Five years ago, when the University Grants Commission (UGC) set the criteria for recruitment for entry-level posts at universities and colleges, it had made it mandatory for those applying for assistant professor posts to have completed a PhD. It had instructed all high education institutes (HEI) to select candidates with PhDs start July 2021.
However, the decision was not agreeable to many faculty members from various HEIs. One reason was that many had failed to complete their PhDs due to the pandemic disrupting schedules. Also, it was a disadvantage to applicants from the marginalised sections. Yet another reason was that a mandatory PhD would mean the age for entry into the profession would also go up. Therefore, the protesting teachers had sought that the Central government relax the rule.
Following this, in October 2021, the UGC postponed the implementation of the rule for two years. Now that it is July 2023, the UGC has decided to do away with the rule entirely. For entry-level positions, the National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) and State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) will remain the basis for recruitment.
A notification to this effect has been released by UGC, stating that the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and other Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2018 has been amended to remove the PhD clause.
Instead, the clause now makes ‘NET/SET/SLET’ as the minimum criteria for applying for assistant professor role at any HEI. However, PhD will still be required to be eligible for a promotion to the post of associate professor.