Published: 29th July 2020
Discontinuation of MPhil will affect the quality of research, say academics and researchers
According to the new National Education Policy, students who want to pursue research can do so directly after completing their master's degree
It was in December 2018, when N Sai Balaji received a certain email from the JNU Chief Proctor. The former JNUSU President was told that his MPhil evaluation was blocked since there was a pending inquiry against him, for raising slogans and for participating in a protest. Two years have passed and Balaji tells us that his MPhil is still blocked.
We spoke to him on July 29, the day the union cabinet approved the National Education Policy 2020. One of the major reforms introduced in it was the discontinuation of MPhil programmes. Instead, students who are interested in research will have to either a pursue Master’s degree or a four-year Bachelor's-Master's integrated programme. However, this is not a decision that Balaji agrees to. He says, "I don't think they've applied their minds here. It is going to affect the quality of research real bad," he says.
"One must have a lot of understanding to go to research and BA and MA only give you a basic understanding here. MPhil is a stepping stone to PhD," he says. "PhD requires a lot of understanding of a subject. Maybe the students can get an option to decide if they want to go ahead with MPhil," he adds. Balaji's MPhil thesis was on MPhil thesis in 'Negotiation linkages between climate change and agriculture: Role of State and non-state actors in 2018'. He is currently researching on the linkage between agriculture, climate change and politics behind it.
Dr Sameena Siddeeque, an academic from the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala also opines the same. "MPhil gives you a basic understanding of the subject in which you want to research. My MPhil degree did give me a lot of insight into the subject on which I later did my PhD," she says. Sameena adds that some of her students who are yet to pursue their MPhil have gotten JRF fellowships. "But I don't know if they'll be able to pursue research well. That one year that students spend to do their MPhil is really worth it," she adds.