Sunday was a day of role reversal for a cross-section of assistant professors.
College teachers who had just returned to their academic work after evaluating answer scripts of their students turned up as candidates to appear for the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the UGC. They rubbed shoulders with aspiring college lecturers and people from other walks of life. With the UGC making a pass in the NET a mandatory qualification for serving as teachers, several colleges have been egging their young teachers on, who were hired previously without a NET qualification, to acquire the eligibility qualification.
“I have to write the NET despite years of experience as a teacher. There is no option as the UGC’s mandate is applicable for all institutions. I am appearing for the Population Studies paper,” said Jagannathan, assistant professor at Guruvayurappan Institute of Management.
Affiliating universities have warned colleges that teachers who have not cleared the NET would not be given the mandatory ‘qualification approval’. “It feels strange to write an examination after so many years. Barely a few weeks ago, I was evaluating answer scripts of my students and now I am at the other end of the spectrum,” quipped Swaminathan, a professor of a self-financing college.
Interestingly, N Chandrasekharan, an Assistant Director with BSNL, appeared for the NET in Hindi although he had a PhD in the subject. “While it is not mandatory for PhD holders to write the NET, I chose to appear to acquire an additional qualification,” he said.
Manikanthan, an assistant prof at Nehru Arts College, said, “The questions were quite expected and nothing was irrelevant.’’