Based on the All-India Survey on Higher Education’s (AISHE) most recent report, between 2015–16 and 2019–2021, the number of students enrolled in Ph.D. programs increased from 1,26,451 to 2,02,550 (0.5% of the total number of students enrolled in higher education).
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has eliminated the requirement that Ph.D. theses be completed and submitted before research papers are published in peer-reviewed journals in new regulations for doctoral programmes announced Monday.
Prior to the submission of their thesis for review, M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy) students had to present at least one research paper at a conference or seminar, while Ph.D. students had to publish at least one research paper in a refereed journal and give two presentations at conferences or seminars.
In response to inquiries, Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, Chairperson of the UGC, stated that by eliminating the requirement for mandatory publication, the higher education regulator has acknowledged that the “one-size-fits-all” approach is not preferable.
In order to further emphasize the need to avoid a uniform method for evaluating all disciplines, he mentioned the fact that many doctoral students in computer science prefer to present their papers at conferences rather than have them published in journals.
However, he added, it does not imply that Ph.D. scholars should stop publishing research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Even though it is not required, concentrating on high-quality research will result in publications in reputable journals. When they apply for jobs or post-doctoral positions, it will be a plus, he told The Indian Express.
After that, a UGC committee recommended that the publication of research material in “predatory” journals or presentations at conferences sponsored by their publishers should not be taken into consideration for academic credit in any way. The committee, which was made up of four members, was chaired by P. Balram, a former director of the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.
The UGC had suggested allowing universities to create their own rules in this area in draught regulations floated in March of this year. The final UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of Ph.D. Degree) Regulations, announced on Monday, completely eliminate the clause that asked for public input on changing the word “mandatory” to “desirable.”
According to the updated Ph.D. regulations, the commission also abandoned its plan to mandate that universities and colleges reserve at least 60% of their annual intake of doctoral candidates for NET or JRF-qualified students. In the draught regulations released in March, the UGC proposed that 60% of the total number of open seats in an academic year be filled in a single academic year.
A common entrance exam for Ph.D. admissions was also envisioned in the draught guidelines. This is also not mentioned in the final version of the guidelines, so universities and colleges can continue to admit students via entrance exams and NET/JRF without being constrained by any cap for either of the two categories in accordance with the accepted standards.
The performance on the written test will be given a weighting of 70%, and the interview will receive a weighting of 30%, in situations where candidates are chosen through entrance exams held by individual universities.
However, the provision for part-time PhDs, which is primarily aimed at working professionals seeking doctoral degrees, is still included in the final regulations. Such programmes are already allowed at IITs. The regulations state that “the higher educational institution concerned shall obtain a no objection certificate from the appropriate authority in the organization where the candidate is employed… through the candidate for a part-time Ph.D. programme.”
According to the updated regulations, graduates of traditional three-year UG degrees must have completed two years of master’s study before they can enroll in Ph.D. programmes after completing a four-year UG programme.
Candidates who have successfully completed M.Phil. programmes with an overall GPA of at least 55% are also considered eligible. The M.Phil. programme will be phased out after the new rules are announced, but M.Phil. degree programmes that have already started will not be affected.
Previously, research scholars were required to present their work progress for evaluation and further direction once every six months before a Research Advisory Committee in order to ensure the quality of their output. Now, they are required to do this every semester.
“I urge the universities to ensure that the Ph.D. evaluation process is strengthened, and research scholars are trained to publish in peer-reviewed journals, present at conferences, and apply for patents where feasible,” Prof Jagadesh Kumar said.
Tags- UGC, Ph.D. degree, Ph.D. degree thesis, UGC journals approved, UGC journals Ph.D. degree, Ph.D. thesis, University Grants Commission, education news
Source – Indian Express