The University of Mumbai has decided to allow PhD guides to test candidates, who had registered for the research degree without taking the PhD Entrance Test (PET).
Close to 600 students, including three politicians enrolled for the PhD, in the interim period when the University Grants Commission (UGC) made the PET mandatory, but the University of Mumbai was yet to frame its guidelines.
These students were in limbo until the academic council took a decision on Friday evening.
In June 2009, the UGC drew up norms that students wanting to enroll for a PhD would have to take an entrance test and undergo a six-month course on research methodology.
The move was aimed at enhancing the quality of PhD research in India. But the University of Mumbai finalised the selection process only in November 2010.
In the intervening period, it registered close to 600 PhD fellows on the basis of the old guidelines without an entrance test. The varsity held the first PET for 2006 candidates in February end.
“The academic council has decided that the respective guides will test the enrolled candidates and also conduct the course on research methodology. This is a special decision,” said Rajpal Hande, director, Board of College and University Development.
But the UGC said that this special decision is not part of their norms. “I have not read the university’s decision but our norms warrant that the university conducts an entrance exam, followed by face-to-face interviews and course work for one or two semesters,” said Ved Prakash, acting chairperson, UGC.
The list of registered candidates has some prominent names: Rajesh Tope, higher and technical education minister who has registered under the university’s commerce head Vivek Deolankar for his research in management, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad who had registered in July 2009 for a history doctorate and Shiv Sena’s Anil Parab, who enrolled in December 2009.
“I am busy with the Assembly session and other work related to my ministry. I will attempt the test later when I have time,” said Tope. He added that the academic council is responsible for making all university related decisions in the best interest of students.
“They might have decided some means to retain the quality of the test,” added Tope.
Other candidates who have registered in the interim are relived.
“I still need an official notification from the university. Most of us have completed more than half of our work,” said Deepanshu Pusalkar.