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Friday, July 12, 2024

Delhi University’s New Assistant Professor Hiring Criteria Sparks Controversy

Delhi University has recently implemented changes to its eligibility criteria for the hiring of Assistant Professors in colleges, incorporating a new requirement of a “presentation” component. This decision has sparked criticism from the academic community, with teachers advocating for a reversal of the decision.

The university has adjusted its minimum eligibility threshold from the previous 50 to 55 points, as outlined in its newly announced Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for teacher recruitment. Additionally, the SOP offers a relaxation of five points for candidates from SC/ST/PwD backgrounds.

This move has prompted discussions regarding equity and inclusivity in the hiring process within the academic sphere.

What do New Guidelines Say? 

According to the new guidelines, the final selection process for candidates at Delhi University will now involve two distinct stages: an assessment through a presentation and an interview with the selection committee. The presentation will be evaluated based on various criteria, including the candidate’s “humility, passion, and zeal for teaching,” as stated in the notification. Additionally, candidates will be required to write an essay on the day of their presentation to assess their writing skills, as detailed in the June 3 notification.

Revised Evaluation for Assistant Professors

The university has also revised the weightage assigned to different components used in evaluating candidates. This change aims to provide a more comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s abilities and suitability for the role of assistant professor. The introduction of these new elements into the selection process reflects the university’s commitment to enhancing the quality and effectiveness of its faculty recruitment.

“Objective parameters such as academic record, experience and research performance have been clubbed together for 20 points in the 100 points marker while subjective parameters have been given high weightage making the assessment highly arbitrary,” Maya John, a member of the varsity’s Academic Council, said. The faculty member, who called the change arbitrary and the rationale behind it unclear, said the new SOP must be opposed as it will restrict the number of applicants.

Demand Raised to Roll Back SOP

Abha Dev Habib, the secretary of the Democratic Teachers’ Front, demanded the SOP be rolled back, saying no new criteria for selection should be introduced when the selection process is underway. “The SOP issued is against the interests of serving teachers as it reduces the number of candidates who can appear before the Selection Committees. Appointments in many colleges are pending and many colleagues who were displaced are waiting to join back. “The SOP adds a layer of presentation in the selection process which is to be done by a centralized committee. This will lead to over-centralization of the process. Single window for appointment, without the say of the College, will pave the way for centralized corruption,” she added. 

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