Sucheta Dalal :New PhD admission rules upset Mumbai university students
Sucheta Dalal

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New PhD admission rules upset Mumbai university students  

March 24, 2011

Students say the new norms, enforced with retrospective effect from July 2009, upsets the choice of subjects that they have made and which have been officially approved

Alekh Angre

The University of Mumbai's new admission procedure for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is creating trouble for those students who have already got their topics approved by the Research and Recognition Committee (RRC).

Students have complained that they were being compelled to adhere to the new admission rules despite getting prior approval from the RRC for their research topics for the PhD, which were only pending registration formalities before the new norms were introduced. The new rules were implemented in November, following amendments by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the procedure for admission to the PhD course at universities.

The UGC (Minimum Standard and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Degree) Regulations, 2009, issued by the University Grants Commission on 1 June 2009, and in the subsequent gazette notification of 11 July 2009 by the Secretary, University Grants Commission, made certain amendments to the procedure for admission to the PhD course in universities.

The UGC directive was implemented by the Mumbai university (vide its circular no. 24140) on 18 November 2010. The new procedure was applied to all students who have registered on or after 11 July 2009.

The new rules have become a worry for the students who have started their research work, but were only waiting for registration formalities to be completed. A student who complained to Moneylife said, "I am a registered student of PhD (Computer Science) at Mumbai university and my topic approval was done in March 2009, however, registration formalities were completed after 11 July 2009. Mumbai University circular dated 18 November 2010 advises to follow the new procedure without appreciating the fact that the crucial step of topic approval at RRC was done before 11 July 2009."

Sainath Durge, vice-president of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarathi Sena, the students' wing of the MNS, told Moneylife, "There was a gap of nearly one and half year between the release of UGC's new guidelines for PhD and its implementation by the Mumbai University. Because of the delay, students are suffering, which is highly unfair."

Vinod Malale, public relations officer of the University of Mumbai, said, "The new rules were introduced on the lines of the UGC's guidelines. Tomorrow we are conducting an academic meeting and all these issues of admission norms and other procedures for PhD will be discussed."

Interestingly, the Pune University had in December 2009 applied the new procedures only to students registering after 11 July 2009. It mentioned that students having approval at RRC before June 2009 would follow the old rules. This clearly indicates that there is a different interpretation of the same UGC directive by various universities.

An email to the vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai as well as the registrar, seeking an explanation on the issue, has not been answered yet. In fact, the vice-chancellor's office, stated, "As the matters of PhD are looked after by the Controller of Examinations (CoE), your e-mail has been forwarded to the Controller of Examinations, University of Mumbai." Moneylife tried to contact the CoE for comment, but was not successful.


-- Sucheta Dalal


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