Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeOpinionsUGC 2009 regulations and how authoritarian Left benefitted from the travesty: How to break...

UGC 2009 regulations and how authoritarian Left benefitted from the travesty: How to break the ‘ecosystem stranglehold’ of our Universities

We have seen how left-authoritarian activists have been using different university campuses to openly support terrorists who have been trying to destroy our country. In the last 10 years, we saw many communist student leaders contested in elections by saying that they are doing PhD to make an impression that they are highly educated. In reality, they have been doing PhD for more than a decade. These entire left-authoritarian ecosystems are the biggest beneficiaries of UGC 2009 regulation. 

Although the “Right to Education” is one of our fundamental rights, we have observed our media to be mostly silent on this issue. Most unfortunately, it has been seen on multiple occasions that they focus on building up narratives for certain political parties during a crisis like a recruitment scam. The ongoing crisis of transparency in different national-level examinations is extremely heartbreaking to witness, but the more torturous part is the media’s role in turning it into a political battle. This narrative can certainly help certain political houses to obscure their monumental defeat for the third time in a row, but it will not solve the crisis. It is important to bring academic reforms similar to the economic reforms that the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao did in 1992. 

The University Grant Commission (UGC) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1956 to maintain the standards of teaching, examination, and research in universities. Since its establishment, UGC has brought different regulations at different times to maintain the quality of teaching in universities. Most notably, in 1989 UGC introduced the National Eligibility Test (NET) which was supposed to be a mandatory requirement for the recruitment of Assistant Professor (erstwhile Lecturer) as reflected by the UGC notification on 28th October 1991.

It is understandable that a huge number of students surely enrolled in PhD programs before the NET was introduced in 1989. It was presumably the main reason why UGC exempted candidates from the NET qualification who completed their PhD on or before 1993. In UGC 2000 regulations, qualifying NET was also set as a prerequisite to recruit an Assistant Professor. Before introducing NET in 1989, anyone with a good academic record could join as an Assistant professor in Colleges or Universities, and it is needless to state that those recruitments were mostly biased. To mitigate the biased nature of the hiring and to maintain the quality of teachers, UGC presumably made NET qualification a mandatory criterion in academic recruitment.

UGC’s rigid stand on NET led to two narratives that were further exploited to design the framework to destroy India’s university-level education system. First, one examination can neither determine the eligibility of teaching in universities nor that of doing meaningful academic research. With this logic, the second narrative placed into the context that it would be an injustice not to allow PhD degree holders to teach in universities for not qualifying NET. With these false narratives, UGC was forced to bring a regulation in 2009 that should be considered as the biggest organized crime in university recruitment. In 2009, UGC regulations simply naturalized the backdoor recruitment in universities.

First, they removed the mandatory NET requirements for recruiting Assistant Professors. Second, they endorsed an alternative to NET, namely the Research Eligibility Test (RET). This RET is usually organized by respective Universities and without any reservation it could be logically asserted that this RET has a high probability of being biased and to some extent may promote the exploitation of the candidate. Some substandard students can do free labor in a lab for a year or two to enroll into a PhD. They usually get the RET questions before the exam. The UGC 2009 regulation normalized this corruption to promote substandard students to obtain the highest academic degree and further to get placed in the universities. 

The whimsical decision of UGC regarding NET or RET in 2009 can only vouch for their lack of research behind policy making. Cracking a joint entrance examination only allows one to be admitted to medical colleges, which does not allow someone to become a physician. Similarly, cracking one examination like NET must not be the criteria to recruit faculties in universities. We need highly trained people as faculties in universities to nurture the country’s future generation and that training only can be acquired during a PhD. Correlated to this, the next obvious question is – what would be the criteria to enroll in a PhD program? It would be almost impossible to screen applicants without their performance in a national-level entrance examination. UGC might prefer to adopt NET or any national-level test score to allow students to enroll into the PhD programs in UGC-recognized institutes. It won’t be too hard to understand this simple matter for our policymakers or our ministers. So, why don’t they simply implement these changes for recruiting faculties in universities? 

