University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities to not engage retired teachers of universities and postgraduate colleges, visiting and guest faculty members for supervising MPhil and PhD scholars. UGC has clarified that the PhD supervisors must be regular faculty members of the universities.
The apex higher education body has sent a missive to the universities, directing them to assign students of PhD and MPhil courses only to regular professors. The letter was sent by UGC secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu and says, “It has come to the notice of the UGC that some universities are hiring services of supervisors who do not happen to be regular faculty members of the university or its affiliated postgraduate colleges.”
The practice violates UGC’s Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Regulations, issued in 2009. UGC has further clarified that the universities also cannot utilise the services of adjunct faculty members as supervisors. “In case of any violation of the prescribed rules by the university, action against the university will be taken as per the UGC Act, 1956 and the name of the university will be put in the defaulters list on the UGC website,” Sandhu warns in the letter.
The clarification further reads, “The universities shall allocate the supervisor from amongst the regular faculty members in a department or its affiliated PG colleges/institutes, depending on the number of students per faculty member, the available specialisation among the faculty supervisors and the research interests of the students.”
The directive has put the universities in a tight spot as many retired teachers are guiding PhD candidates. Regular faculty members of universities were already opposing the practice as they argued that a retired person, who has no accountability towards the university, cannot do justice and the regular faculty is talented enough to guide PhD and MPhil scholars.
Research scholars in universities are already facing a shortage of PhD guides. UGC’s 2009 guidelines say that only UGC-NET qualified candidates or those who have done PhD under the 2009 guidelines will be eligible for the post of assistant professors. Under the new norms, only those who have done PhD after clearing the PhD entrance test, along with six-month long course work and subsequent research work are eligible for recruitment as assistant professors.
Punjabi University registrar Devinder Singh could not be contacted even after repeated attempts.
However, on the other hand, students who have cleared the PhD entrance test said there is already a shortage of guides. Faculty members have a fixed quota of the number of students they can supervise. The university should add more teachers from PG colleges on its list to guide PhD scholars,” said Rajinder Singh, a student.