Can re­search re­ally be equated with teach­ing?

CHANGE Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion says time spent by a stu­dent on a PhD de­gree will be counted as teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Is this a good move?

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - HT Education - - Front Page - Gauri Kohli

Re­searchers have rea­sons to cheer. The Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion ( UGC) re­cently an­nounced that the time spent by a stu­dent in do­ing re­search for a PhD de­gree with­out leave will be counted as teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when they ap­ply for di­rect re­cruit­ment to va­cant fac­ulty po­si­tions in col­leges and univer­si­ties.

Ex­perts, how­ever, say that t hough t he an­nounce­ment will help can­di­dates, the fo­cus on re­search should not shift. B Thimme Gowda, vice chan­cel­lor, Ban­ga­lore Univer­sity, says, “I con­cur with the UGC pro­posal of count­ing the time spent on re­search as teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. In univer­si­ties, teach­ing and re­search should go hand in hand. The re­search ex­pe­ri­ence should not be more than 50% of the ser­vice re­quired for higher teach­ing po­si­tions.” GOOD MOVE, BUT CHAL­LENGES GA­LORE Call­ing the UGC move a wel­come step, Meenakshi Gopinath, for­mer mem­ber, UGC, says, “The ar­ti­fi­cial di­vide be­tween teach­ing and re­search must be over­come and both ac­tiv­i­ties must com­ple­ment one an­other. This looks like an en­abling step so that young schol­ars can avail greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for mo­bil­ity within the teach­ing pro­fes­sion. The UGC clar­i­fi­ca­tion does not ad­dress the is­sue of years of ex­pe­ri­ence re­quire­ments.”

Ex­perts say a large num­ber of PhD hold­ers will ben­e­fit from the an­nounce­ment. Of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion of the re­search pe­riod as equiv­a­lent to teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will open up em­ploy­ment av­enues for many un­em­ployed mer­i­to­ri­ous stu­dents and also ad­dress the is­sue of va­cant teach­ing posts in univer­si­ties.

Re­search schol­ars feel re­lieved and think UGC has made their life eas­ier. Hoshi­yar Singh, who is a pur­su­ing a PhD in phys­i­cal sci­ences from Hi­machal Pradesh Univer­sity, says, “Cur­rently, ju­nior re­search fellows have to de­vote time to teach­ing and the no­ti­fi­ca­tion has made this of­fi­cial. How­ever, the pur­pose of re­search should not be de­feated by shift­ing fo­cus on gain­ing teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We, as schol­ars, need funds to make sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to re­search and the UGC and HRD min­istry should take steps to make that hap­pen.” Most higher education in­sti­tu­tions seek at least two years’ teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing fac­ulty re­cruit­ment. How­ever, schol­ars also say


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