India may phase out M.Phil degree from academic institutions and allow students to pursue doctorate after a four-year graduation course.
“The M.Phil programme shall be discontinued,” says the final draft of the new education policy prepared by the human resource development (HRD) ministry.
“Undertaking a Ph.D. shall require either a Master’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree with research,” the draft said. Mint has seen a copy of the final draft, which will soon go the cabinet for approval.
This as the M.Phil, an advanced master’s degree is gradually losing popularity and government seeks to introduce research component in graduation and restructure some of the higher education courses. The final draft as prepared by the HRD ministry underlines that the policy, which comes after a gap of almost 30 years, underlines that the structure and length of degrees in colleges and universities may be adjusted.
The undergraduate degree will be of either three or four-year duration. Higher Educational Institutions may offer multiple exit options within this period, with appropriate certiﬁcations. For example: an advanced diploma in a discipline or ﬁeld including in vocational and professional areas after completion of two years of study and a diploma after completion of one year, the final draft explains.
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“The 4-year programme will provide students the opportunity to experience the full range of liberal arts education. This will be called the Bachelor of Liberal Arts (BLA) or Bachelor of Liberal Education (BLE) in the chosen major and minors. Both programmes may lead to a degree ‘with Research’, if the student completes a rigorous research project as speciﬁed by the institution. The 3-year programme will lead to a Bachelor’s degree. HEIs may choose to call their 3-year undergraduate degree a Bachelor of Arts, or Science, or Vocation, or the appropriate professional ﬁeld,” the final draft says.
“There are two components so far as M.Phil and P.hD degrees are concerned—one, M.Phil will most likely go, and second, a research component will be introduced in the fourth year of the graduation and that will make a student eligible to pursue research. While PhD after graduation is not allowed in universities, IITs has a provision to enroll students in PhD after their four year Bachelor in technology (B.Tech) courses,” said a government official who declined to be named.
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The official said in last few years, M.Phil as a course is observing declining enrolment indicating that it may be losing popularity. According to official data, in 2016-17, while 43,267 students took admission in M.Phil courses, the number declined to 34,109 in 2017-18. In 2018-19, 30,692 students including 19,069 female students enrolled for the M.Phil courses across the country. Among states Tamil Nadu has the maximum M.Phil enrollment (12425), followed by Delhi (5086) and Maharashtra (2172). The two states and one union territory effectively contribute to two third of the total enrolment as per official data.
India is working to bringing in a new national education policy for the past five years. A final report by the K. Kasturirangan Committee on the new education policy was made public on 31 May. The ministry and its committees have had more than 115,000 meetings and, since June, have received more than 200,000 public suggestions.
The HRD ministry has been working on the Kasturirangan Committee report since June 2019 to prepare the final policy draft, which will go to the Union cabinet for approval. Thereafter it will be notified.
The Indian education system is one of the largest in the world with nearly 300 million students pursuing education at over 1.4 million schools and over 49,000 colleges, besides 900-plus universities. India spends less than 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on education, against the decade-old demand for 6% of GDP by academics and experts.
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