Wednesday, October 27, 2004

New PhD rules opposed

PUNE: The University of Pune (UoP) senate council on Tuesday expressed an almost unanimous opposition to the new PhD rules framed by the state.

Almost all the senate members, except a few, including arts faculty dean Ashok Thorat, spoke in favour of the resolution moved by Dhananjay Kulkarni, which demanded that the rules not be implemented in the university as "they killed the spirit of research".

Kulkarni said that the marks obtained in exams had no linkage with intellectual merit and research mentality.

In the debate, the members spoke against the revised rules which specify that a student needs to have at least 55 per cent and 60 per cent marks at the graduate and postgraduate levels, respectively, for PhD registration.

Though the motion demanding a rethink was accepted, vice-chancellor Ashok Kolaskar, said he agreed in principle with the members demand, adding that the rules were binding on the universities as they were passed by the governor.

The clause in the new rules which states that a student should pass a state-wide aptitude test, which would be conducted by the UoP, also came under fire.

Members objected to Kolaskar's remarks about the rules not being applicable to foreign students "as they were concerned more about the quality of the Indian students and not foreign students".

Kolaskar said the university had suggested to the university grants commission (UGC) and the All-India council for Technical Education (AICTE) that the rule about a college principal compulsorily holding a doctorate be altered.

The psychology based test for students would be an appropriate barometer to gauge their aptitude and a thought was being given to make the test walk-in and online in the future, Kolaskar said. The testing process was likely to start by December, he added.

Senate member Swati Rajan alleged that the new rules, which gave no relaxation to the backward and scheduled classes, heaped injustice on the Dalits and the rural students.

Members also alleged that the students from outside Maharashtra would be at an advantage as there were no such rules in their states.

Moreover, the possibility of students from Maharashtra going to other states to secure doctorate degrees and using dubious methods to secure the necessary marks for eligibility could not be ruled out. Introducing a subjectwise entrance test instead of a uniform one were also suggested.

However, arts faculty dean Ashok Thorat argued that degrees like M.Phil had a cut off percentage of 55 per cent and, hence, introducing a cut off percentage for PhD was required.

Source: The Times of India, October 27, 2004

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