Bharathidasan University has decided not to disturb the system of evaluation of Ph.D. thesis by foreign examiners. As per the requirement, the thesis has to be evaluated by five foreign and four Indian evaluators. The argument made by a section of members at the recent meeting of the senate against evaluation by foreign examiners was that the process was time-consuming and hence Indian examiners would suffice.

But another section was in favour of evaluation by foreign experts for maintaining credibility of Ph.D. thesis. This was more important as there were observations in academic circles about the falling standards of Ph.D, they argued, emphasising that increasing the number of Ph.D. registrations was as much important as maintaining quality.

Referring to India’s dismal 130 position in the global human resource development index, M. Selvam, head, Department of Commerce and Financial Studies, Bharathidasan University, said the observations of poor quality of Ph.D. thesis and poor guidance should not be ignored.

According to senior professors, there is a perceptible decline in Ph.D. standards after the requirements for Ph.D. guideship were relaxed by the university.

Earlier, only those who had put in two years of service after Ph.D. and had at least two of their articles published in nationally and internationally refereed journals could qualify as research guides. The university last year, brought the requirements to one year of service and publication of one article. The university, according to official sources, took the decision to increase opportunities for candidates to pursue Ph.D.

University sources said there was a provision for research guides to recommend only Indian examiners in case foreign examiners were not available for the topic of dissertation.

Vice Chancellor K.Meena said that since June 2012, Ph.D. degree had been awarded to 527 candidates, and files pertaining to Ph.D. scholars were being cleared in two days. The delay, however, happens when the research guides are asked to come up with a different panel of examiners.

The controller of examinations, she said, was constantly monitoring the progress of Ph.D. scholars, and that frequent remainders were being sent.