A large section of teachers working without the National or State Eligibility Test (NET/SET) qualification at colleges/institutions affiliated to the University of Pune (UoP), can now heave a collective sigh of relief.
According to the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (MFUCTO), the non-NET /SET teachers appointed between September 19, 1991, and April 3, 2000, no more have to worry about the state governments December 2011 deadline that requires them to clear either of these tests to get their appointments regularised.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has passed a resolution granting exemption from NET/SET qualification to these teachers, C. R. Sadashivan, MFUCTOs executive body member, told TOI on Monday.
At UoP, the commission's latest resolution will benefit a large percentage of the 1,269 teachers whose NET/SET exemption proposals were pending approval for long.
Wasudev Gade, director of the UoPs board of college and university development, confirmed the development saying, We (UoP) have received a letter from the UGC stating that teachers appointed between September 19, 1991, and April 3, 2000, be exempted from NET/SET qualification.
The NET and SET are qualifying examinations for appointment as assistant professor (formerly lecturers) at the university affiliated colleges/institutions. Those teachers who clear either of these exams get the UGCs career advancement scheme (CAS) benefits, including promotions, higher pay scale, among others.
Gade said, The CAS benefits for the exempted teachers will apply from the date of their appointment. However, teachers appointed from April 4, 2000, onwards have to clear NET/SET. We will soon release details relating to the number of teachers who stand to benefit from the UGC decision.
Sadashivan said, The UGCs latest resolution follows an order passed by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on April 20 which asked the commission to communicate to the state government a specific cut-off date for teachers to qualify for NET/SET exemptions. This would enable the state to determine the CAS benefits.
A division bench of justices D. D. Sinha and A. P. Bhangale, while disposing of the petition, had directed the UGC to communicate the date for commencement of NET/SET exemption to the state within three weeks.
But the commission kept the matter pending on the grounds that it had not received a copy of the courts order, Sadashivan added.
A group of teachers from Nagpur had filed the petition mentioning that the state government had withheld their CAS benefits, on the grounds that the UGCs notification on November 5, 2008, which exempted lecturers from NET/SET, did not specify the date from when such exemptions were to be effected.
The state government’s lawyer informed the court that the government was willing to extend CAS benefits to these teachers provided the UGC communicates the date when the exemptions are to be effected as per the November 5, 2008, notification.
The Story so Far:
The UGC had first notified the NET/SET scheme on September 19, 1991. However, implementation of this notification in Maharashtra was held up till April 4, 2000, when the state government released a government resolution (GR) adopting the scheme. Non-NET/SET teachers, who were appointed in the intervening period to make up for the non-availability of qualified candidates, were to be given exemptions by way of proposals, which were to be moved by the concerned universities to the UGC.
In 2009, the UGC issued fresh regulations making NET/SET qualification mandatory for all teaching appointments. Proposals sent by various universities seeking exemption for their teachers were since withheld.
On February 23, 2010, the UGC had cleared the UoPs proposal seeking NET/SET exemption for 1,269 teachers. But it was overturned by the HRD ministry on March 30, 2010, on the grounds that the exemptions granted were against national policy and UGCs own regulations of 2009. The state government then took a position that non-NET /SET qualified teachers have to clear either of these tests by December 2011. The government also issued a GR in September 2010 making the state universities accountable for getting the teachers to clear these exams.
Courtesy: Times of India