It may sound ironical but higher education department of Madhya Pradesh does not recognise the PhD degree awarded by Bhoj Open University, an institution created by the state assembly itself on the lines of Indira Gandhi National Open University.
The startling fact came to light during the convocation ceremony of Bhoj Open University held on Wednesday. A group of distraught students were desperately trying to have an audience with the higher education minister or someone who could help them out. They also had a memorandum ready but could not get hold of anyone whom they could hand it over.
Talking to HT, father of one of the affected scholars and retired professor RK Badal said, "My daughter had applied for the post of assistant professor in 2012. Despite a PhD degree, she got lower marks than the candidates, who only had MPhil degree. When we applied for revaluation through RTI, we were told that PhD degree awarded by Bhoj Open University is not recognised by the higher education department for evaluation of marks."
When Badal wrote a letter to MP Bhoj Open University to know whether the degree awarded by them was authentic, the university administration replied that the university provided a regular degree of PhD and it was not a degree of correspondence so no government could question the authenticity of the degree.
"We are fighting our battle for last one-and-half years for this but no one is listening to us," said Badal.
A PhD scholar from Bhopal on the condition of anonymity said, "I don’t know but the state government doesn’t seem to have competent persons who could tell them that in spite of Bhoj being an open university, MP Bhoj University provides regular degrees."
"This is a serious issue for us. If government doesn’t recognise our degree and we do not get any benefits of PhD, who would be responsible for our loss?" asked Mridula Chaurasia, a PhD scholar from the university.
"On August 25, higher education department released an order that no PhD and MPhil degree attained through correspondence/distance learning after July 11, 2009 would be recognised in the recruitment process. This order has also raised our concern," another PhD scholar said.
Registrar, Bhoj University, Dr B Bharti, however, said, "Like other universities of the state, the PhD degree of MP Bhoj (Open) University is authentic and its marks should be counted in a recruitment process. If students are facing problems, I would write to higher education department so that they correct their facts."