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Lateral entry in teaching? UGC working to bring in experts without PhD or NET qualification

UGC has proposed allowing industry experts in fields like engineering, policy, communications, among others, to teach as full-time and part-time faculty members in colleges & universities.

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New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) is planning to introduce lateral entry for professors in universities and colleges, akin to the lateral entry scheme in the civil services, ThePrint has learnt.

Industry experts in fields like engineering, policy, communications, among others, will be able to teach as full-time and part-time faculty members in colleges and universities, even if they don’t hold a PhD or haven’t qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET), according to the proposal. 

These industry experts will work as ‘Professors of Practice’, UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar told ThePrint. The idea was discussed Thursday at a meeting of the UGC chairman with vice-chancellors of various universities and the response was positive, Kumar said. 

“The new education policy (introduced in 2020) calls for better collaboration between education institutions and industry and hence we have thought of bringing in people from industry to teach in our institutions. They will be most beneficial in teaching subjects in emerging areas,” he added.

These areas include subjects like artificial intelligence, robotics, mechatronics, etc.

Currently, there is no provision for colleges and universities to employ industry experts, who don’t have a PhD or a NET qualification. 

“We will constitute a committee that will look into the details of how we can introduce this provision. The committee will submit its report and, based on the recommendations, we will forward the idea to the Ministry of Education for their approval. The existing provisions for faculty recruitment will have to be revised in order to include the new rules,” he added.

Once the rules are finalised, there will be scope for industry experts to work as both permanent and visiting faculty in colleges and universities.

Leveraging industry experts’ knowledge is a common tactic employed by edtech platforms. Many people give up their jobs as bankers and engineers to teach on edtech platforms for better pay and exposure. 

Also read: IITs to offer medicine courses? Draft UGC rules call for phasing out domain-specific institutes

What else is planned?

Apart from this, the UGC is also working on making the university recruitment process more streamlined through a unified recruitment portal.

The commission will task the INFLIBNET (Information and Library Network) — the autonomous inter-university centre of the UGC — to develop a portal that can be used as a single-window system for people to apply to a university.

“All universities will come on this portal and it will streamline the recruitment process. A candidate who wants to apply for a particular university can just do so through this portal, which will have listings of all the vacancies. The government can also keep a track of the recruitment process through this portal,” said Kumar.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

Also read: Ticket out of despair: How agents fuel the boom in Indians wanting to study medicine abroad


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