UGC’s New Eligibility Criteria: In a significant development, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced the removal of the mandatory PhD requirement for direct recruitment at the Assistant Professor level. However, the detailed eligibility criteria outlined in the UGC’s minimum qualification regulations of 2018 will remain unchanged. This decision aims to bring about greater flexibility in the recruitment process and accommodate a diverse pool of talented individuals.
After the notification was released on the official website, there was a huge buzz around the issue. Considering the same, UGC Chairman clarified a few points regarding the notice which is an extension of the earlier notification which would have been valid till 1st of July, 2023. A clear explanation of the UGC’s New Eligibility Criteria is important and has been laid down below.
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What are the key elements of UGC’s New Eligibility Criteria?
As mentioned by the Chairman of UGC through his Twitter account, a clear explanation of the UGC’s New Eligibility Criteria is given here:
- In 2018, UGC laid down the regulation where the same criteria regarding the appointment of Assistant Professor were laid but with special provision of compulsory Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from 1st of July, 2021. Clause 3.10 stated, “The PhD Degree shall be a mandatory qualification for direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor in Universities with effect from 01.07.2021.”
- Under the revised guidelines, two distinct criteria will determine the eligibility for direct recruitment as an Assistant Professor. Firstly, candidates with a Master’s degree will now be required to have cleared the UGC-NET (National Eligibility Test)/ SLET (State Level Eligibility Test)/ SET (State Eligibility Test) to qualify for direct recruitment. This move ensures that candidates with a strong academic background and exceptional subject knowledge are considered for the position.
- Secondly, individuals holding a PhD degree, awarded as per the UGC Regulations, will be exempted from the UGC-NET/ SLET/ SET requirement. These candidates will be eligible for direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor. The UGC recognizes the significant contribution made by PhD holders in research and academia and acknowledges their expertise in their respective fields.
- The UGC also emphasized that the eligibility criteria for appointments of Assistant Professors will be determined by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) depending on the number of applications received in a given discipline, and will opt for the suitable criteria outlined in the regulations. This approach will allow HEIs to tailor the selection process according to the specific needs of different disciplines and ensures a fair and efficient recruitment process.
The topic of Eligibility Criteria for the appointment of Assistant Professors has been in the news since 2018. Here is a sequence of events that shows the key developments in this matter:
- In 2018, UGC laid down the regulation where the same criteria regarding the appointment of Assistant Professor were laid but with special provision of compulsory Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from 1st of July, 2021. Clause 3.10 stated, “The Ph.D. Degree shall be a mandatory qualification for direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor in Universities with effect from 01.07.2021.”
- The applicability of this condition was extended till 1st July 2023 through an amendment notified on 12th October 2021. The notice stated, “The PhD Degree shall be a mandatory qualification for direct recruitment to the post of Assistant Professor in Departments of the Universities with effect from 01.07.2023“. This step was initiated due to the ongoing Covid scenario.
- Further, on 1st July 2023, this clause was amended again (2nd amendment), prescribing UGC NET/ SET/ SLET as the minimum eligibility criteria for the direct recruitment of Assistant Professors.
PhD is no longer mandatory, however many questions are still unanswered!
The critics have expressed concerns that the removal of the PhD requirement may dilute the quality of education and research in higher education institutions. They believe that a PhD signifies advanced research skills and demonstrates a commitment to scholarly pursuits, which are crucial in maintaining the academic standards of universities and colleges.
Some scholars are even raising concerns about the potential increase in competition resulting from this step, as candidates holding both NET/ SET/ SLET qualifications and PhD degrees together may have an advantage over those who solely clear the fellowship entrance test. Critics argue that the UGC should address this issue and provide an answer to the question raised
UGC officials have assured that the decision was made after careful deliberation and consideration of the evolving landscape of higher education. They mentioned that the revised criteria will strike a balance between maintaining academic excellence and providing opportunities to a wider range of qualified candidates.
The new eligibility criteria will take effect immediately, and it is expected to bring changes in the recruitment processes for Assistant Professor positions across the country. Universities and colleges will now have the flexibility to design their selection procedures within the framework provided by the UGC regulations, ensuring a robust and inclusive hiring process. As the education sector adapts to these revised guidelines, the long-term impact of this decision on the quality of higher education and the academic landscape remains to be seen.
|UGC’s amendment notice on 12 October 2021||Click Here|
|UGC’s amendment notice on 12 October 2021||Click here|
|UGC’s clarification notice on 6th July 2023||Click Here|
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