Protest Against New Recruitment Policy For Assistant Professors
Students demand policy review, say it is unjust towards those pursuing higher education
Higher education is a coveted aspiration in our society. Our youth compete in topmost universities for M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees, aspiring to get appointed to faculty positions in colleges and universities.
But media reports indicate that this time-honoured tradition is being violated in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) has notified the new criteria for the selection of Assistant Professors, which is highly strange.
The criteria specifies that the selection process for teaching positions in universities and colleges will be done by conducting the entrance exam which will be of 75 marks. Academic qualification will be of 10 marks, and 15 marks shall be provided for the interview.
The 10 marks for academics shall include UG/PG, NET/SET/SLET, and Ph.D. and the experience. This is sheer injustice towards those who have devoted years and years to higher education. A
Research scholars of Jammu University organized a protest on September 30 against this draconian policy. I spoke to the aggrieved students, who feel that they are being let down by the policy makers.
Research Scholars Dejected
Imtiyaz, a Ph.D scholar from Aligarh Muslim University said, “This new recruitment process has caused confusion. Why are the policy makers playing with the aspirations of the young? We were hoping for fairness and openness to the competition, but the new policy is highly disappointing. A person spends four to six years to complete PhD in the hope that he will get an appointment in higher education. We are not against the exam. But it should be limited to our subject and should not be a mix up of many subjects. It doesn’t make sense. Proper weightage should be given for the Ph.D degree, NET/SET and GATE exams.”
Another aspirant Dr. Amit said, “The new criteria for the selection of Assistant Professors (AP) is an attempt to discourage and destroy research and innovation culture in the universities. It is not selection criteria. This is exclusion criteria intended to attack higher education.”
Another female aspirant said, “I have qualified JKSET two times. I have also qualified NET-JRF and have both MPhil and PhD. I feel saddened that I spent precious years of my life getting these prestigious degrees. As per the new criteria, there is no value for my degrees, and no value for the time I spent pursuing these degrees. Why will anyone go for higher education? It is simply a move to curb the research process.”
Vaishali Sharma, a PhD scholar from University of Jammu said, “It seems that our PhD degree is an object of mockery for the system. The new proposed criterion for the selection of AP is totally biased and in favour of non-PhD candidates. Scholars like us who work hard for years should get some benefit for the degree. I believe that there is a need to bring changes in the proposed criterion. At least the weightage of points for PhD should be increased by reducing the weightage given to the entrance.”
‘Give More Weightage To Higher Education’
Mehak Kour, a PhD scholar said, “The new policy is sheer injustice towards those who have devoted themselves to research. Research is needed to bring in new ideas. This new policy shall discourage people from opting for research. The policy makers must review it.”
Another research scholar, Mian Tufail, said the new policy for appointment of APs is sheer injustice towards the researchers. “They have thrown to the wind the guidelines of UGC. The Administration needs to understand that recruiting civil servants and Assistant Professors isn’t the same thing. In the new policy, the syllabus, procedure and weightage is so vague that it will brazenly lead to corruption, nepotism, and ambiguity. We demand that JK administration religiously follow UGC guidelines for recruitment and stop pushing educated youth to the wall. Let them comply with the weightage system as is being followed throughout the country. Jammu and Kashmir can’t be exception to UGC rules”.
A contractual assistant professor who did not wish to be named said, “Graduation and Masters degree points must be considered on pro rata basis. Graduation cannot be the basic qualification for appointment, as this recruitment deals with higher education.”
MPhil degree was disbanded by UGC under NEP 2020. Research scholars demanded that candidates who earned their MPhil prior to NEP 2020 must be given retrospective benefit. Not giving any credit to the MPhil degree is unjust towards those who toiled hard for the degree.
Demands Of Research Scholars
Students have demanded that NET, SET and JRF must be given equal weightage.
Students demanded that the points for PhD should be increased.
Points may be given for publications. Ten marks may be given for a maximum of five publications. UGC care list publication may be considered in case of Humanities and Social Sciences. SCI indexed publications may be considered in case of science subjects. The publications may be considered within or outside the thesis probably up to three authors. Due consideration may be placed to review articles, book publications, tools and patents.
The experience earned by the candidates by working in the field of higher education should be considered on pro rata basis with maximum of five points.
Students have demanded that there should be no age limit for the recruitment of candidates in colleges like that of universities, as a large number of candidates have attained maximum age limit while pursuing their Ph.D. and PDF.
A research scholar said that the administration is doing injustice with PhD candidates by giving only two points for PhD degree. “Scholars spend more than five years of their life in completing this degree. The introduction of 75 marks, which includes 60 marks for the concerned subject and 15 marks for GS, will not create transparency in the selection process. It will lead to corruption. Equal weightage should be given to the written examination as well as to the academics/interview, so that the hard work of the scholars doesn’t go waste,” said the research scholar.
Shareef, a NET/JRF qualified PhD scholar said, “This order will discourage young men and women from opting for research. The Administration must review this order.”
Students, scholars and Contractual Assistant Professors demanded during the protest on September 30 that this draconian policy must be quashed. They emphasized that this policy makes mockery of the hard work of thousands of youth who have devoted themselves to research. The issues raised by the student community are genuine, and the LG administration must address their concerns on priority.