Re­cruit­ment woes

The HRD Min­is­ter’s re­cent an­nounce­ment mak­ing the doc­tor­ate de­gree manda­tory for as­sis­tant pro­fes­sors and dis­con­tin­u­ing the NET as an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion proves a dou­ble blow to teacher as­pi­rants in uni­ver­si­ties.

FrontLine - - COVER STORY -

THE MIN­ISTRY OF HU­MAN RE­SOURCE De­vel­op­ment (MHRD) made a num­ber of new an­nounce­ments in June and July in pur­suit of re­forms in the re­cruit­ment process of teach­ers in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. Co­in­ci­den­tally, the an­nounce­ments came when most of the col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties were busy ad­mit­ting stu­dents for the new aca­demic ses­sion. It started with the HRD Min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar’s an­nounce­ment on June 13 that the doc­tor­ate de­gree would be manda­tory at the time of en­try as an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in uni­ver­si­ties. This an­nounce­ment came as a for­mal ap­proval of the MHRD to the sign­ing of the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion (UGC)’S draft reg­u­la­tions in Fe­bru­ary 2018 for the ap­point­ment of teach­ers in uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges. The Min­is­ter also stated that the Na­tional El­i­gi­bil­ity Test (NET) would no longer be an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion for teacher as­pi­rants in uni­ver­si­ties. These an­nounce­ments prompt one to look into the el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria for the re­cruit­ment of teach­ers and the changes those cri­te­ria have gone through over time.

NA­TIONAL EL­I­GI­BIL­ITY TEST

The NET was started in 1984 for pro­vid­ing re­search fel­low­ships to doc­toral stu­dents. In 1990, it was also made an el­i­gi­bil­ity test for lec­ture­ship in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. Since then, the NET has been con­ducted in hu­man­i­ties by the UGC and in science by the UGC jointly with the Coun­cil of Sci­en­tific and In­dus­trial Re­search (CSIR). The test ini­tially had a mix­ture of ob­jec­tive and sub­jec­tive type ques­tions, but be­came a solely ob­jec­tive type test in the mul­ti­ple choice ques­tion (MCQ) pat­tern in June 2012. This change drew se­vere crit­i­cism from aca­demics on the grounds that it would judge only pos­ses­sion of in­for­ma­tion about a sub­ject rather than in­depth knowl­edge. The MCQ pat­tern in its present form would not be able to ex­am­ine an­a­lyt­i­cal skills, an in­te­gral part of teach­ing at the col­lege and univer­sity level. The NET, which a post­grad­u­ate de­gree stu­dent can pass even at the time of ap­pear­ing for the fi­nal se­mes­ter (or year), re­mains an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion and re­quires much lesser time than com­plet­ing a doc­tor­ate de­gree. Un­der the new UGC reg­u­la­tion of 2009, a doc­tor­ate de­gree would re­quire BY

ARINDAM GUPTA

a min­i­mum of two years to com­plete from any univer­sity; re­search stu­dents need to un­dergo mod­er­ate yet com­pul­sory course­work for at least one se­mes­ter as per the reg­u­la­tions. The time taken for the ad­mis­sion process into the doc­toral pro­gramme and, fi­nally, the eval­u­a­tion of the doc­toral the­sis would add up to a year or so.

M.PHIL COURSE

As per a UGC no­ti­fi­ca­tion of 2006, the M.phil de­gree was made an al­ter­na­tive to the NET as an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion for teach­ing in col­leges at the un­der­grad­u­ate level. How­ever, the doc­tor­ate de­gree re­mained an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion for teach­ing un­der­grad­u­ate or post­grad­u­ate cour­ses in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties re­spec­tively. Fol­low­ing the 2006 no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the M.phil course was in­tro­duced in many State uni­ver­si­ties in sub­jects that did not pre­vi­ously have one. Ear­lier, as per the UGC no­ti­fi­ca­tions of 2000 and 2002, com­ple­tion of an M.phil or a doc­tor­ate de­gree would have made a can­di­date el­i­gi­ble to ap­pear for in­ter­views in col­lege and univer­sity teach­ing jobs with some cut-off dates of qual­i­fy­ing for those de­grees. An M.phil de­gree by De­cem­ber 31, 1993 and a nearly com­pleted doc­tor­ate de­gree, hav­ing sub­mit­ted the doc­toral the­sis by De­cem­ber 31, 1993, sub­ject to suc­cess­fully clear­ing the eval­u­a­tion process, could sub­sti­tute the NET as a cri­te­rion. For the doc­tor­ate de­gree, how­ever, the cut-off date was extended up to De­cem­ber 31, 2002, in the UGC no­ti­fi­ca­tion of 2002. Given the three al­ter­na­tives—net, M.phil or doc­tor­ate de­gree—un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, a can­di­date with a doc­tor­ate de­gree would ob­tain a higher score in the cal­cu­la­tion of his aca­demic per­for­mance in in­ter­views con­ducted by State gov­ern­ments or their re­cruit­ment agen­cies.

As­pir­ing post­grad­u­ates were in­clined to take up the M.phil course in uni­ver­si­ties as it was the eas­i­est to com­plete among the al­ter­na­tives. An M.phil course re­quires just one year of course­work and there­after, sub­mis­sion of a dis­ser­ta­tion un­der the guid­ance of a univer­sity teacher. This dis­ser­ta­tion could also form the back­ground for the broad-based re­search work to be pur­sued by the can­di­date when reg­is­ter­ing for a doc­tor-

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