'Only 125 students go for PhDs in Computer Science'

IIIT-D director rues lack of financial support for fellowships

A survey conducted by Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, on producing Ph D degree holders in Computer Science in the country found that many reputed institutions are finding it difficult in attracting good quality students, apart from facing lack of financial support in terms of fellowships or scholarships and grants for conferences.

“PhD production in India in Computer Science has been an issue of concern over the last many years. In most discussions and reports, back-of-the-envelope calculations are used to estimate this data — often stated as less than 50,” said the survey.

The survey was conducted by IIIT-D director Pankaj Jalote who said there was still a lot of ground to be covered and strong measures were needed for the desired goal of 1,000 or even 500 PhDs a year.

Institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology (NITs), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) ,Pilani, Jadhavpur University, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata were included in the survey as these are viewed as having the ability to produce decent quality PhDs. Other institutes which also participated in the survey are IIITs (Allahabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi), Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) among others.

“To collect information regarding the PhD production in the institutions, data on full time faculty members with and without PhD, number of PhDs awarded between August 1, 2011 and July 30, 2012 in CS/IT, gender of students, area of PhD, nature of employment after PhD were considered,” said the report.

“Number of PhDs in previous two academic years, number of full time PhD students currently enrolled, challenges and issues faced by the PhD programme were also taken into account,” the report added.

A total of 39 departments of various institutes were asked to provide information.
The survey estimated that PhD production in the academic year 2011-12 was around 125 and the PhD production is likely to grow gradually to about 225 per year in about 5 years.
It said there are a handful of institutions where the faculty is without a PhD.  “The total number of faculty-with-PhD in these institutions is 584 and average size of faculty-with-PhD in a department is about 15. The areas of research prominent among the PhD students in India are theory and algorithms,” the report said.

“Networks and information assurance or security were the top three choices of PhD students who completed their PhDs between August 1 2011 and July 30 2012,” it said.
According to the report, the employment statistics of the PhDs produced between August 1 2011 and July 30, 2012 is majorly inclined towards teaching jobs.

“We divided the nature of employment into eight categories: Teaching (India), Teaching (abroad), Postdoc (India), Postdoc (abroad), Research Lab (India), Research Lab (abroad), Non-Research Job, Entrepreneur. We observed the trend of employment with teaching in India is the most common type of employment of the PhDs produced followed by a postdoctoral outside India,” said the report.

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