PhD aspirants at the University of Mumbai will find it harder to pursue their degrees , after the University Grants Commission (UGC) proposed new draft rules on Saturday.
One of the suggested amendments is that candidates opting for a PhD through a “category III Institution’ will be eligible only if they have cleared the state-level or national-level teacher eligibility tests. The draft, uploaded on the UGC website, is open for public feedback till June 15, 2017.
Mumbai University is a category III institution and this means that its candidates will have to clear the eligibility tests, which are notoriously difficult. The pass percentage in these exams, until now taken only by teachers, has been between 0.5 and 4% in the past few years.
A Category I Institution is one that has a score of 3.5 or above from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or ranked within the top 50 universities in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for two consecutive years. A Category II Institution is one that a score between 3.01 and 3.49 from NAAC and ranked between 51 and 100 in NIRF for two consecutive years. The rest are in Category III.
“For a category III institution, candidates who qualify the National Eligibility Test (NET), State Level Legibility Test (SLET) or State Eligibility Test (SET) will be eligible to pursue a PhD,” reads the latest circular uploaded to the UGC website.
“The problem is that the University of Mumbai (MU) has not been within the top 100 NIRF ranks in the past two years. Their UGC accreditation lapsed in 2016. Candidates who wish to to pursue a PhD in MU will be in trouble because it is not easy to clear the TESTS,” said the principal of a south Mumbai college.
If the amendment comes into effect, there will be no option for PhD aspirants to fund their own research.
Principals are hoping that more teachers will point out this loophole s that the amendment can be dropped from the final draft of the UGC regulations.
“Why should CANDIDATES bear the brunt of such regulations for no mistake of theirs? We hope the UGC understands teachers’ point of view and does not introduce this in their final draft,” said Madhu Nair, principal of Nirmala Foundation College, Kandivli.