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Tapping talents for quality research in India

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The mandatory requirement of getting research papers published in peer-reviewed journals before submitting a doctoral (PhD) thesis has been removed by the UGC.

The University Grants Commission's decision to remove the hitherto mandatory requirement of getting research papers published in peer-reviewed journals before submitting a doctoral (PhD) thesis is a commendable step in the right direction. Those who are in the know of the actual process of writing and submitting doctoral theses in our universities would agree that our doctoral theses -- in the humanities, in particular -- seldom compete with their counterparts in the world's leading universities.

The UGC's above-mentioned mandatory requirement had resulted in a very unhealthy practice. There are too many fake, so-called peer-reviewed journals across the country. In order to meet the UGC's mandatory requirement, some research scholars would turn to them to get some low-effort papers published and the latter would oblige them for considerations other than academic. In the whole process, the quality of our doctoral programmes had hugely been suffering.

Tapping talents for quality research in India

The removal of the said UGC requirement alone would, however, be hardly sufficient to produce quality doctoral research in the country. India today needs serious researcher scholars to pursue doctoral programmes in our universities. Presently, even those who have pursuits other than research and academics get themselves registered as doctoral scholars. We need high quality teachers in our universities to guide students. Like it or not, there are few such teachers even in some of our most prestigious universities today.

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The UGC would do well to create a really conducive atmosphere for quality research. For this, it must see to it that we have a selection process that generates quality researchers as well as highly competent doctoral guides. Fortunately, there has never been any dearth of talents in our country. All that is needed is the will on the part of our concerned regulatory bodies to tap the talents and take the nation forward in the field of research.

(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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