Indians who acquire their PhDs at foreign universities may soon be exempt from current mandatory scrutiny by the University Grants Commission to help varsities fill vacancies that are threatening to increase under a recently-introduced regulatory regime.
Vice-Chancellors of top central universities have complained to Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal against the regime, prompting a rethink that may also include exempting aspiring teachers in select streams from the National Eligibility Test.
But any relaxation of scrutiny of foreign PhDs, or exemptions from the NET also risks being viewed as a comedown from the strict quality regime Sibal is keen to put in place at higher educational institutions.
Top government officials have told HT that the V-Cs complained to Sibal about the UGC’s new rules for PhDs and for appointment of teachers at a meeting on August 13.
The V-Cs told Sibal that the rules for PhDs — including the scrutiny of foreign doctorates by a UGC panel — were hurting their chances of luring top Indian-origin faculty and young researchers from abroad.
The V-Cs also complained about the UGC (minimum qualifications) regulations for appointments and promotions of teachers.
Under these regulations, only those who hold PhDs meeting the norms laid down in the PhD rules, or a NET qualified
person, are eligible to be hired for teaching posts at universities and colleges across India.
“We are already struggling with massive faculty vacancies and are attempting to fill these posts. But the new regulations are proving counter-productive to these efforts,” a V-C present at the meeting said.
Central universities across India have teacher vacancies ranging from 25 per cent to over 40 per cent in some institutions.