C A D E M I C S
Salary : Rs.1 lksh —Rs.2 lakh p.a.
has completed her Bsc (honours) in physics from Calcutta
University with high first class marks. But if you tell
her that she should now enrol for a postgraduate course
in her subject and then prepare for a career in academics,
she will say, "I don't see myself teaching or doing
research even if I want to. The incentives are not exciting
dont' really need statistics to show that this is what
most graduate students feel, even if they have chosen
to pursue higher studies in the core sciences or the humanities.
In an increasingly competitive job market, industry is
generally preferred to academics. Even the best brains
are said to be giving the latter short shrift, thanks
to the lure of corporate incentives, For many, teaching
has become a 'last-resort' profession, and research a
daunting proposition, thanks to the discrepancy between
the hard work one has to put in and the returns it generates
teaching still remains a coveted vocation and it certainly cab
be a rewarding career. "It is quite correct that some of
the best graduates today go for corporate or professional careers.
Management is very popular and i Can imagine that such students
who are taking up management courses are doing so far a whole
range of jobs which usually does not include an academic career"
say Uma Dasgupta, senior academician.
Like any other career, taking up teaching involves careful planning
and preparation. For lectureship or research fellowship at colleges
across the country, you have to clear the NET (National Eligibility
Test), conducted by the UGC. For state level entry to colleges,
you have to take the SLET (the State level Eligibility Test).
Both tests are quite tough—only a handful can make it out
of thousands of candidates who take the tests.
The NET, held twice every year in June and December, is conducted
in humanities, social sciences, forensic science, environmental
sciences, computer science and applications and electronics science.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is responsible
for the UGC-CSIR NET for other science subjects, including physical
sciences and planetary sciences. The eligibility criterion is
a minimum of 55 per cent marks in your postgraduate degree or
an equivalent examination in humanities (including languages)
and social sciences, computer applications, etc. The SLET for
lectureship, based more or less on the pattern of the NET, is
conducted by different states.
The starting salary for a lecturer is around Rs.14,000 (gross)
For teaching in government or government-aided schools at the
state level, you have to pass the School Service Commission tests.
The starting salary at a government or aided school in around
Rs. 12,000 per month (gross). The most popular route to taking
up teaching posts at private institutions in through a bachelor
of education (BEd) course, the minimum requirement of which is
graduation. It's a one-year course, with academic session usually
starting in July. After BEd, you can opt for MEd, which will ensure
a higher scale at the entry level in schools. But a degree in
teaching is not mandatory insofar as recruitment in private schools
is concerned. "We try to look beyond paper qualifications.
We do look for fresher who have excellent communication skill—absolutley
vital for this profession—and who can think out of the box.
However, we do ask for a teacher's training certificate for teaching
at the primary level," says Devi Kar, Principal, Modern High
Academicians say research, particularly in the pure sciences,
is a 'diminishing area' among students at present. But the situation
is not as bleak as it is often made out to be. "I'd say the
scope for research in India is reasonably on a par which that
in the West," says professor Jayanta Bhattacharya of Indian
Association for the Cultivation of Science, Calcutta. " In
this field, salary increases with age and experience. The same
goes for promotions. These might seem unacceptable to youngsters.
So the method of assessing academic works and they pay structure
need to be improved."
Dr. Samir Kumar Bandopadhyay, registrar, Calcutta University,
Feels that more and more students, who have had a stint in the
corporate world, are coming back to academics. He feels compared
to students in sciences an commerce, arts students are in a better
position today insofar as teaching is concerned because English
is being given prominence as a communicative tool in industry.
And students are keen to learn the language. Therefore, there
would be an increase in teaching posts in this field soon. "Also,
there are some arts subjects like mathematical philosophy which
are generating a considerable amount of interest. And I personally
feel the demand in the field of economics in going to grow immensely
in the days to come."
But there's a note of caution. Securing high marks in your degree
courses doesn't necessarily mean that you are made for a career
in research. Experts say one of would be to opt for various talent
hunt schemes, which give you an opportunity to test how good you
are at original thinking. "You have to be focused. You have
to know which topic in your subject interests you the most and
then follow it up." says Anindya Mukherjee, researcher at
the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
from a Career magazine
Institute of Fundamental Research
Homi Bhabha Road, Mumbai-500005
Phone: 022 22782000
Institute of Science
Ph: 080 22932001
Phone: 0674 2201058
C.V. Raman Avenue, Bangalore
Phone: 011 26717676
Institute of Mathematical Sciences
C.I.T. Cmpus, Taramani, Chennai- 600113
Phone: 044 22541856
bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi-110002
Phone: 011 24115419
The West Bengal College Service Commission
6, Bhawani Dutta Lane
Phone: 033 22414679
Loreto College, B.Ed. Department
7, Middleton Row, Calcutta 700071
Phone : 033 22463444, 22296030
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