Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued guidelines for engaging “Professors of Practice” or distinguished experts from various fields at higher education institutions.


What is the initiative?

  • Objectives —
      • To develop courses and curriculum to meet the industry and societal needs and enable the HEIs to work with industry experts.
      • To bring in distinguished experts from various fields such as engineering, science, technology, entrepreneurship, management, commerce, media, literature, etc., into the academic institutions.
      • To enable the HEIs to formally associate with persons of eminence and encourage them to participate in experiential learning, research, training, skilling, etc., and to play mentoring roles.
  • Eligibility —
      • Distinguished experts who have made remarkable contributions in their professions from various fields.
        • However, this role is not open to those from the teaching profession, serving or retired.
      • Those who have proven expertise in their specific profession or role with at least 15 years of service/experience, preferably at a senior level.
      • A formal academic qualification is not considered essential for this position if they have exemplary professional practice.
      • These experts will also be exempted from the requirement of publications and other eligibility criteria stipulated for the recruitment of faculty members at the Professor level.
      • However, they should possess the skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities
  • Significance —
      • This will help to take real world practices and experiences into the class rooms and also augment the faculty resources in HEIs.
      • The engagement of such experts will not affect the number of sanctioned posts and the recruitment of regular faculty members.
      • In turn, the industry and society will benefit from trained graduates equipped with the relevant skills.


About the UGC

  • The Sargent Report was the first attempt to formulate a national system of education in India in 1944.
  • It recommended the formation of a University Grants Committee, which was established in 1945 to oversee the work of the three Central Universities of Aligarh, Banaras, and Delhi.
  • Soon after independence, the University Education Commission was established (in 1948) under the chairmanship of Dr. S Radhakrishnan to report on Indian university education and suggest improvements and extensions.
  • It proposed reorganising the University Grants Committee along the lines of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom, with a full-time Chairman and other members.
  • As a result, the UGC was formally inaugurated in 1953 by Maulana Abul Kalam, the then Minister of Education, Natural Resources, and Scientific Research.
  • However, the UGC was established as a statutory body in November 1956 by the UGC Act 1956.
  • It is set up by the Ministry of Education’s Department of Higher Education.
  • A proposal to replace it with another new regulatory body called the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) is under consideration by the Government of India.