Sunday, September 8, 2013

Despite scholarships, students denied PhD admissions By Nikhila Henry

HYDERABAD: Despite having reputed national research fellowships under their belt, students are finding it difficult to get a PhD seat in the city even as a University Grants Commission (UGC) rule allows varsities to create supernumerary seats for such candidates.

Fellowships are offered under Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF), Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) for minority students. Last week, a PhD aspirant of University of Hyderabadattempted suicide as he was denied a seat despite securing RGNF, a merit-oriented research assistant fellowship given by the UGC.

Most universities in the city either reject at least 10 to 15 candidates who are eligible for national scholarships or keep them on the waiting list. Worse, many of these candidates are denied seats in the successive years as well. The reasons given for the rejection are poor performance in the entrance test or interview where the UGC norms prescribe an additional 60 marks for candidates who clear JRF. Some varsities reject candidates for lack of guides even as each faculty member can take up to eight PhD scholars per year.

Students who were rejected by interview boards allege that PhD admissions sometimes become a platform to settle old scores. "I had a JRF and had secured high marks in the written examination. But after the interview, I was pushed to the waiting list. This happened the next year too," said a PhD aspirant, who had applied for a seat in an arts department at University of Hyderabad (UoH).

In another case, a student who secured RGNF scholarship, was rejected thrice before getting admission in a department in the English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu), which has mostly been following the UGC guidelines regarding admissions to students with fellowships.

Those who have faced rejection said it's difficult to fight the university's decision without enough clout. "Some of the students who figured in the waiting list secured PhD seats when the second list came out this year. This was because of the political clout they enjoyed on campus," said a PhD aspirant who applied for admission at the Osmania University. OU has the highest number of PhD aspirants when compared to other city universities.

When asked about this trend, UGC officials said that students who have such complaints should write to them. "Students should be given admissions if guides are willing to take them. In case of complaints, the students can write to the UGC," said Kuldeep Singh, officer-in-charge of National Eligibility Test (NET) of UGC, New Delhi.

Source : The Times of India English News Paper Dated : 08/09/2013 

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