The reader may be utterly surprised to know while the Cambridge graduate Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s UPA government approved the framework of corruption designed by UGC to recruit faculties, the tea-seller Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s NDA government did not only rectify that but also made some necessary changes in the UGC policy to keep the academic integrity and transparency high in faculty recruitment. In 2019, the education minister Prakash Javadekar declared that NET is going to be the mandatory requirement for doing PhD in India from 2021 and it was further announced that a PhD degree is going to be the minimum requirement for recruiting faculties in universities from the same time. Also, PhD holders from the top 500 global Universities were supposed to be given equal chances to apply for faculty positions in Indian Universities. 

Surprisingly, the UGC chairman in last year has taken down both these changes and reverted back to the old policy. In addition, other important changes from the 2019 announcement were not at all implemented to shortlist candidates for faculty recruitment in universities. As a result, the aim of the announcement in 2019 went in vain. Many eminent academic places of learning in India, for example, Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Tata Institutes of Fundamental Research (TIFR), and some other prestigious institutions usually organize nationwide Ph.D. entrance tests to maintain their high standard. Does UGC believe that PhD holders from those institutions are not trained enough to teach in universities? Nobody even heard about the NET outside India. So, does UGC believe that PhD graduates from top-ranked Universities around the world are not trained enough to teach in universities? I am raising this question as UGC still provides 7 points extra for qualifying NET during shortlisting candidates. While the competition is just for 1 or 2 vacancies, 7 marks can completely change the dynamics in the shortlisting process. In addition, chances of scoring more in publications or post-PhD research experience are completely handcuffed as UGC utterly failed to understand that a publication in a Q1 journal and a publication in a UGC-care list journal CAN NOT be treated equally. So, this type of barrier in faculty selection is neither in favor of quality nor in favor of integrity. 

It would be oversimplified to imagine that this jeopardy in university recruitment was an accidental outcome; rather, it vouches for the predominant existence of a political nexus in Indian academia who have been using universities as the place to promote their political ideology. To recognize this political nexus, people need to remember that the present congress party is the remnant of the Indira Congress which was transformed in 1968 by debunking the Nehru Congress. Nehru’s efforts and goodwill to promote India’s higher education is still unquestionable. However, post-1969, Indira Congress became a mere tool of the then-Soviet Union’s KGB to promote cultural Marxism. Things became easier for cultural Marxists to take control with the uprising of the Communist party in West Bengal, probably the most dominant cultural state. While the University College London graduate Jyoti Basu was busy artistically setting the left regime in WB by promoting the rampant killing of innocents, the country was under the dictatorship of Indira Gandhi. One possibility is that a large number of culturally trained Marxists (precisely left-authoritarian) were placed in Indian academia during this time frame. This assumption can be justified by the number of professors who are sympathetic to anti-Indian activists inside different university campuses. 

This left-authoritarian lobby could not breach the barrier to take total control of academia due to the resistive force put by some stalwart Scientists and Professors until the early 2000s. The fall of Vajpayee led NDA government in 2004 again opened up the door for them. However, they were helpless due to the gigantic presence of the Missile Man of India – APJ Abdul Kalam as the president of the country. With the farewell of the country’s most loving and respectful president, this left-authoritarian lobby finally succeeded in bringing the UGC 2009 regulations to fulfill their dream.

In 1940, the general secretary of the Communist Party Gangadhar Adhikary documented his concepts to break down India into pieces which is commonly known as the “Adhikari thesis”. This left-authoritarian lobby has been since working with this aim. That’s why we have witnessed the Azadi slogan raised in the JNU or Jadavpur campus. We have also seen how left-authoritarian activists have been using different university campuses to openly support terrorists who have been trying to destroy our country. In the last 10 years, we saw many communist student leaders contested in elections by saying that they are doing PhD to make an impression that they are highly educated. In reality, they have been doing PhD for more than a decade. These entire left-authoritarian ecosystems are the biggest beneficiaries of UGC 2009 regulation. 

Due to this “Sarkar to unki hai lekin system Hamara hai” type ecosystem in central universities in India,  reforms might sound too fancy to bring back the transparency and integrity in university recruitment. What we need today is a surgical strike to dismantle this left-authoritarian lobby. Needless to say, who else except Modi can deliver this for the country’s welfare? 

Join OpIndia's official WhatsApp channel

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Rudra Prasanna Banerjee
Rudra Prasanna Banerjee
Postdoctoral Scientist, Washington, USA. PhD in Molecular Biology & Genetics, University of Alberta, Canada.

Related Articles

Trending now

Recently Popular

- Advertisement -