Sunday, March 29, 2015

Supreme Court ruling blow to aspiring college teachers

After a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, candidates having got their PhD degrees prior to 2009 have been left with little chance of becoming a lecturer (assistant professor) in any college or university of the country.
The apex court has upheld the UGC regulations which provide for National Eligibility Test (NET) or State-Level Eligibility Test (SLET) or PhD as per UGC guidelines, 2009, as the essential qualification for lectureship.

The judgment delivered by Justice T S Thakur and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman of the Supreme Court (in P Suseela vs UGC case) on March 16 has come as rude shock to thousands of scholars of Bihar who had been aspiring for lectureship with the PhD degrees obtained before 2009. They had been seeking exemption from NET on the basis of their doctoral degree.
The Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) had advertised 3,364 vacancies of assistant professors (lecturers) in September last year after a gap of over 17 years strictly as per UGC guidelines. But, following the intervention of Patna high court, even candidates having PhD degree sans UGC guidelines, 2009, were allowed to submit their applications. But now the apex court's judgment debars those who have done PhD without fulfilling the conditions of 2009 regulations.
The UGC regulations of 2010 related to appointment of assistant professors or equivalent positions in universities and colleges and other measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education has been upheld by the apex court. As per it, NET/SLET/SET shall remain the minimum eligibility condition for recruitment of assistant professors. Candidates, who had been awarded a PhD degree in accordance with the UGC regulations of 2009, shall be exempted from this minimum eligibility condition. Furthermore, NET/SLET/SET shall not be required for such Master's Degree programmes in disciplines for which such accredited test is not conducted. The SC also rejected the UGC committee's formula for granting exemptions to PhD degree holders who fulfil six out of 11 conditions (which formed the basis of Allahabad high court judgment of April 6, 2012). In this regard, the court observed all lecturers in universities/colleges/institutions governed by the UGC Act should have a certain minimum standard of excellence before they are appointed as such.