Published: 17th November 2021
UGC may revoke decision of PhD as minimum qualification for assistant professors
The possible U-turn comes amid emerging understanding that making PhD mandatory for professors may further dilute the quality of the research degree in India
After deferring the implementation of PhD as the minimum qualification for the appointment of university professors by two years, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is now considering junking the proposal completely.
The possible U-turn comes amid emerging understanding that making PhD mandatory for professors may further dilute the quality of the research degree in India. In August, the UGC had decided to push back the implementation of the guidelines released three years ago which proposed making PhD qualification mandatory for fresh university teachers in the rank of assistant professors. The guidelines "Minimum Qualifications For Appointments Of Teachers In Universities And Colleges And Measures For Maintenance Of Standards In Higher Education" proposed by the UGC in 2018 were set to be notified from the current academic session but have been deferred in view of the COVID pandemic.
Sources in the UGC, meanwhile, said that the proposal could be junked totally as the top education policymakers could have changed their mind about this matter. They feel that the proposed move could spur instances of fake PhDs. Several institutions may even sell PhDs for the right price.
This rethinking, however, was caused when the Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan last week had said that making a PhD degree mandatory for the post of assistant professor at universities is "not favourable" in the current education system. Speaking at the convocation ceremony of Allahabad University, Pradhan had said, "We believe that PhD is not required to become an assistant professor. This condition cannot be kept if good talent is to be drawn to teaching. Yes, it is required at the level of associate professors and professors. But a PhD for an assistant professor is perhaps not favourable in our system and that's why we have rectified."
Officials in the UGC said that the reversal in the earlier stand has come following the latest deliberations which pointed out that pushing candidates to pursue PhD in order to get a teaching job may end up making the degree a "compliance tool", rather than ushering in reforms. In 2019, a four-member committee, which was tasked with recommending ways to improve the quality and standard of research, while proposing sweeping changes, had also hinted that PhD as a minimum qualification for assistant professors may not be a good idea. The recommendations of the panel headed by former Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Director P Balram, however, are yet to be accepted.