New Delhi: In accordance with the National Education Policy-2020, the Delhi University has issued a statement stating that M.Phil will be discontinued starting with the next academic session.
The policy will be implemented by the university in 2022-23.However, several teachers have criticised the decision to stop the degree, claiming that it will be disadantageous for students who are not financially secure, as well as women.
There won’t be any new admissions to M.Phil programmes while students who are already enrolled will continue to study the course, according to a university official.
Former Executive Council member Abha Dev Habib said, “NEP-2020 is all about widening the gap between the haves and have nots. Either commit to doing a Ph.D or remain without a research degree. The NEP, which is floating on advertisement of ‘choice’, is taking away real choices which students had. Students with disadvantageous backgrounds looked up to M.Phil as a research degree they could afford before going towards teaching jobs.”
“This degree (M.Phil) is being discontinued not because of any organic need of the system but because of NEP-2020,” she said.
Habib said as opposed to Ph.D, M.Phil is a short-term research degree for students, which provides them an exposure to research work and adds to their curriculum vitae.
Social scientists believe that students with M.Phil did better in their Ph.Ds, she said.
JNU professor Ayesha Kidwai, in a Facebook post, said there is a gender dimension to the M.Phil abolition as well.
She said that since 2012-2013 M.Phil, enrolment has consistently had a majority of women, currently verging on about 60 per cent.
“This is also the one degree that the NEP-2020 recommends must be eliminated from the education system, with immediate effect, without any pretence even at consultation with stakeholders,” Kidwai said.
“M.Phil. is often the only research degree that women (as well as other disadvantaged sections) can pursue… Ph.D degrees require an investment of time and a loss of earnings that patriarchal society lets only a few afford – and the need for its immediate abolition is difficult to fathom,” she said.
Questioning the rationale behind the discontinuation of M.Phil, she said the announcement signals how women’s participation in formulating and studying research questions and in the labour force of the education sector is of little significance to educational policy-makers.
Academic Council member Mithuraaj Dhusiya said that the M.Phil course, over several generations, has played an important role in the Delhi University and other Indian universities in developing research aptitude through robust course work and introduction to higher research.
“M.Phil research degree has been a degree by itself separate from and at the same time above Master’s degree. It is extremely unfortunate that the NEP-2020 discontinues M.Phil,” he added.