UGC retains API (Academic Performance Indicator) System
Going back on its earlier decision to scrap the Academic Performance Indicator (API), a mandatory requirement for universities to select and promote faculty members, the University Grants Commission has decided to retain the Performance Based Appraisal System (PBAS) with API.
The decision was taken at the full-Commission meeting on Monday, after the ministry for human resource development intervened and asked the UGC to re-look at the decision to scrap API. The 489th meeting of the UGC in October 2012 took up the matter on the recommendations of the Revisit Committee on granting of exemption to PhD holders from NET and removing the API and PBAS. Subsequently In January 2013, the Commission decided to scrap the PBAS with API.
The argument given for scrapping the API was that the strict but inflexible parameters of the UGC’s API were holding up appointments and worsening faculty shortage scenario across universities. Scrapping of the API apparently gave the universities flexibility to evolve their own mechanisms to screen teacher performance.
However, scrapping the PBAS has evoked much criticism from the academia. But, according to a senior official with MHRD, “The ministry intervened and asked the UGC to take a re-look at the decision and to retain the API and work out necessary modifications to improve the system.” Following the intervention and in the Monday meeting, it has been decided that the PBAS with API system will continue for promotion and selection of senior university teachers. UGC has also set up a three-member committee to look into the distorting factors in the API to make it a more workable and academically useful model for the university teachers’ promotion. The committee is expected to submit its report in 20 days.
“Instead of scrapping the system, the commission decided to modify the complications in the PBAS and API, do away with the distortions and improve the model. The three-member committee set up will look at improving the PBAS with API system and is expected to submit its report in 15 to 20 days,” said a UGC official present in the meeting. The API was introduced as an attempt to link teacher selections and promotions to their academic performance.
The system was introduced alongside with the salary hike teachers received from the Sixth pay Commission in 2010, thereby making promotions under career advancement scheme performance-linked and increasing the accountability of the country’s teachers to improve the standard of India’s universities. But teachers unions protested the API, saying that the system is a flawed one as it allows favouritism and benefited a select few.