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UGC to assess quality of PhDs awarded in the last decade

Posted on Monday, June 3, 2019

The assessment of around 2 lakh PhDs will be done through random sampling method, writes Sheetal Banchariya

In the last 10 years, the maximum number of PhDs has been awarded across the universities. In the session, 2007-08, as many as 13,237 PhD degrees were awarded, which increased two-folds in 2017-18 where 34,400 scholars were awarded PhDs in various academic fields. 

Lack of a centralised record system of research topics being pursued by scholars is the reason behind increasing PhDs, says Raja Shekhar Bellamkonda, dean of the School of Management Studies and director of Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC), University of Hyderabad (UoH). 

“Many times, scholars in different parts of the country are unaware of similar research being conducted elsewhere, that leads to identical studies. This has led to an increase without any value addition,” he adds. 

UGC has invited proposals for a six-month study on ‘Quality of PhD theses in Indian universities’, which will analyse the quality of researches carried out in the various central, state, private and deemed-to-be universities over the last decade. 

Expressing concern over the quality of the exponentially increasing number of researches, Rajnish Jain, secretary, UGC, says, “The number of universities and gross enrolment ratio (GER) has been increasing, which is also leading to proportional growth in the number of students pursuing PhD degrees. We want to ensure that the quality is not deteriorating with increasing number of PhD theses.” 

The study will help in qualitative analysis of around 2 lakh PhDs awarded in the last 10 years “It is difficult to put all the researches under the quality scanner, hence, the study will be conducted through the sampling process, where a particular number of theses will be thoroughly analysed to extrapolate the findings at national as well as state levels,” adds Jain. 

The remuneration and total scholars participating in the study has not been fixed and depends on the quality of the proposals that the UGC will receive by June 10, 2019. 

SHIFTING TRENDS

PhDs in Sciences and Arts, for long, have maintained equilibrium and accounted for an average of 70% of total researches. However, theses in Sciences have increased in the last few years. The UGC official cites thrust on tech-research as one of the major reasons behind the increase. “Researches in Science and Technology (S&T) have been given major thrust in the last few years with various fellowships, government initiatives and MHRD schemes, which is one of the reasons that Science PhDs are taking the lead,” says Jain. Students are opting for PhDs in Sciences to have access to increasing employment opportunities due to digitisation, says Bellamkonda. He adds, “Private universities and deemed-to-be universities are more focussed on offering engineering and science courses that leads to lesser students conducting researches in Arts.”
 

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