Amend JKPSC Assistant Professor Recruitment notification

Aamir Hanif
Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) has recently come up with a recruitment notification (13-PSC (DR-P) of 2022, Dated 25-05-2022) for the appointment of Assistant Professors in Degree Colleges of Jammu and Kashmir. A general inconvenience during online form submission, account creation, password retrieval, and often obfuscating terminology are the hallmarks of the JKPSC, accepted as a norm without any further complaint. However, this time they have gone a step ahead in playing fast and loose with the general guidelines from the regulatory body (University Grants Commission), which has put the experienced aspirants at an obvious disadvantage.
The particular points of contention are
* An absolute disregard is shown for the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines for appointing assistant professors in degree colleges. Instead, the commission has come up with its own shortlisting criteria, which is strange and arbitrary. Pertinently, countrywide different recruitment boards and universities have been following the UGC guidelines in letter and spirit.
* In yet another clause, the recruitment notification mentions the requirement of a postdoctoral qualification certificate and a postdoctoral thesis. Now, this is entirely a perplexing requirement that, at best, may have stemmed from absolute ignorance or, worse, a deliberate attempt to render the highly relevant postdoctoral experience ineligible for consideration. It is apt to mention any post PhD experience is not regarded as a degree that can have a formal certificate or a requirement of thesis submission. At most, the universities issue a certificate of experience for post PhD research work worldwide and nothing more than that.
* A postdoctoral experience for less than one year is not considered for shortlisting, and any expertise above one year doesn’t count. Additionally, a foreign postdoc experience granting university must be certified by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) as per the notification. However, in practice, UGC rules don’t specify the length of postdoc, and AIU does not certify postdoctoral experience certificates, nor does any other recruitment agency require it. It seems that this requirement is included by some over-enthusiastic bureaucrat without complete knowledge of the means to fulfill this condition.
* In addition, a lot of deliberate confusion is created with the nomenclature of different post PhD research experiences. Post PhD research experiences are named differently as Research associate, postdoctoral fellow, postdoctor, postdoctoral research associate, research assistant professor etc., across the world. To avoid confusion, irrespective of nomenclature, UGC treats all post PhD research and teaching experience at par and awards them equally. The notification from JKPSC leaves this as a grey area.
Considering these glaring fallacies and deficiencies, the need of the hour is that JKPSC amends the current notification to streamline it with established criteria laid down by UGC. Further, the responsibility of including some illogical requirements should be fixed and appropriate action taken against the erring officials so that the aspirants don’t have to go through mental and physical exertion to explain it again and again. Moreover, it is equally important to improve the website so that candidates do not face problems in submitting forms. A better IT infrastructure and workforce are definitely needed.
(The author is a postdoctoral fellow at Hong Kong Quantum AI Lab Limited and the University of Hong Kong.)