Published: 20th August 2021
How Kerala Youth Commission's Chintha Jerome getting a PhD degree sparked off a controversy in Kerala
A former UGC fellow, Chintha was awarded a PhD degree in English Literature by the University of Kerala on August 17
Controversies are not alien to Chintha Jerome. The Chairperson of the Kerala State Youth Commission recently made headlines, after she was awarded a PhD degree in English Literature by the University of Kerala. This was on August 17.
During the course of their PhD, all researchers who have qualified as Junior Research Fellows (JRF) are entitled to a stipend. People were quick to point out that since Chintha held the KSY Chairpersonship since 2016, for which she was eligible for a salary, that it was unfair for her to receive her fellowship amount and her salary simultaneously.
This is also because, prior to becoming a Junior Research Fellow with the UGC, one has to submit an affidavit stating that they do not receive any salary or endowment during the tenure of their fellowship. Also, the UGC does not provide fellowships to part-time researchers. This was pointed out by a Facebook user called Younus Khan and his post has since gone viral. "You must either prove that you did not receive your salary or accept that you received this PhD degree, using your political influence," he wrote.
But turns out, these allegations are wrong. It turns out that Chintha began her research in 2011 while she only qualified as a JRF in 2014. However, after being appointed by the KSY in October 2016, she wrote a letter to the university, seeking the relinquishment of her JRF. This was accepted by the university's syndicate in April 2017. EdexLive has accessed both documents. The documents clearly state that the fellowship stipend was paid to her only until May 2016.
Chintha appears unfazed by all the trolling online. While she expressed her happiness and gratitude to many, she especially thanked EP Jayarajan, the former Kerala Minister of Youth Affairs. "The day I took charge, Comrade told me that I must not let this affect my research, even though I had started pursuing it part-time. I kept my word and submitted my thesis during his tenure as minister. I was awarded a PhD degree a year later," Chintha wrote on Facebook.