Despite fulfilling the UGC's qualification norm for teacher posts in colleges, NET candidates do not appear to be in the reckoning for appointment.
“NET/SLET shall remain the minimum eligibility condition for recruitment and appointment of Lecturers in Universities/Colleges/Institutions. Provided, however, that candidates, who are or have been awarded Ph.D. Degree in compliance of the University Grants Commission (minimum standards and procedure for award of Ph.D Degree) Regulation 2009, shall be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/SLET for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professor or equivalent positions in Universities/Colleges
After the latest amendment last year, this is the guideline that currently prevails for Assistant Professor appointment in universities and colleges.
The first part of the UGC guideline has understandably ceased to be a cause for cheer for candidates appearing in the coming NET slated for December 26. For, most of the universities in Tamil Nadu have been taking advantage of the provision in the latter part of the guideline for making teacher appointments, citing paucity of NET-qualified candidates.
In fact, even if a NET-qualified candidate is available, universities prefer to appoint only those with doctorates. Universities, according to professors, accord higher weightage to paper presentations and participation in major conferences. Most of the NET-qualified candidates find themselves at a disadvantage in this aspect.
Of late, the neglect of NET-qualified candidates by universities and government/aided colleges in teacher appointments has become too conspicuous.
For instance, it has been found through Right to Information Act that none of the 54 appointments made in recent years by one of the universities in southern Tamil Nadu possessed NET qualification. Another university in south Tamil Nadu did not even bother to send call letters to candidates with NET qualification.
NET-qualified candidates are a worried lot as even self-financing colleges cold-shoulder them by opting for those with Ph.D. qualification. Their grouse is that postgraduates who had not bothered to appear for NET or had failed to clear the examination and subsequently completed their Ph.D. degree are more preferred by universities and colleges.
According to professors in Bharathidasan University, NET-qualified candidates can brighten up their prospects by acquiring a Ph.D. qualification.
It is now possible for a candidate to acquire an M. Phil. degree and a Ph. D degree in three years. M. Phil. holders are permitted to complete their full-time Ph.D. in two years.
The NET-qualified candidates are, in fact, not averse to the idea of acquiring higher qualification. There are many among them in contention for the teaching jobs with qualifications of Ph.D. and even post-doctoral degrees. But they are not prepared to buy the argument that a Ph.D. degree is superior to NET qualification. They claim to have a reason to question the quality of the Ph.D. degrees awarded by Tamil Nadu universities.
The reply to a query filed on behalf of the NET candidates under Right to Information Act last year has reportedly revealed that the compliance of Tamil Nadu universities to the UGC guideline regarding submission of soft copies of Ph.D. theses for storage in INFLIBNET depository has been abysmal.
According to informed sources, 1,000 Ph.D degrees have been awarded by Tamil Nadu universities in the last one year. But, only the University of Madras and Bharathiyar University have submitted soft copies of one thesis each for the INFLIBNET depository. Why such hesitancy, questioned a NET-qualified candidate.
Universities have apparently not taken seriously the instruction of UGC that Ph. D and M. Phil. candidates be chosen based on an entrance test.
Also, a research guide can have a maximum number of eight candidates.
Unfortunately, the concept of multi-university guideship is catching up. Research guides have created leverage for themselves to have eight candidates in each university. This trend, NET-qualified candidates point out, explains the dilution in the quality of Ph.D. degrees.
The representation by NET-qualified candidates to the Ministry of Human Resources Development seeking primacy in teacher appointments in universities did not bear fruit. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal had expressed readiness to do the course correction in Central universities and had counselled the delegation to approach the office of the Chancellor to get their demand fulfilled.
The NET candidates are still awaiting a reply from the office of the Governor.