Several recommendations from the UGC on minimum qualifications for appointment in universities and colleges have invited criticism from various quarters of academia.
UGC had released Conferment of Autonomous Status upon Colleges and Measures for Maintenance of Standards in Autonomous Colleges Regulations, 2018, and Categorization of Universities (only) for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations, 2018 on February 12, while it invited feedback from various stakeholders on draft regulations for (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities & Colleges and measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) 2018 on February 9.
UGC has sought feedback from stakeholders and general public on the Draft Regulation till February 28, 2018. Suggestions and responses in this regard can be forwarded to UGC via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More weightage for graduation marks
A major area of concern from aspiring university or college teachers is the move to count performance in graduation (degree courses) for selection of assistant professors.
Instead of the existing qualification formula of Post Graduation, M.Phil., Ph.D., NET with JRF, NET, Research Publications and Teaching/Post Doctoral Experience, the draft has proposed to consider graduation marks too. It proposed candidates who have secured 80% and above marks in graduation stands to get a weightage or score of 21 while those who secure 60% to less than 80% will be given a score of 19 during the interview.
DNA reported that a section of ad-hoc teachers working in Delhi University called these screening guidelines are highly discriminatory. They complained about the marking systems where candidates used to get less percentage of marks in the past.
According to The Telegraph, some academics called the norms "regressive" and "biased" against the poor and they said "candidates from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds don't often perform well in their graduation and might be affected by the proposed selection formula".
The draft regulation proposed the workload of the teachers in full employment should not be less than 40 hours a week for 30 working weeks (180 teaching days) in an academic year.
It also suggested the minimum direct teaching-learning process hours for an Assistant Professor should be 16hours and 14 hours for Associate Professor and Professor.
DUTA president Rajib Ray said, instead of specifying the maximum teaching load for a teacher that ought not be exceeded so as to maintain certain minimal standards as used to be the case earlier, the UGC has specified a minimum in these Draft Regulations.
"The past practice of specifying the maximum (such as not more than three hours a day) keeping in mind that standards would be severely compromised if teachers were made to teach for too many hours has been jettisoned," he added.
Ph.D. Degree mandatory for Associate Professors
According to the draft regulation, Ph.D. Degree shall be a mandatory qualification for appointment and promotion to the post of Associate Professors.
It also said the Ph.D. Degree shall be a mandatory qualification for promotion to the post of Assistant Professor (Selection Grade/Academic Level 12) in Universities.
"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. For promotion to the post of Assistant Professor (Selection Grade/Academic Level 12) in Colleges, the Ph. D.
shall be a mandatory qualification if the date of eligibility falls on or after 01.07.2021," said the draft regulation.
To further dismay of the teachers, the regulation said the period of time taken by candidates to acquire M.Phil. and/or Ph.D. Degree shall not be considered as teaching/ research experience to be claimed for appointment to the teaching positions.
Further, the regulation said, the period of active service spent on pursuing Research Degree simultaneously with teaching assignment without taking any kind of leave shall be counted as teaching experience for the purpose of direct recruitment/ promotion.
"The period of leave taken for pursuing Research Degree i.e. for acquiring Ph.D. degree shall not be counted as teaching experience for the purpose of direct recruitment/ promotion," said the draft regulation.
According to an Indian Express report, teachers are worried about this move.
"This provision is very retrograde as it will take away seniority and deprive a teacher of three years' increment. Everyone knows that the first year of PhD is a full-time course," a teacher told Indian Express.
UGC's draft regulation has exempted candidates who have been awarded PhD from having NET qualification for direct recruitment to Assistant Professor posts. Read: UGC Drafts New Proposal, 'No NET For PhD Candidates'
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