In JNU, separate test for MPhil, PhD catches students by surprise

The declaration was made in admit cards provided to students for the entrance exams, scheduled from December 23-27.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: December 13, 2017 2:06:50 am
JNU, JNU exams, JNU PhD exam, JNU MPhil exam, PhD MPhil separate papers, JNU students, jawaharlal nehru university, Indian express news Jawaharlal Nehru University (File photo)

Students who had applied for the integrated MPhil/PhD programme at the JNU on Tuesday discovered that the administration has decided to scrap the integrated course, and is considering their admission to the MPhil programme only. The declaration was made in admit cards provided to students for the entrance exams, scheduled from December 23-27.

Until now, JNU had an integrated MPhil/PhD programme, which meant students were only expected to sit for an entrance exam at the MPhil stage. Once their MPhil was over, they would continue to be considered as students, avail hostel facilities and be given provisional admission to PhD. They would automatically get promoted to PhD if they secured a certain CGPA score.

However, with MPhil now being made a ‘terminal degree programme’, students will again have to sit for an entrance examination for admission to the PhD programme.

The admit cards released on Tuesday read: “The candidates who have applied for MPhil/PhD programme for the academic year in 2018-19 will be considered for MPhil programme only. The MPhil programme will be a terminal degree programme as per the decision taken in the 144th Academic Council meeting held on December 1.”

The JNU Teachers’ Association said it was a “patently illegal declaration” and that admissions would have to be re-held if the decision was not rolled back.

“The Academic Council did not actually take any such decision… It should also be noted that there was no discussion or even unilateral announcement with regard to delinking the MPhil and PhD programmes for the ongoing admissions,” claimed JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai.

“The admission offers to different MPhil/PhD programmes and Direct PhD were announced in the prospectus, and the intake for each of them were arrived at on the basis of these being components of an integrated programme. The syllabi for entrance examinations were announced on the same basis. Candidates were also required to apply and meet eligibility requirements accordingly. How can these suddenly be changed at almost the last moment, when candidates are not in a position to revise their original decisions?” she said.

JNU Students’ Union president Geeta Kumari said the decision was “arbitrary” and the union would take up the matter.

Rector I Chintamani Mahapatra, however, said, “The decision was passed in the AC. We decided to take this step so that competition can be opened up to non-JNU students at the PhD stage. There has been enough advance notice given to students who applied for the programme.”

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