By Elton Gomes
For teaching positions in universities across India, acquiring a PhD degree will be compulsory from July 2021, as per an announcement made by Union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister Prakash Javadekar.
The government stated that those wishing to become an assistant professor will be eligible with a PhD or even a Master’s degree with NET. The highly debated system used to review teacher performance – the Academic Performance Indicator (API) – has been scrapped. The API will be replaced by a simplified teacher evaluation grading system that will help universities improve research output.
“The whole effort is to improve the quality of higher education and to attract and retain the best talent in the country. All the incentives of earlier regulations have been maintained, but the API for college teachers has been removed,” Javadekar told the media. He said he focused on the need to deliver better education to students, “Now college teachers would not have to mandatorily do research but will have to essentially concentrate and give better education to undergraduate students.”
The HRD minister further said that only PhD holders will be counted as new recruits, “New recruitment for universities will be only PhD holders. We have given time of three years. So from 2021, assistant professor (entry level position) will have to hold PhD degree.”
Javadekar added that Indian students with PhD degrees from top 500 universities abroad can also apply for teaching positions in universities and colleges. The new initiative will mark a distinction between college and university teachers. Promotion criteria in colleges will be more focused on teaching, while in universities, it will be more research oriented.
Measures to improve teaching in India
India has a huge problem in its current education system- the lack of well-qualified teachers. Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said, “fundamental point we are missing in our education system is teachers’ education. The teachers’ education system is very bad in our country. That is our biggest sin.”
The lack of trained and well-qualified teachers can be attributed to the commercialisation of teacher training, whereby, up to 90% of teacher training takes place in the private sector, where standards are seemingly low. This has resulted in the shortage of teachers across universities and colleges.
A Hindustan Times report mentions that approximately 6,60,000 teachers in India require training. A shortage of competent teachers can also be seen from the result of the Teachers’ Eligibility Test of 2015, which was successfully completed by only 10% of candidates.
In an attempt to improve the quality of education, the government has developed a content depository for teachers to store teaching materials. The government believed that such a depository would improve the learning outcome in schools and it would also help curriculum publisher National Council of Education Research and Training update its curriculum.
The move to mandate a PhD degree for teachers might be a step in the right direction, but the government has to be wary of bogus degrees, which has become another huge problem plaguing the education sector in the country.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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