemed outstanding at the global level and have been published in outstanding research journals. Such PhDs will be humiliated by making them take the NET exam,” he added.