In a first of its kind announcement, the Gujarat government has prepared a list of 82 topics and sent it across all the state universities asking them to make sure that the doctoral students take up at least five subjects from the list. The topics are majorly related to welfare schemes and programmes related to the state and central government. It seems that the Gujarat government is keen on making all the PhD students in the state to research for the state administration.
Few of the topics in the list includes pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘Swach Bharat Abhiyan’. There are topics related to the Gujarat model schemes including Kanya Kelavai, Gunotsav and MA Yojana and Sardar Patel Awas Yojna. Topics like ‘Education of minorities- a critical study’, ‘Gujarat: Good governance for growth’ and ‘Comprehensive analysis of growth of water in seven reservoirs of Saurashtra through SAUNI Yojna’ are part of the list of topics mentioned by the government, indicating clear biases.
The decision from the government has undergone sharp criticism from the educationalists in the state and from other parts of the country. The educationalists are criticizing the government saying the government wants the students to work as government servants by forcing them to take topics of government interest in their thesis paper. On the contrary, the former Vice Chancellor of Gujarat University A U Patel thinks that students pursing PhDs on these topics would help the students review the existing policies of the state government and find loopholes in the various schemes and programmes to ultimately provide solutions for the same.
Present VC of Gujarat University, M N Patel further added that the students had a trend to choose subjects for their thesis paper, which were not relevant. He added, “With this initiative, there would be some relevant hypothesis available for PhD theses.” Students were clearly seemed furious over the decision taken by the government and one of PhD scholar Rajesh Patel said, “If they are so keen to get accurate research and want to save babus the labour, they should have given this task to some agency.”