Allowing UG students direct entry into PhD through NET will improve research output: UGC chairman

Public TV English
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NEW DELHI: Permitting undergraduate students into PhD programs through the National Eligibility Test (NET) will strengthen the research ecosystem in India and “open up” many opportunities for students at a “very young age” in research, said UGC Chairman Jagadesh Kumar on Monday.

Jagadesh Kumar emphasised that there are “a lot of opportunities” to admit a significant number of PhD students, suggesting that the current capacity is sufficient to accommodate undergraduates seeking doctoral seats.

UGC recently announced that students with 4-year undergraduate degrees can now directly appear for the National Eligibility Test (NET) and pursue PhD.

For pursuing PhD with or without a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), students with 4-year undergraduate degrees need a minimum of 75 per cent aggregate marks or an equivalent grade.

Currently, a NET candidate requires a master’s degree with a minimum of 55 per cent marks.

Speaking to ANI on the development: the UGC chairman said: “One of the objectives of NEP is to strengthen the research ecosystem in our universities. When we permit undergraduate students into PhD programs, you will have a lot of young people getting into research at a very young age, and they are really creative.”

“We believe that permitting undergraduate students to get into a PhD will open up many opportunities for them to carry out cutting-edge research and increase the quality of research output in our country, keeping that in mind,” the chairman told ANI.

Jagadesh Kumar also asserted that it is necessary to see if the student has the aptitude for doing a PhD.

“Currently, the assistant professor can take 4 PhD students, the associate professor can take six PhD students and the professor can take 10 PhD students, so we already have a lot of opportunities for admitting a large number of PhD students,” he said.

“We also need to see whether the student has the aptitude for doing a PhD. PhD is not like an undergrad or a master’s degree program. That’s the reason why we are saying that the student has to clear the UGC NET, but they also have to attend an interview at the university where their research aptitude and readiness for doing research will be examined,” he added.

The NET is conducted twice a year, in June and December. Its scores are currently used to award a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and to determine eligibility for an appointment as an assistant professor for those with a Master’s degree.

On Indian universities’ performance in QS university rankings, the UGC chairman said that efforts put into research during the last five or six years are bearing fruit now.

“You see, during the last five or six years, there have been increased efforts to improve the research ecosystem in our universities across the country. And we are seeing the result of that. We undoubtedly have world-class institutions,” he added.

India will continue to grow to be one of the top countries in the world in terms of the quality of its research output, he underscored.

The latest QS World University Rankings by Subject were published on April 10th, starting with the Indian higher education system.

As per the information shared by the President of QS University Rankings, Nunzio Quacquarelli, Indian universities have seen the highest performance improvement among all G20 nations.

This is a significant 14 per cent year-on-year improvement in their average ranking.

Across Asia, India now holds the second-highest number of featured universities in the QS Subject Rankings, he added. China has grabbed the first spot. (ANI)

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