Scholars who completed a PhD or registered for one before 2009 would be eligible for lectureship without clearing the national eligibility test (NET), HRD minister Smriti Irani announced on Tuesday.
The move will help create a larger talent pool for teaching jobs. Women researchers will get more time to complete their research — an additional year for MPhil and two more for PhD — along with maternity leave benefits, Irani said.
At present, a student who has a postgraduate degree or an MPhil and has cleared the NET/SET (state-level eligibility test) is eligible for lectureship in a college or university. If the student fails to clear the eligibility test but has an MPhil degree, he or she can teach in a college, but not a university.
If a student does a PhD in accordance with UGC (University Grants Commission) regulations, such as publication of research papers and presentations in seminars/conferences, he or she is eligible for the post of assistant professor in any college or university.
In 2009, the UGC made NET and a PhD the minimum eligibility criteria for the post of assistant professor in colleges and universities.
On Tuesday, the ministry gave the go-ahead to the commission to exempt such students from NET/SET for teaching jobs in universities and other educational institutions.
However, students will have to fulfil a number of conditions, including that the PhD is offered in regular mode and researchers have published papers as part of their work.
The ministry and the UGC did not have a specific figure on the number of beneficiaries but officials said the decision would benefit hundreds of thousands of aspiring teachers who were so far ineligible as they could not clear the NET or SET.
“There has been a long-standing challenge faced by researchers/aspiring teachers. The UGC today in conjunction with the government has taken this decision,” Irani said.
UGC chairman Ved Prakash said the move would create a greater pool of eligible candidates for recruitment as assistant professors. It would also address the shortage of faculty in educational institutions, he said.
Irani said female students would be given maternity leave of 240 days that would be excluded from the duration of their research. They would also be given eight years compared to the existing six for completing their PhD and three years to complete their MPhil instead of two. The same benefits will be provided to people with disability.
Also, in case of relocation of a female MPhil/PhD scholar due to marriage or other reasons, research data will be allowed to be transferred to the university to which the scholar intends to relocate provided other conditions are met.
Granting more freedom to autonomous institutions and to incentivise quality education, the UGC and the ministry have done away with mandatory inspection of such institutes, nor will they require a no-objection certificate from the state. An autonomous college has academic autonomy to design its curriculum, prescribe syllabi and evolve its own pedagogy.
“They will only have to provide an NOC from the affiliated university and if they are accredited with the highest grade for two consecutive cycles, they would be granted autonomous status,” Irani said.