Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
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Get rid of M.Phil in India — Modi govt’s new education policy draft recommends

Panel that drafted NEP wants Master's degree to become more research-oriented, thereby cutting down on the need for an M.Phil.

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New Delhi: The draft National Education Policy (NEP) released last Friday has called for the M.Phil degree to be discontinued, a recommendation that is likely to affect thousands of researchers across the country.

The committee headed by eminent scientist K. Kasturirangan, which formulated the draft, wants to change the pattern of higher education by introducing a four-year Bachelor’s degree instead of a three-year programme. It wants the Master’s degree more research-oriented, thereby cutting down on the need for an M.Phil.

According to the suggestion of the panel, the requirement for a PhD should either now be a “Master’s degree or a four-year Bachelor’s degree with research”.

“The M.Phil programme shall be discontinued,” the policy draft says.

M.Phil is pursued after a Master’s, which is usually an M.A, M.Sc or an M.Com degree, and provides students with a two-year window to decide on whether they want to pursue a PhD or just drop out after the M.Phil.

Under the current system, a Master’s degree does not require students to do a dissertation or thesis but an M.Phil requires more research-oriented work and dissertation.

Also readDraft National Education Policy was not Hindi-chauvinist & Modi govt shouldn’t have caved in

Panel wants Master’s degree restructured

While suggesting to do away with M.Phil, the draft recommends alternatives in the form of having a different version of the Master’s programmes — “a two-year programme with the second year devoted entirely to research for those who have completed the three-year undergraduate programme”.

It further suggests that there may be an integrated five-year bachelor’s/Master’s programme. “For students completing a four-year bachelor’s programme with research, there could be a one-year Master’s programme,” it says.

The whole idea behind restructuring the higher education model, as per the draft, is to make education more “liberal”.

“A good number of students actually do not go for an M.Phil before enrolling for a PhD but it is very important to at least have that option because it gives more clarity to students on what to pursue as research for their PhD,” said an M.Phil scholar from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), explaining the relevance of a such a drastic step.

“Master’s in Indian universities does not offer a research-oriented curriculum, which is needed for one do a PhD.”

Brijesh Rana, a scholar in Delhi University, called the proposal to discontinue M.Phil a “drastic step”.

“If the Master’s programme in India is made more research-oriented, then there is no problem in removing the M.Phil option,” Rana said. “But if that does not happen, it is definitely a drastic step.”

The numbers of those pursuing an M.Phil is substantive. Institutions such as Delhi University, JNU and the Banaras Hindu University offer at least 20-40 M.Phil seats in each department every year, depending upon the faculty strength and availability of resources in each subject.

Delhi University this year, for example, has offered over 200 M.Phil seats in various subjects. JNU has offered over 300 M.Phil seats.

Also read: 50% jump in PhDs since 2011, govt wants study on how good many of them actually are


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  1. MPhil in Clinical Psychology ,CP, is mandated by the Rehabilitation Council of India and Mental Healthcare Act ,2017, while MPhil in Psychiatric Social Work ,PSW, mandated by Mental Healthcare Act , 2017.
    The psw training course is run by 21 institutions in India, mostly in the government sector. The RCI website could offer details of instutions offering the CP courses.
    On being clinically trained for 24 months , they form the basic mental health manpower for manning the mental health services apart from the psychiatrists, and psychiatric nursing personnel. They get employed in health and the NGO sectors.
    Both these courses are predominantly clinical(hospital based) training located at mental institute /hospital, and are not like research degrees that are offered at University level, even though the degree suggests MPhil .
    Research forms one fifth of the whole curriculum of two years while the rest is all clinical competence based training.
    Yes the new NEP , 2020 , requires new modalities or nomenclature to be thought for the training of Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatric Social Workers.
    I am quite sure Govt will provide the much needed direction for the issue.

    Dr Sonia Pereira Deuri
    Prof and Head , DPSW, LGBRIMH,tezpur Assam
    Dean, Faculty of Medicine &Allied Health Sciences, Gauhati University
    Phone 9435080843

  2. If master’s degree is more research oriented, fees will increase resulting disabling the poor to do further studies. And just so you know, research require laptop or computer, wifi or internet pack, books and articles, data collection requires one to travel from one place to another, you need to print out about 50 copies questionaire which will cost a lot and then you’ll spent lot of money in binding your dissertation

  3. What about scholars who completed their MPhil research degree? Will they get the same value while applying for a job?? Does the qualification go in absolute vain??

