Published: 01st October 2021
Researchers thrilled at Education Ministry's decision to remove PhD as minimum requirement for assistant professors
The move is expected to result in filling up of vacancies to 10,000 posts in many of India's central universities and other institutes
The central government's plan to put on hold PhD as the minimum qualification for recruitment of assistant professors this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, has seen backing from researchers everywhere. The Ministry of Education has lifted the criteria temporarily to allow universities to fill the vacant positions.
"The PhD mandate seemed like just an excuse for institutions to reject candidates. This is frustrating," says Neha*, who graduated with a master's degree in 2017. She had cleared the UGC NET in 2018 and had been applying for teaching jobs since then. "I am tired of people asking me if I have a PhD," says this 27-year-old who is parallelly pursuing her PhD.
Amritha Mather, who graduated from IIT Gandhinagar in 2020 and cleared the NET in Sociology, says "It is certainly a welcome decision, I feel. Earlier, what used to happen was that in interviews, the candidates with an MPhil and having cleared the NET would be ignored in place of those with a PhD. That was really discouraging for those who have a real passion for teaching but do not want to pursue any personal research interests. That does not, in any way, mean they do not have the knack to teach college students. I hope the present decision is extended for more years to come."
Sources in the Education Ministry said, "Around 10,000 posts are lying vacant in the central universities including teaching and non-teaching staff and the ministry had given instructions to fill these up very soon."
The University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2018 set the criteria for recruitments for entry-level posts at universities and colleges. It had given a three-year window to candidates to complete their PhDs and asked all universities and colleges to start applying the criteria for recruitment from the 2021-22 academic session. However, the pandemic has caused delays in the research work of PhD candidates, resulting in many of them appealing to have the qualification norms to be relaxed for this year.