Hiring of field experts is need of hour to teach specialized skill courses in HEIs, say experts


JAMMU : As the University Grants Commission (UGC) has already given its nod by issuing detailed guidelines for the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) across the country to engage Professor of Practice without formal academic qualification and no mandatory publication requirements, the higher education experts believe that the engagement of professionals is the need of the hour if the HEIs in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir are really serious to successfully run the specialized skill/vocational courses.

The experts stated that a number of colleges in the UT are grappling with teaching faculty in regular subjects and are heavily dependent on academic arrangements for decades. “Under the New Education Police (NEP) 2020, the Ministry of Education has emphasized on imparting skill/job oriented courses that will benefit the students to find ample job opportunities in various fields.

Almost all the colleges in J&K have now introduced skill courses in different fields but it is to be seen whether they are ready to engage Professors of Practice/guest faculty to teach the enrolled students. The role of Higher Education Department assumes greater significance in this context as only after its green signal, the colleges will be able to engage the specialists to teach the skill courses”, higher education experts said.

“For the specialized courses only experts in the respective fields are an ideal choice to teach the students. Otherwise if these courses are to be taught by the regular faculty then there is no logic behind introducing the skill courses.  Availability of required funds to engage the specialists is the main reason behind non-engagement of experts/guest faculty by the colleges even after the skill courses are approved.

The institutes want to run the courses but there is no clarity by the Higher Education Department.  The government should provide ample funds to the colleges not only to run different skills courses for the benefit of enrolled students but also to hire experts/guest faculty. It will be really fortunate if the financial constraints stop the colleges from running the skill courses/hiring of expert faculty”, experts maintained.

 “The HEls especially in J&K UT need people with skills and expertise acquired in non-academic careers, in teaching and research. Those who have proven expertise in their specific profession or role with a sizable service experience preferably at a senior level will definitely mentor the students in a proper way”, they added.

According to the approved draft guidelines of the Professor of Practice by UGC, experts from fields such as Engineering, Science, Media, Literature, Entrepreneurship, Social Sciences, Fine Arts, Civil Services and Armed Forces among others will be eligible to be hired.  Later, the UGC shared the draft guidelines to engage Professors of Practice in the public domain for all stakeholders to get feedback/suggestions for engaging the field experts.