By Linus Garg
First publised on 2022-03-12 06:20:34
There has always been a running debate in academia about using experts and professionals from several domains who might not possess the minimum academic qualifications needed to apply for professorships in universities but who are equally, or even better, qualified to teach by sharing their hands-on knowledge in their respective fields. Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages of the same and the debate goes on.
The Universities Grants Commission (UGC), in a move that will make classrooms richer, is now going to do away with the requirement of having a PhD degree for anyone hoping to become a university professor by creating special posts that will allow domain experts to be roped in to share their on-ground or professional experience with the students and teach them from a view point that is not limited to text books or theory.
The UGC is creating two special posts - professor of practice and associate professor of practice - which will allow experts and professionals, whether working or retired, to apply for teaching positions in central universities on full-time or part-time basis and share their knowledge with the students if they have demonstrated experience in a given domain. Those who have retired can be employed till they turn 65.
UGC chairman M Jagadesh Kumar said "there are many experts who want to teach. There could be someone who has implemented large projects and has a lot of on-the-ground experience, or there could be a great dancer or musician. But we can't appoint them going by the present rules." If these experts and professionals are allowed to teach, the students will get a different perspective and will be richer by that experience, especially in subject where field experience counts equally or more than text book knowledge. It is true that all domain experts are not good teachers and the universities will of course have a strict screening process to appoint them only after examining their aptitude for teaching. But those who can be good teachers will add tremendous value to the subject.