The Telegraph
Thursday , June 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999

PhD hopes crippled
- Mentor crunch hits Kolhan

Sujit Kumar has been looking for a supervisor ever since he learnt that he cleared Kolhan University’s maiden PhD entrance results last month.

The history scholar who is yet to find a guide is not alone, as the university simply lacks enough teachers to mentor its first batch of 197 PhD scholars — a numerical loophole that the authorities have clearly overlooked while opening doors to researchers. The students have to make do with around 50 guides.

For those like Sujit, who has a postgraduate degree from Ignou, they may have to wait until the Jharkhand Public Service Commission fills up teachers’ vacancies in colleges under Kolhan University.

According to officials, the university has 201 vacancies of teachers out of a sanctioned strength of roughly 400 in its colleges.

Many scholars who have been chosen for the PhD programme — which has a minimum duration of three years and a maximum of five — are finding it difficult to get a supervisor whose guidance is a must for their research.

“The number of students who have been selected is lot more than the available teachers. This is indeed a difficult situation, as the students who do not get a guide might be left stranded until new teachers are appointed. As one supervisor cannot guide more than four students, the rest will have to wait,” said Ganga Prasad Singh, controller of examinations, Kolhan University.

The fact that there is not a single professor in the varsity also compounds the problem. Professors can guide a maximum of seven students each, whereas a reader and lecturer can mentor four and two scholars respectively.

The varsity conducted the PhD written entrance in March and declared its list of chosen candidates in 20 subjects on May 18.

Subjects such as anthropology, geology and philosophy have attracted few students, but history and psychology have drawn 26 and 18 students respectively.

Urdu, too, has 18 students.

However, the number of teachers who can act as guides for subjects such as anthropology, history, philosophy, psychology, economics, Urdu, geology and geography is not more than one or two.

Sujit told The Telegraph, “Look at the scenario in Kolhan University. I don’t know how long I will have to wait for a guide for my PhD.”

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