Recently new recruitment rules have been framed for the employment of Assistant Professors in higher education department. The selection criterion has been modified to place greater emphasis on written examination, wherein points to academic qualification have been reduced to only 10 marks. The weightage of the selection criteria is as follows:
A. Written Examination: 75 marks
i) Paper I: Relevant Subject: 60 Marks
ii) Paper-II: General (Multi-disciplinary, General Studies, Indian History and Culture, Constitution of India, Ability Enhancement, etc): 15 Marks
B. Academic Qualification: 10 marks (Criterion as per UGC Regulations)
C. Interview: 15 marks
The PhD scholars in Jammu and Kashmir have been already screened at national level via JRF/NET for eligibility of assistant professor, but the state administration compels us to reappear in exams and meet the criteria that has been designed to facilitate the backdoor entry of their kin.
It takes years of hard work and dedication to complete a PhD degree. Reducing its weightage is sheer injustice and is going to demoralise researchers. As per UGC criteria, PhD is an important criterion for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor both in colleges and universities. The new criteria will facilitate PG-level students to get appointment in the higher education department, who will then seek study leaves for undertaking PhD. This will further degrade the quality of education in our colleges and universities.
These new recruitment rules are going to affect university education the most. Students won’t opt for research now. In case the administration at University of Kashmir believes that this selection criteria will ensure objectivity and transparency (which it will not), then the varsity must shuttle down its research centres so that a simple post-graduate can cram the syllabus and get a job in higher education.
UGC is on the path to make PhD as basic eligibility and mandatory qualification for the appointment of Assistant Professors in Universities and Colleges (UGC Amendment Regulations, 2018 and 2021, clause 3.10), but unfortunately it is not the case in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bureaucrats mostly lack knowledge about academics and do not even bother to seek expert opinions in this regard prior to framing of such recruitment rules. We ask them, ‘How will a recent PG pass-out without any research experience teach and guide at PG level?’ Moreover, NET and SET are national level eligibility tests and framing rules for conducting another test for recruitment is utter nonsense.
Surely these recruitment rules are faulty and are going to prove disastrous to our education sector. PhD in Education programme provides you with the expertise and the credentials in research that can drive the development of new tools and teaching methods that truly make a difference to shape and reshape higher education.
PhD signifies that you have the expertise and know-how to be a leader, fostering positive, lasting change wherever your doctoral degree takes you. So, to uphold the value of research in general and of the PhD degree in particular, university administration must come forward with a strong stand to oppose and revoke the recent rules. We also request UGC to intervene and ask the J&K administration to follow their published criteria. Applicants who passed the JRF/NET exam should be given due weightage of 5 to 10 points, whereas PhD candidates should be given a weightage of 30 points.
Being a stakeholder, I want to seek answers for a few questions from the policy makers of J&K:
• How do you guarantee that the new rules will ensure quality education at higher education level by excluding highly qualified candidates?
• How you justify to provide just 1 point to JRF and 2.5 marks to PhD which takes around 1 decade to qualify and complete?
• How you justify that your screening will help you to get better assistant professors than those who are screened by e UGC via all-India JRF/NET exam?
Albert Einstein was refused a professorship/ assistantship. This was a case of brilliance being ignored due to banal criteria. The main reason for his rejection was a bad recommendation letter from a professor who didn’t like him.
The writer is a PhD scholar at Dept of Botany, University of Kashmir, who has an MSc degree and has qualified JRF, NET, and GATE.