UGC Enforces New Norms: PhD Aspirants Face Guide Crunch

Almost every state across country is witnessing a rise in the number of PhD enrolments across State-run universities, there are not enough research guides to supervise their work.

To make things worse, the directive by University Grants Commission (UGC) on not engaging retired faculty members as guides is all set to have an impact on PhD enrolments from 2016-17 academic year that begins in September. Although the directive was issued last year, it would be implemented for new PhD scholars from the ensuing academic year.

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As per the guideline, only existing faculty members can guide PhD scholars in their thesis work. “University shall allocate the supervisor from among regular faculty members in the department and its affiliated Post Graduate colleges as well as institutes depending on the number of students per faculty member, the available specialisation among the faculty supervisors and the research interest of the student,” the UGC directive reads.

Ironically, none of the State Government-run universities has sufficient faculty members who can double up as guides. Also, the faculty recruitment process has been abysmally slow except for few like Utkal University. Under these circumstances, the universities mostly depend on retired faculty to meet the demands of an increasing number of PhD scholars.

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According to the All India Survey on Higher Education report by Ministry of Human Resources Development, in 2013-14 academic year, 886 scholars had enrolled for PhD in Odisha and the number increased to 1,539 in 2014-15 academic year.

Educationists said the new norm will increase the problems for universities as existing teachers are already overburdened with academic and administrative works. They added that barring retired faculty members from being PhD guides is not a step in the right direction as age of retirement of university teachers in the country is not uniform.

Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University Ashok Das said the intellectual capacity of a teacher does not deteriorate till the age of 70. “Hence, UGC should allow retired faculty members who are already associated with any university to work as guides for PhD scholars. We have also written to the UGC about it,” he said. Das informed that in the current academic year, there are some faculty members in the university who also serve as guides to scholars and would retire in next one year.


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