CHENNAI: Enrolment of total number of MPhil students in the State dropped significantly in 2017-18 and is expected to come down even further in 2018-19, as more universities have recently started adopting University Grants Commission Regulations 2016.
The regulations restrict the maximum number of students a faculty can guide. However, the quality of research and researchers will improve significantly, say, educationalists.
There was a reduction of nearly 3,500 MPhil candidates from 2016-17 to 2017-18 in State. With more universities adopting the regulations, the figure may even halve in 2018-19, said P Duraisamy, V-C of University of Madras. “So far, every MPhil guide, was in charge of about eight students,” he said.
According to the 2016 regulations, a research supervisor or co-supervisor who is a Professor, at any given point of time, cannot guide more than three M.Phil and 8 Ph.D scholars. An associate professor as research supervisor can guide up to a maximum of two M.Phil and six Ph.D scholars and an assistant professor as research supervisor can guide up to a maximum of one M.Phil and 4 Ph.D scholars.
The number of M. Phil students in Tamil Nadu rose from 12,832 in 2011-12 to 20,661 in 2016-17 and dropped to 17,179 in 2017-18, after the regulations was passed.
The low enrolment of M.Phil students in Tamil Nadu is likely to reduce the total figure at the national level. This is because the State contributes to nearly half of the enrolments.
Though Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers Association, opposed the regulations stating that it would affect the welfare of first generation graduates, many universities adopted the regulations in the recent past.
“The status of M.Phil courses have become pathetic in the recent past. After NET and SET became mandatory for teaching, MPhil became less attractive for students to pursue. When finding the right faculty becomes difficult, even lesser students will opt for it,” said R Dhamodharan, TNGCTA general secretary. He, however, said he recognised the benefit of the regulations in the long-run, he said.
The norms were designed to improve the amount of time, a guide spent on a student’s research and to prevent guides taking undue credit for students’ work. “Sought after professors often end up guiding a large number of students. But, the regulations will prevent this from happening, said M Anandakrishnan, a former V-C of Anna University.
He said that the impact of regulations may take time before it reflects on the strength of Ph.D students as the tenure is longer. According to the regulations, any regular professor with at least five research publications in refereed journals and any regular associate assistant professor with a Ph.D degree and at least two research publications in reputed journals may be recognised as research supervisor. “These stringent regulations may cause shortage of guides briefly, but will soon improve the quality of research,” he said.