Ph.D by distance education not valid; says UGC

P.hD In a recent statement made here on Friday, the University Grants Commission (UGC) declared distance education for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) as void. It will no more recognize the supreme authority of Universities namely UGC.

The circular released on March 17th states that those who are pursuing Doctors of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on full time and part time basis will be recognized as programmers and offered valid degrees. The circular states, “The UGC regulations on minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities has recently been updated and according to these changes, only regular mode Ph.D. will be recognised,” The step has been taken to make the entry of teaching staff in colleges and university more regulated and disciplined.

The amendment in the Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education, 2010, was earlier notified in the Gazette of India on 11 of July 2016.

As the circular was released, the UGC’s office received queries all across the nation regarding the exact explanation of “regular mode”. Making it clear, UGC later declared that the programs run as part time and full time only will be treated as regular Ph D. Making it sterner, UGC released a circular demanding the colleges and universities under it to mention the complete details of the teachers/professors in their respective websites. These details entail name, designation, qualification and mode of Ph.D. degree obtained by an individual. The same information is demanded at the earliest by UGC.

There aren’t many private universities in the country that offer distance Ph.D. programs. Only a few universities in Andhra Pradesh offer such degrees which as a result attract students from Tamil Nadu and other neighboring states to AP for pursuing such programs. Only certain open universities like Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as well as Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open Universities (YCMOU) offer distance learning for the Ph.D. course. Most universities, including MU, do not offer Ph.D. in distance mode. We only allow full-time research students (with or without scholarship) or those who work on it part-time, but definitely never a distance program,” said M A Khan, registrar, MU.

The decision is not new as in Tamil Nadu the candidates with Ph.D. degree availed from Open University are not accepted for jobs in the Universities. However, the latest decision by the UGC is a reaction to the RTI filed by retired professor Syed Rahmatullah questioning the quality of teachers in the Madras University.

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