House to scan UGC research seat rules

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By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 12.04.17
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New Delhi, April 11: New UGC norms that have led to seat cuts in research courses and sparked student protests will face Rajya Sabha scrutiny.

CPM leaders Sitaram Yechury and Ritabrata Banerjee and Congress member Husian Dalwai have moved a motion in the upper House against the regulations which stipulate that a professor cannotguide more than eight PhD students.

The motion seeks to amend the norms to allow teachers to guide more students and varsities to decide the weightage they wish to attach to the written test and viva voce in admission to research courses. The rules now require candidates to secure 50 per cent in the written test to qualify for viva voce, and do away with grace marks in the test for disadvantaged sections.

The selections, therefore, will be almost entirely based on viva voce. Students of several universities, particularly JNU, claim such a system leaves candidates from weaker sections vulnerable to the bias of the interviewers.

Under the norms, a professor can guide three MPhil and eight PhD students, an associate professor two MPhil and six PhD students, and an assistant professor one MPhil and four PhD scholars.

JNU has adopted the norms, causing sharp seat cuts and igniting weeks of protests. The House motion says a research supervisor should be allowed to guide six to 12 PhD students. It also calls for UGC rules to be inharmony with a 2008 reservation law that increased seats.