New UGC rules will ensure more of our brightest students can get into PhD programmes at an early age

Source– The post is based on the article “New UGC rules will ensure more of our brightest students can get into PhD programmes at an early age” published in The Indian Express on 18th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS2- Issue related to development and management of education

Relevance: Higher education

News-  The article explains the new UGC rules for PhD programmes.

What are the new regulations of UGC related to PhD?

As per NEP 2020, the four-year undergraduate programme offers an honours degree, with the last year dedicated to research or an honours degree with a primary focus on coursework. The new regulations will permit students from both categories to join PhD degree programmes offered by higher educational institutions

Anyone who has completed a four-year bachelor’s degree programme in any discipline with a minimum of 75 per cent marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade is eligible for a PhD programme. UGC prescribes only the minimum qualifications for admission to a PhD programme. Universities can raise the bar to ensure that only the deserving are admitted to PhD programmes.

What is the rationale behind this move of UGC?

It is not true that PhDs who have bypassed the PG degree will have inadequate knowledge of the core discipline, which will lead to degrading teaching or research standards. There are many such examples from top institutes such as IITs, Purdue, and MIT.

Our admission processes are by elimination rather than selection due to intense competition. It generates a huge pool of highly talented students who could not get into top HEIs as part of the university system. Once we provide the opportunity for these students to move into a PhD programme after their UG degree, they will have the chance to be outstanding teachers or researchers.

There is an erroneous belief that UGC has done this to produce more PhDs. The goal of UGC in permitting students after a UG degree into PhD programmes is not numbers but quality.

The four-year bachelor’s degree programme introduced in our university system is designed to equip the students with complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creative thinking and communication skills. This training will lead to rigorous specialisation in a chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary major and minor subject area.

A research study on the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physiology, or medicine between 1901 and 2003 indicates that the majority of the winners who discovered their prize-winning results were aged between 31 and 40. Our creativity declines with ageing in most of us.

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