Teachers on various academic bodies of state's public universities are now required to have a PhD and at least two students who have been awarded PhD under them as guides. PhD, however, will no longer be mandatory for election to the senate for teachers. These are some of the new eligibility criteria for representatives in academic bodies who will be soon elected or nominated.

Qualifications required to be fulfilled by principals, teachers and representatives on various academic and administrative bodies including the senate, board of studies, examinations have been modified under statutes of the new Maharashtra Public Universities' Act, 2016, released on Wednesday .

Bodies such as academic and management councils, board of examinations, board of studies, senates across the 11 public universities in the state are mainly responsible for formulating policies. These include examination reforms, evaluation, changes in syllabi, introduction of courses. In the absence of the new act, for the last two years universities across the state were functioning without elected members in academic bodies. Therefore, intro duction of online assessment in Mumbai University , scrapping internal assessment and similar major decisions for example, were taken solely by the vicechancellor, his nominees and other ex-officio members.Mumbai University's registrar, MA Khan, said the state is yet to release statutes on the process of conduct of elections, adding this was a step in that direction.

An official from the committee which formulated the statutes said they have ensured some qualifications in the academicrelated bodies were tweaked to make them more stringent.“There are many nominated members and we have ensured more weightage is given to academics to ensure the right candidate is nominated. Principals also need to be from NAAC-accredited colleges. That can't be a one-time accreditation, but should have a valid certificate at the time of electionnomination,“ said the official.

T A Shiware, chairman of the Association of Non-Government Colleges, said it will be difficult for universities to find appropriate candidates on the board of studies of some subjects. “Despite the previous liberal rules, many posts in the boards remained vacant as universities failed to find the appropriate candidate. The new rules will make it more difficult,“ said Shiware, adding nominated candidates on the senate such as educationists, scientists, members from organisations involved in environment, preservation of nature-related tasks, women's development, senior citizen welfare, will also be difficult to find for all state universities. He said nominated members have increased as elected members dropped in the senate.

Teachers are happy with the relaxation of PhD criteria for elected members in the senate, but not pleased with other criteria. “One anomaly teachers are not happy about is allowing principals, without PhDs, appointed before 2000 in the board of studies and not giving the same benefit to a senior teacher who does not have a PhD, but was appointed before 2000,“ said a senior teacher.