While the PhD entrance test (PET) is in three weeks, about 70 students who have registered for the course between July 2009 and November 2010 are still clueless if they should take the test and if their research work is valid.
In 2009, the UGC had issued a notification that all candidates need to pass an entrance test to be eligible to enroll for a PhD. The University of Mumbai, however, took more than a year to pass the notification (November 18, 2010) instituting the PET.
Meanwhile, about 70 students registered under the old regulations without taking the PET and are now worried about their future. Minister of higher and technical education, Rajesh Tope, is one of the students who enrolled for a PhD last August.
According to the new guidelines, registered candidates will also have to do a compulsory six-month research methodology course as a PhD preparation course.
“When we enrolled we were not told that we had to take any eligibility test. I have already published five research papers. Now it is not even clear if we should take the test and start all over again or we are exempt from the test,” said Deeptaunshu Pusalkar who registered for a PhD in August 2009.
“The university is not giving us any direction. They say they want to encourage PhDs but those who have invested so much time in doing it are left in the lurch.”
Vilas Shinde, controller of examinations, said the matter would be decided in the next academic council meeting.
The previous academic council was dissolved last September and the new one is still to be formed. Till then the fate of these students hangs in the balance. “I have already finished 45% of my research work. Am I supposed to start all over again?” asked a student who is doing a PhD in botany.
Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena and students will meet vice chancellor Rajan Welukar on February 7 to discuss the issue.
The confusion has actually made some candidates drop the idea of doing a PhD.
“I work at a multinational bank and had registered to do a PhD in finance. But this new regulation of a doing the research methodology course is not possible. So I may drop out from doing research,” said a candidate who registered last August.
University faculty members feel that the process will dissuade people from taking up any research.
“It will basically take eight months before a candidate can actually start working on a PhD,” said a faculty member.