New dilemma for scholars

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By: Ishfaq Ul Rehman

Recently new recruitment rules have been framed for the employment of Assistant Professors in higher education department. The selection criterion has been modified to place greater emphasis on written examination, wherein points to academic qualification has been reduced to only 10 marks. Now the written Examination holds 75 marks- Paper -I: Relevant Subject:60 Marks, Paper-II: General (Multi disciplinary, General studies, Indian History and Culture, Constitution of India, Ability Enhancement etc.): 15 marks. Academic Qualification has 10 marks (Criterion As per UGC Regulations) and interview holds 15 marks.

This is the sad story of Ph.D scholars in Jammu and Kashmir. We have already been screened at national level via JRF/NET for eligibility for the post of Assistant Professors. But the state administration compels us to reappear in exams and adopt the criteria that has been designed and customized to facilitate ‘the blue eyed’.

It takes years of hard work and dedication to complete a Ph.D degree and reducing its weightage is sheer injustice and is going to demoralize researchers. As per UGC criteria, Ph.D is important criterion for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor both in colleges and universities. The new criteria will facilitate PG level students to get appoint in the higher education department, who then seek study leaves for undertaking Ph.D program which further degrades the quality of education in our colleges and universities.

These new recruitment rules are going to affect university education the most. Students won’t opt for research then. In case administration at University of Kashmir believes that this selection criteria will ensure objectivity and transparency (which it will not), then the varsity must shuttle down its research centres so that a simple PG pass out can cram the syllabus and get appointed in higher education.

UGC is on the path to make Ph.D as basic eligibility and mandatory qualification for the appointment of Assistant Professors in Universities and Colleges (UGC Amendment Regulations, 2018 and 2021, clause 3.10), but unfortunately it is not the case in Jammu and Kashmir.

Bureaucrats mostly lack knowledge about academics and do not even bother to seek expert opinions in this regard prior to framing of such recruitment rules. We simply question them ‘how will a recent PG pass out without any research experience teach and guide at PG level?’ Moreover, NET and SET are national level eligibility tests and framing rule for conducting another test for recruitment is utter non-sense.

Surely these recruitment rules are faulty and are going to prove disastrous to our education sector. PhD in Education program provides you with the expertise and the credentials in research findings that can drive the development of new tools and teaching methods that truly make a difference to shape and reshape the higher education.

It signifies you have the expertise and know-how to be a leader, fostering positive, lasting change wherever your doctoral degree takes you. So, to uphold the value of research in general and Ph.D degree in particular, university administration must come forward with a strong stand to oppose and revoke it. We also request UGC to intervene and ask the J&K administration to follow their published criteria. Applicants who passed the JRF/NET exam should be given due weightage of 5 to 10 points, whereas Ph.D. candidates should be given a weightage of 30 points.

Being a stakeholder, I want to seek answers for a few of questions from policy makers of J&K.

  • How do you guarantee that the new rules would ensure quality education at higher education level by excluding highly qualified candidates.
  • How you justify to provide just 1 point to JRF and 2.5 marks to Ph. D which takes around 1 decade to qualify and complete it.
  • How you justify that your screening will help you to get talented assistant professors than those who got screened by UGC via all India JRF/NET exam.
  • How you justify to exclude the research papers from getting any point which takes years to publish.
  • How you justify that your criteria fulfills the demands of New Education Policy.

Albert Einstein was refused to provide a professorship/ assistantship. This was such a worst case of brilliance being ignored due to evil criteria. The main reason for his rejection was a bad recommendation letter from a professor who didn’t like him.

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