‘Research factories’ a booming
Chandigarh, April 9
Last year the University Grants Commission (UGC) banned MPhil and PhDs through the distance education mode, but these centres have obviously defeated the purpose of the ban. The UGC has a detailed list of dos and don’ts for the study centres and off-campus centres of private universities, but it has no mechanism to check the misuse of the information and admission centres of universities.
“We have not allowed any private university to have an off-campus centre. But these are information centres or examination centres and we have no jurisdiction over them. It is for the student to be careful of what is offered by them and cross-check it with the universities concerned.” said a joint secretary of the UGC.
The confidence with which these centres operate leave no doubt that they have the active support of at least some officials of the universities they represent. The Tribune team called up Manav Bharti University in Solan about the availability of a readymade thesis. We were asked to leave our number with them. Shockingly a few hours later a centre from Panchkula called us. “You had called a university in Solan. We are their authorised centre here and we can provide you with a readymade thesis,” was their offer.
When contacted Dr SP Bhardwaj, Director of the university, however, denied any such thing happening in the centres. “PhD research has to be done properly. We do not allow shortcuts. The centres have to follow our instructions,” he said.
The Singhania University in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, has about 50 centres in Punjab and Haryana, with towns like Patiala, Sangrur, Bathinda, Sirsa and Karnal having more than one centre. Majority of these centres were offering readymade theses.
Chancellor of the university D.C. Singhania, however, claimed to know nothing about the extra offers being made by his centres. “We have a foolproof system wherein its research committee evaluates the submitted theses,” he said. He, however, admitted that his university was not approved by the UGC. “We are no less than UGC as our university has been created by an Act of the Rajasthan assembly,” he added.
The disease, it seems is spreading. For students enrolled in government-aided state universities, the allurement of readymade research for a price is difficult to resist.
“Despite the day-to-day interface between the student and the guide, students make efforts to hoodwink the guides. Just to show how easy it was to procure an already submitted thesis, my student bought one for Rs 250 from a theses binder here,” said a professor in the department of Hindi, Punjabi University, Patiala.
Last year, Raman Kumar (name changed), a student in the department of history, Panjab University, Chandigarh, submitted a MPhil dissertation on “Empowerment of women in Haryana: 1947 to 2001” which was found to be copied from a PhD thesis submitted in 2005 on “Empowerment of women in the states of Haryana and Manipur. A copy of this thesis was reportedly missing from the department’s library. The student was enrolled with Dr Devi Sirohi a professor in the department, who later informed the department that she had discovered that the dissertation was plagiarised.
Head of the department Dr M Rajivlochan said, “Easy availability of readymade research has put an additional burden on the supervisor guiding the research to keep a sustained check to ensure that their protégé does not do fraudulent research.” (To be continued)