Candidates for recruitment as assistant professors this year will not be required to have a PhD. The Centre has amended University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations to delay the mandatory requirement of a PhD to July 2023.
In a letter to all university Vice Chancellors on Tuesday, UGC Member Secretary Rajnish Jain said the decision was taken in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the plan to postpone the mandatory requirement would help the campaign to fill vacant faculty positions at Central Universities .
The assistant professor is an entry-level position in universities, which could be filled by Master’s degree holders who had qualified through the UGC’s NET or National Eligibility Test. In 2018, the Centre brought in the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulation, which required that all candidates for the assistant professor position had a doctoral degree. It gave a three year period for the transition, saying the mandatory requirement would be introduced from July 1, 2021 for the 2021-22 academic year.
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However, UGC has now decided to put this requirement on hold for another two years, giving prospective university faculty more time to complete their PhDs. In an interaction with journalists on September 30, the Education Minister said the requirement was one of the hurdles to filling up vacant faculty positions, as many candidates were not PhD degree holders. There are more than 6,000 sanctioned positions which are vacant at the Central Universities alone and Mr. Pradhan had given them an October-end deadline to fill these seats.