Gujarat PhD Hopefuls Saddled with State Bureaucracy Electives
Students enrolling for a PhD in Gujarat’s universities might as well be researchers on the ground for the state bureaucracy. In a first, the state government has dictated a list of 82 topics for doctoral theses which include various welfare schemes and programmes of the state and central governments.
The government has directed that each university should ensure that doctoral students opt for at least five subjects from this list. These include Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, and Gujarat’s model schemes like Kanya Kelavani, Gunotsav and MA Yojana. Among the topics imposed on the students are: ‘Comparative study of Sardar Patel Awas Yojna and Indira Awas Yojana’; ‘Education of minorities — A critical study’; ‘Gujarat: Good governance for growth, scientific management and development — A critical study of existing pattern and future course —A policy suggestions (sic)’; ‘Mutual cooperation among states’ action plans and comparative analysis of strategies for development — A Gujarat Model’; and ‘Comprehensive analysis of growth of water in seven reservoirs of Saurashtra through SAUNI Yojana’.
Many educationists have sharply criticised the move, alleging that the state government wants students to do the work of government servants who are responsible for implementation and review of schemes.
But A U Patel, former vice-chancellor (VC) of Gujarat University (GU) and adviser to knowledge consortium of Gujarat, which is tasked with providing ideas for achieving excellence in education, educational management, and framing policies for education, said students pursuing PhDs would review the existing policies of Gujarat government so that loopholes in a particular scheme or programme could be identified.
Patel said the research would have a positive effect on these schemes and programmes. Gujarat University VC M N Patel said there was a trend to select subjects for thesis research that were not relevant. “With this initiative, there would be some relevant hypothesis available for PhD theses,” Patel added.
Rajesh Patel, a student pursuing his PhD, said the government cannot impose subjects for thesie on students. “If they are so keen to get accurate research and want to save babus the labour, they should have given this task to some agency,” he said.