CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu leads the country in the number of research students (PhD and MPhil) in colleges, according to a survey conducted by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry for the academic year 2014-15.
The provisional report of the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2014-15 show that as many as 33,839 MPhil and PhD students were enrolled in 58 universities across the State. This is two times more than New Delhi (14,154) which stands second in the State-wise list recently released by the Ministry.
A gender-wise break up indicates that there are more number of female MPhil (10,173) students in Tamil Nadu compared to men (5,131).The AISHE survey is conducted every year by a task force appointed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development to collect data on various aspects of higher education which are used in making informed policy decisions and research for development of education sector.
During 2014-15, the survey was conducted at 38,056 affiliated and constituent colleges, teaching departments of 757 State and Central Universities across the country. The report recorded that almost half the MPhil students (47.27 per cent) and one in every 16 PhD candidates in India were from Tamil Nadu. However, rosy as the numbers look, not all academics are elated by them. According to former Anna University Vice Chancellor, E Balagurusamy, the focus should rather be on the quality rather than quantity. “Most of the PhD papers are downloaded from the internet and anyone who can afford to pay for a Ph.D can get it here as there was no control over academic quality,” he charged.
“Since the demand for a PhD has increased due to UGC norms for associate professors, more numbers of people take it up, but they lack educational quality and this was not going to help in societal development,” he added.
Several other states including Andhra Pradesh (2,967), Punjab (3,574) and Gujarat (4,665) with a student high enrolment ratio at the post graduate level have struggled to enrol more research candidates.
While Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have no research students, Andaman and Nicobar, Tripura and Nagaland have no MPhil students and only a handful of PhD candidates.