Are scholars pursuing research after clearing course work, asks UGC chief

Vice-Chancellors of all State universities will have to explain the procedures followed in Ph.D and M.Phil admissions to the University Grants Commission (UGC), apart from providing details of candidates, their research topics, guides and the progress made by the scholars.

The information has to be forwarded to the UGC within four weeks in a prescribed format. It has also to be uploaded on the respective websites.

In a letter to Vice-Chancellors, UGC Chairman Ved Prakash asked for detailed information on the matter. The data collected will be analysed and made useful for the promotion of research, besides applying for mid-course corrections.

“It will also be used to understand their pursuit of research vis-a-vis the impact on generating new knowledge and applications of its outcomes,” the letter said.

The letter raised some pertinent questions, and they seem to be bothering university officials as rules have been violated several times. The questions raised include whether scholars were allowed to pursue research after successfully clearing the course work, and whether the publication of one research paper in a refereed journal was made mandatory before submission of thesis.

The UGC has also directed varsities to explain if the thesis was being evaluated by at least two experts, including one from another State or abroad.

The commission also wanted to know whether candidates were asked to defend the thesis and if they had undergone viva voce examination. The number of publications in refereed journals by scholars before the submission of thesis also has to be specified.

Officials agreed that no university in the State had systemised the data of its research scholars or the research pursued.

“We don’t even upload research topics on the website, leave alone the progress,” agreed an official. The A.P. State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) too has no information about the number of scholars or the ongoing research.

“We tried to streamline it, but the response from varsities was not encouraging,” an official said.

The UGC letter assumes significance as Ph.D admissions in most varsities in the State were caught in controversies. In some universities Ph.D scholars outnumber PG students, and in some cases they run into thousands.

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