One could write a thesis on all that is wrong with the way Mumbai University awards Ph.Ds. The university does not adhere to conditions prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) like maintaining a repository and hosting all the theses on the national research forum; having open defence presentations for each candidate before submission of the thesis; and updating the number of vacant seats under each subject before a notification for the entrance test is released. Because MU has not followed the UGC norms, over 3,000 Ph.Ds awarded in the past five years could be declared null and void. As per the official notification of the UGC (Gazette of India, July 11-17), all affiliated universities, institutes and colleges have to fulfil the stated conditions for awarding an MPhil or PhD degree to any candidate registered under the college or university.
Presently, it is not mandatory for doctoral students to submit a soft copy of the thesis along with the bound version. As per the UGC norms, a soft copy has to be submitted within 30 days of the thesis presentation so that it can be uploaded to the Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) Centre for other students to access. “While some students give soft copies of their thesis, some don’t. As teachers, we cannot make this mandatory as we have not received any such formal guideline from the university,” said a senior professor from the arts faculty at the university on the condition of anonymity. In the absence of an online repository, the university has no database of the 3,000 plus Ph.Ds awarded till date. Vijay Joshi, principal of Somaiyya College who had taken up the issue at the university’s management council meeting in 2014, said that in the absence of a repository students cannot refer to earlier research work. “The whole idea of passing the proposal of anti-plagiarism software and uploading soft copies of the theses was to have a database in place and to ensure genuine, quality work from students. It’s unfortunate that the proposal hasn’t been implemented yet.”
Another important UGC guideline is that the university has to put out the number of vacant seats for each subject before notifying the entrance test. While the university is following the norm, it is not doing so in the right spirit. This leads to a lot of confusion as the number is not updated every year. “The list has names of even those guides who retired several years ago despite conveying the same to the university on several occasions. Students apply for the entrance on the basis of that number on the website but are later told that there is no vacancy and hence end up waiting for years till a vacancy is created,” said a professor from the commerce faculty. University Registrar MA Khan told Mumbai Mirror: “Several students and faculty members have written to us for fulfilment of all the UGC 2009 guidelines and we will try to get all those approved in the management council in the next academic year.”- Courtesy