The UGC lifts ban on doctoral research and MPhil citing legal alt145 positivealt39advice


HERE is a good news for candidates wishing to pursue PhD and MPhil courses through distance education.

> The University Grants Commission ( UGC) has lifted its two- yearold ban on the research degree courses through correspondence apparently following protests from universities.

Open universities such as IGNOU and several general universities had protested the ban citing their respective laws that permitted them to offer such courses.

Following the claims, the UGC sought legal opinion on whether it could override such powers conferred by the acts to the universities.

On receiving opinion in NO, the UGC convened a meeting recently and decided to lift the ban.

‘An open university may be permitted to conduct MPhil/ PhD programmes through distant education mode subject to condition that it does so strictly as per the provisions of the UGC Regulations,’said the minutes of the meeting.

Welcoming the UGC decision of lifting the two- year- old ban, IGNOU Vice Chancellor Rajasekharan Pillai told Free Press over phone: ‘We have no objection in complying with the UGC Regulations.

However, our regulations are stricter than those of the UGC.’UGC norms lay down several criteria, including course work, evaluation of thesis by experts outside the state and viva voce.

While the PhD guidelines of most central universities were similar to the UGC regulation, those of several open and state universities had a lot of deviations.

The UGC has put another condition for PhD— the principal guide should be from the open university.

The UGC had clamped the ban by notifying a rule — the Minimum Standards and Procedure for Awards of MPhil/ PhD Degree Regulation — in 2009 saying research courses in the distant mode were of poor quality.

‘The regulations had put a question mark on the future of nearly 10,000 students pursuing such courses across the country,’said Prof Jayant Sonwalkar, director of Directorate of Distance Education ( DAVV).

‘There should not be any blanket ban on MPhil or PhD in distance mode. If institutions meet the required quality parameters, they should be allowed to offer such courses,’he added.

However, he stated that some type of regulator should be there.

Some of the open universities do not have adequate infrastructure to help students carry out research for such PhD courses.

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