The University Grants Commission (UGC), which has allowed universities to hire professors of practice, has released the guidelines for the same. According to the rules, candidates do not need to have any BEd degree or even clear NET to become a professor now. It is the experience that counts. Those who have proven expertise in their specific profession with at least 15 years of experience, preferably at a senior level, will be eligible for professor of practice, the commission said.
Distinguished experts who have made remarkable contributions in their professions from various fields are eligible to teach at varsities across India. Among the fields includes engineering, science, technology, entrepreneurship, commerce, social sciences, media, literature, fine arts, civil services, armed forces, legal profession, public administration, among others. It is not open for those in teaching profession- serving or retired.
“A formal academic qualification is not considered essential for this position if they have exemplary professional practice in lieu. These experts will also be exempted from the requirement of publications and other eligibility criteria stipulated for the recruitment of faculty members at the professor level. However, they should possess the skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities," reads the UGC guidelines.
Professors of practice are required to develop courses and curriculum to meet the needs of the industry. They will be recruited for a fixed term of one year but is extendable by four years depending on service. It will not affect the number of sanctioned posts and the recruitment of regular faculty members, UGC clarified. The number of professors of practice in colleges and universities, at any point in time, must not exceed 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts in the varsity, it added.
According to UGC, professors of practice “will help to take real world practices and experiences into the classrooms and also augment the faculty resources in higher education institutions. In turn, the industry and society will benefit from trained graduates equipped with the relevant skills."
Some, however, are of the opinion that this will dilute the quality of higher education. As per the Delhi Teachers Association (DTA), there is deep dissatisfaction among the researchers across the country about this move of UGC, claimed the association. “On the one hand the government talks about quality education with the aim of promoting the quality of research, while on the other hand it is advising to appoint professors without a degree," it said.