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Time bind for doctoral students

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Scholars will now have to complete their degree in a maximum of six years; expert committee to scan theses for duplicate material

M Phil and Ph D students could find themselves in a time crunch after the University Grants Commission (UGC) published a circular with new guidelines for all central and state universities.  While there was no pressure on M Phil and Ph D students to complete their degrees within a stipulated time, the new directives outline that a doctoral degree must be finished within a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years. M Phil scholars will have between one and two years to complete their degrees.  Also, to avoid repetition of theses subjects, a three-member committee from UGC will check all applications before they are submitted to the university.  Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) is now making the necessary changes in its Ph D and M Phil guidelines. This year, 5,000 doctoral students enrolled in the varsity’s various departments. While most of them welcomed the new rules, they also pointed out certain lacunae in the system.

Gajanan Bhosle, pursuing a Ph D from the Marathi department, said, “I welcome the fact that a Ph D must now be completed within three years. Earlier, since there was no time limit, some students would take 6 to 8 years to finish their research. I also appreciate UGC’s decision to scanning the theses as it will definitely control duplication of research.”

Sagar Shinde from the history department, said, “I passed the Ph D entrance test in November 2015, but I haven’t been allotted a guide. The shortage of guide in SPPU is a major issue. Now, the UGC’s decision to place a minimum of four students under a single Ph D guide will create more problems unless the number of guides is increased. I do, however, appreciate the time specified for completing a Ph D.”

A doctoral student and lecturer from the Hindi department, Suresh Munde, said, “Along with these directives, UGC should bring about reformation in various issues such as lack of guides, less student intake capacity for Ph Ds, the problem of hostel allocation for research students, etc. There is also the matter of fees. From this year, SPPU is charging Rs 35,000 per year for doctoral students, while the stipend is only Rs 8,000 per month, The fees should be lowered and the stipend hiked.”

Deepak Tonpe from the nanotechnology department said, “The universities Ph D entrance test timetable is not fixed and causes confusion. I appeal to UGC officials to publish research options online at the time of registration.”

Head of the Ph D department of SPPU, Dr Uttam Chavan, said, “As per UGC directions, we are reforming the Ph D guidelines. We will publish the changes on our website within a month and intimate all 53 departments. This year, we have 5,000 students registered for Ph D in Pune, Nashik and Ahmednagar regions.  Director of Board of College and University Development (BCUD), Dr V B Gaikwad, said, “For the last five years, the UGC has been working on reforms in Ph D guidelines for all universities. There will also be new software for scanning all theses and there will be 100 per cent control on duplication of research material.” Member of UGC, Dr Sanjay Dhande, said, “UGC conducted a survey and found that 50 per cent of research topics have the same content but different statistics. In Maharashtra, across nine state universities, there are thousands of similar subjects being researched. We will consider raising the number of guides and the amount of stipend given to students. Overall, the new UGC guidelines will definitely raise the quality of research and motivate further innovation across various faculties.” –  Courtesy


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