Saturday, December 27, 2014

Distance and Open University PhD is not at par with the regular PhD- Kolkata High Court Judgment

I got this shocking news today in my inbox. I am sure, the judges also need lot of training before delivering any judgment. I believe' a judge's judgment should not be based on what he likes or dislikes, rather it should be on the basis of material fact. Thats why even the honourable supreme court declared homosexuality under section 377 of Indian Penal code as an offence. The Supreme Court, said that it is giving judgment on the basis of the Act, if they are not satisfied, then they should ask the government to amend the IPC.

Similarly, in the case of education how a high court can be so irresponsible while giving judgment and what kind of full time education the court is asking about?

Let me tell you, most of the colleges do not have competent teacher to impart practical knowledge. Further, even in those colleges, 100% students do not attend the lectures. If the judge has time, they should come and see that how completing degree in distance mode is 10 times tough than a regular college of the same university. (In colleges, college divide the subject chapters as half and then teach only those portion), further, in distance mode, one has to study the whole subject, entire book and appear in the exam. Then, is not distance learning tougher than the regular one?

Let me give one another example, One of the girl working in a leading MNC applied to M.Sc. Chemistry in BNN College, an affiliate college under University of Mumbai, she never went to college but finally she has the degree. Does high court want to treat this as a "full time" degree? If she would have pursued the similar programme from IGNOU or similar institutes, she would had to complete assignments which is rigorous, and it was compulsory for her to attend minimum days prescribed for practical.

What the hell then is Kolkata high court talking? Have they studied education system well before giving such judgment?

As far as PhD concerns, none of the so called full time PhD could get any patent or noble award from India in all these years and the teachers are buying such PhD from the open market. Many thesis are just copy paste and even those doctors are not aware about its content. Then how a full time degrees get supremacy? I agree, in the name of distance education, a big degree selling rackets are happening everywhere across the country and private universities are pioneer in this but this does not mean that a high court should give such a judgment which affects million of people who cannot afford a full time education. If the high court is really worried about the quality then why it did not ask to stop all distance education programme?

Here is the judgment copy.

Distance learning no substitute for regular degree

KOLKATA: A Ph.D. degree from an Open University or by a distance learning mode can't be treated on a par with a regular university. The ruling comes from the Calcutta high court. 

A Calcutta high court division bench comprising of Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice Tapash Mookherjee held on Wednesday that a Ph.D degree obtained from an Open University "cannot be treated at par with the Ph.D degree granted by a conventional recognized university." 

In fact the judgment elaborated, "As such we have no hesitation to hold that be it a gradation degree, a Master degree, Ph. D degree or M.Phil Degree which is granted by an Open University either through Distance Mode of Education Programme or through any Informal Education Programme cannot be equated with the gradation degree, Master degree, Ph.D degree or M.Phil degree granted to a candidate by formal conventional recognized universities after conducting a conventional course on regular basis." 

The 16-page judgment came after two senior academics Abdul Motin and Manishankar Maity were locked on a protracted legal battle on who is eligible for the post of a college principal. Shortlisted in the three-member panel, Motin was the second choice; Maity was third. The first choice candidate had opted out. Now Motin has a Ph.D from the Netaji Subhas Open University; Maity had one from Calcutta University. Maity moved court saying he should get the principal's job for Motin's Ph.D isn't at par with his. 

On January 20, 2014, a single bench of the high court held that the Ph.D degree awarded after regular reasearch work at a conventional recognized university, can't be equated with that obtained from an Open University. 

In September 18, 2013, in another judgment a HC division bench of chief justice Arun Mishra justice Joymalya Bagchi had also broached the issue. "We have to come to an age when even degree of law is granted via distance education. Bearing in mind the method of obtaining such degree, such degrees are not recognised for practising as an advocate, as that would be compromising with quality of Bar. Such degrees by way of Distance Educational Programmes may be obtained for the purpose of acquiring knowledge but not for entering legal profession. On similar footing, appointment as lecturer is altogether different from the concept of recognition of a degree for acquiring knowledge through Distance Education Programme. When College Service Commission has decided not to appoint anyone who is holding Ph.D. degree from distance education the same cannot be said to be arbitrary as it is in consonance with UGC Regulations," the bench held. 

December 27, 2014

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