Some pursue Ph.D. in distance mode, against UGC norms

A few faculty members of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) are facing allegations of pursuing Ph.D. programmes through the distance education mode in violation of the rules of the University Grants Commission.

According to UGC rules, no university, institution, deemed university and college or institution of national importance shall conduct M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes through the distance education mode. A few faculty members in the KVASU are reportedly pursuing their doctoral studies in the distance learning mode with an institute outside the State having deemed university status. They got approval for this when the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences was a part of the Kerala Agricultural University.

“Allegations are rife that applicants secure approval through political pressure,” E. Sivaraman, former head of the Department of Animal Nutrition of the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences told The Hindu .

Procedure

A faculty member with the KVASU who wishes to pursue doctoral studies should apply to the Director of Academics and Research through the Dean of the College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.

Applications by some faculty members for pursuing Ph.D. courses in the distance learning mode were turned down by the KVASU sometime ago.

“A Ph.D. programme should include coursework, approved research plan, quality evaluation and public defence. Any doctoral programme pursued by a faculty member that does not include these components cannot deliver career distinction,” says former Vice-Chancellor of KVASU B. Ashok.

Coursework for one-and-a-half years (two to three semesters) is compulsory in all agricultural and veterinary universities, including the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareily; National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal; and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.

Many universities in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada prescribe coursework for a minimum of one year for Ph.D. programmes.

No field studies

“Institutes that offer doctoral courses in the distance learning mode do not demand coursework by the candidates. The candidates just have to register and then submit their theses. As a result, their work is not field-oriented. For instance, a candidate who researches on the bad effects of a certain pesticide will not have visited a farm even once. In contrast, institutions under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research demand regular classroom coursework and farm-based activity for Ph.D. programmes,” says Dr. Sivaraman. An assistant professor with KVASU having Ph.D. is eligible for two salary increments. The doctoral degree is mandatory for being promoted as a professor. A professor would draw a monthly salary of nearly Rs.1.2 lakh.


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