The Telegraph
Tuesday , September 3 , 2013
CIMA Gallary

Course work on paper, not in classroom

Hundreds of students who enrolled for PhD and MPhil courses into Jharkhand universities in 2009 and afterwards may find their degrees invalid when it comes to seek academic jobs in the future.

Reason: they are not doing the course work as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as their respective institute does not have scope for it.

However, while some varsities are claiming that they will start the training soon or have already started it this year, that too four years after the UGC guideline was issued in 2009, students and professors complain that it’s only on paper. In reality, the universities lack infrastructure and resources to conduct the six-month training, which includes research methodology, quantitative methods, computer application, reviewing research published works et al, at the start of the programme.

There are five state-run universities in Jharkhand — Ranchi University, Kolhan University, Vinoba Bhave University, Sidho Kanho Murmu University and Neelambar Peetambar University.

“We have long been demanding that the universities follow UGC norms strictly and conduct course work for MPhil and PhD scholars. In 2010, we had even written to Ranchi University officials, urging them to start the six-month workshop. Recently, the Bihar government announced recruitment of lecturers but many of us don’t have the mandatory course certificate to apply,” claimed S.P. Mishra, secretary of Jharkhand PhD Holders’ Association.

However, Ranchi University’s registrar A.K. Chaudhary maintained that they had started course work in MPhil.

“We are planning to introduce the same for PhD students as well from the next academic session,” he added.

However, the varsity authorities appeared clueless about those students who were enrolled after 2009 and have completed their course without the said certificates in their hands.

A senior professor of Ranchi University said the authorities were taking the students for a ride in the name of holding course work.

“Even in MPhil courses, they merely give certificates that say students have undergone 180 days of training. It’s complete eyewash because we have no faculty members for course work nor has the university designed syllabus for the same. Nobody cares about the quality of research work,” he said.

As expected, a senior official of Vinoba Bhave University (VBU) wondered whether the UGC had indeed made course work mandatory. But VBU vice chancellor Ravindra Nath Bhagat was quick to cover the faux pas, saying it started from this academic session.

SKMU pro vice chancellor Ramyatan Prasad added they had plans to launch it soon.

Neelambar Peetambar University vice chancellor Pheroze Ahmed was the most honest. “I am not defensive. We don’t have course work right now. We even don’t have logistics and faculty to arrange regular classes,” he was candid.

Kolhan University is perhaps the only one to take the UGC order seriously. “We don’t offer MPhil studies, but do hold course work for PhD students. We started the PhD course in 2010-11 and since then, have been conducting the six-month mandatory workshop,” said its vice chancellor Salil Roy.

Deemed university BIT-Mesra and Central University of University of Jharkhand are also toeing the line.