Certain scholars enrolled in PhD programmes at Panjab University have defied University Grants Commission guidelines by taking more than three decades to complete their degree. As per the UGC guidelines, a research scholar is supposed to complete his/her degree in three years, with the possibility of an extension of two years and further a ‘delay condoned’ of three years. This implies that a research scholar after availing all the possible
extensions can complete his degree in a period of eight years. But the scholars at Panjab University have not only defied the commission’s rules but also put at stake the relevance of their research topic.
In certain cases, Panjab University has granted extension of even 15-20 years to scholars for completing their research.
“The approval of special research cases at the Syndicate meeting is questioned. Not only approval but also the relevance of the research work is under scanner where students are completing it in two decades. There should be a set guideline for all the cases which should be strictly adhered to. Another point to be noted is implementation of guidelines for examination and evaluation. The committee constituted to formulate these, of which I was appointed chairperson, has made several recommended which are hardly implemented,” said Prof S K Sharma, a fellow and Professor Emeritus of the University.
These claims are confirmed by the University officials of General and Thesis Branch where all the research cases are recorded. “There are cases where the extension is given for more than 15 years in addition to the maximum time frame of eight years. In most of the cases, it is either female students who get married and fail to complete their degrees and after a certain point, return to the university to complete their PhD degree. There are also cases where men have gotten themselves enrolled in the PhD but are preparing for one or the other entrance examination. Once they get through that exam, they leave it and later return to get the degree,” pointed out a senior official in the General Branch.
One PhD scholar who enrolled herself enrolled in the Department of Botany in 1980 with the subject ‘Reproductive biology of some hetero-stylous species and Dalbercia Sissoo Roxb’.
She completed her degree in 2009, taking almost three decades to complete her degree. Even the supervisor under whom she was enrolled had retired by the time she completed her degree.
Similar cases have been reported in the departments of Hindi, Physics, Geography, Design and Fine Arts and Music.
[Source: Indian Express]