  4. For the ones saying MPhil is international, first of all no, it’s mostly an Indian concepts. Abroad education isn’t about theories but practicality. They directly enrol for PhD. Education in India severely needs a reform. Students are coming out with degrees, no knowledge or skill set, are either unemployed or underemployed. Nowhere in the world do you need so many degrees and yet not be able to turn that into employability. This is a serious concern. Education, like the NEP suggests need to become liberal. It should be available to all strata and parts of the country. I also strongly suggest that MPhil be scrapped especially for Psychology. Seats are 5, where other 5 are reserved and 5lk all over India who apply. Marks don’t define your intelligence or aptitude in any way and yet getting through a handful of colleges is based solely on that. Distance/part time education too should be propagated so that the scarcity of professionals in the field decreases.. Regular or distant course, both should fetch RCI registration. Both have put equal hardwork, in fact those who don’t go through the regular mode are managing jobs, families and other responsibilities too. Education shouldn’t be about degrees but employment. By the time you start your career, you’re already 28-30. This is only in the case of India! So kudos to the government, hoping the plan comes into force ASAP. This is a much needed move.

  5. Whoever wrote this specific piece, please specify the particular page number in the revised draft. I am searching with keywords for the last 30 minutes, but wasn’t able to find anything as stated. Either I am missing something, or your piece is not factual.

  6. Students of master degree of Master Degrees are just 21-22 years old kids. What they will understand about Research, Journal, Survey, Experiments, Interviews, Printings and Teaching Methodologies, etc. They are busy with CBCS semesters exams. Let them be busy study theories and semester exams. MPhil is for people who are interested in Research and Doctorate, who are aged and having aptitude or qualified NET JRF. Furthermore MPHIL is an international degree. It is not an easy course. Many students have pursued and are working days and nights to earn MPhi degree.

  7. Four years of undergraduation, with a research component opening directly to the entry to PhD! I think I am dreaming on Mars. Any plan to recruit new teachers in UG colleges with potential to guide research? Or all this is on paper?

    • I think MPhil in psychiatric social work and clinical psychology are waste of degrees and using central funds. Institute like NIMHANS Bangalore, CIP ranchi, Lgbrimh Tezpur, Gmch 32 Chandigarh, Institute of psychiatry Kolkata, and many more in area of mental health should scrap MPhil in psychiatric social work and clinical psychology and it will also cut down on central funds being given to these institutions. Master degrees should be made more research oriented and any one interested in research can directly compete for PhD.

  8. A good idea. But, please justify the fact, how wud u grace those who have already done M.Phil, having spent 2 to 3 years. Will they be given an extra advantage or special marks or non – extinct designated profile. Please ponder over this. We struggle to do M.Phil even now. And, those who do direct P.HD get jobs in less time, than us…Is not this unfair.

  9. Every degree obtained by using valuable time energy and money .10 yrs ago MPhil degree as same value as PhD in CSC.When In CSC MPhil is less value than automatically MPhil lost its values to the students because maximum students are results oriented particular job oriented and money oriented.In this point of MPhil is lost his significant to the pupils.

  10. Yes, policy is good. But, What about those scholars, who spending there time and effort to get this degree? ???

  11. What about scholars who have devoted their valuable time,energy and effort in getting the degree?

  12. Good idea. What’s needed more is quality teachers from High school level. Reports say most engineering.stidents are either drop outs / failures or most of those who passed are unemployable. The reason behind is the teachers involvement / knowledge and lack of passion. (there may be few exceptions but this is the majority). There should be a very strict performance appraisal method for teachers / professors and their pay scale must be exponentially hiked based on their performance on results.

  13. How to make every master degree research-oriented? Such degree has 2 or more than 2 years duration.Extra hours for university/ PG college staff.Fees will be higher than normal.Change into new system will take 2 to 3 years.
    Chairman is ex-space scientist.Ideas are bright but implementations need good thrust to move forward.

  14. A useful policy. The masters degree should be research oriented. This is followed in other countries. If this is done, it makes doing a PHD a lot easier. I have worked with such students and have seen how they have improved while pursuing their doctoral degree.

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