Recently a report published by UGC has created a stir regarding the quality of Ph.D. in India. UGC Chairman Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar authored a column in a leading daily responding to this report today, October 20, 2022. In his column, the chairman questioned the rule of UGC that forces students to submit a published journal before completion of their Ph.D.
In the year 2016, UGC came up with a new rule per which the students were required to publish at least one research paper before the submission of their thesis. Referring to this rule, the chairman said that this rule is unproductive as this forced directive has led to students producing journals that are pretty inferior when it comes to quality.
Focus on PhD quality, not publications. We need to encourage scholars to become inquisitive explorers, papers will naturally follow.— Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar (@mamidala90) October 19, 2022
Courtesy: Times of India pic.twitter.com/i7g4269nMi
Excerpts from the Ph.D. Report
The UGC recently conducted research for Ph.D. publications for the last three years. This research was conducted for the sessions from 2017 to 2019. The report suggested that only 19% of students published only one journal paper during their research. Also, out of all the research papers published by the students around 75% of the papers were of not good quality.
The report also highlighted the plight of the students who were pursuing the Humanities stream. It also stated that the Scopus-indexed journals from the humanities stream were very less as compared to other streams.
On a closing note, the report stated that the major agenda of the Ph.D. is to contribute to the chosen discipline by creating new knowledge. Therefore, publishing a research paper becomes mandatory. However, the only thing that has to be kept in mind is that the paper should be at par with the standards of the commission.
Expert’s Suggestion for Improvement in Thesis
A bench of experts who have gone through the reports has suggested ways that could be helpful in the improvement of the thesis.
- The students should work under the expert supervision of teachers who have enough knowledge of the chosen subjects.
- Next, the commission should establish a RAC that guides and mentors students from time to time.
- Finally, external examiners should go through the research papers and then offer suggestions and feedback for their improvements.
Latest Reforms Introduced By UGC for Ph.D. Students
Earlier this month, the UGC announced abstaining from the rule that as per which students have to submit a publication before completion of their Ph.D. thesis. In the words of the chairman, Some people erroneously think that mandatory publication of a research paper before the submission of a Ph.D. thesis decides its quality. On the contrary, high-quality Ph.D. thesis work leads to quality publications.”
Additionally, another landmark step taken by the commission is allowing students to join the Ph.D. programmes post-completion of their Undergraduate degree.