KSOU puts on hold amended PhD entrance exam rules

Viva voce qualifying score restored to 50

 The Board of Management (BoM) of the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) has decided to put on hold the changes made to the rules for the PhD entrance exam following widespread criticism.

Manjappa D Hosamane, vice-chancellor of the Vijayanagara Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Bellary, and a board member, told Deccan Herald that this was done to comply with the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulation.

“The minimum marks required to qualify for viva voce after PhD entrance test, which was reduced to 40 from 50 marks, has been reverted to 50. The BoM has also decided to put on hold the decision taken by the KSOU to allow candidates who have completed only their post-graduation, without completing graduation, to take up the PhD programme,” he said.

The KSOU had made systematic changes to regulations for PhD entrance test against UGC norms for the current academic year. 

It had reduced the minimum qualifying marks for PhD entrance test, of which Kannada and Culture Minister Uma­shree was a direct beneficiary. 

The move to allow candidates who have completed their post-graduation without completing graduation to pursue PhD, only for 2013-14, had also benefited Umashree and former minister C T Ravi.

M G Krishnan, vice-chancellor of KSOU, confirmed that the decisions regarding changes to PhD entrance test had been withdrawn. 

“However, I would like to reiterate that the decisions would have benefited a large number of students,” Krishnan said.

“People without a formal degree should be encouraged to pursue PhD. It is the duty of open universities to reach out to sections of people who cannot pursue such programmes in the regular course,” he added.

Minister refutes charges

Minister Umashree has said that she took the entrance exam for PhD like any other candidate and at no point of time did she influence the KSOU to bend rules to accommodate her as a research student. 

Interacting with the media on Monday, she said that a university frames rules or changes rules, keeping the larger interest of students in mind and not to suit the interest of one individual. Decisions are taken by the Syndicate of the university and not by any one person. “It is incorrect to say that rules were changed to suit my needs,” Umashree said. 

“So far, I have not met the vice-chancellor. My name has been dragged into this unnecessarily by some vested interests. Many women like me who are interested in academics, instead of being encouraged, are being targeted,” she said. 

The minister said that her mother wanted her to get good education, but it was not possible. To fulfil her mother’s ambition, after completing SSLC, she did her post-graduation by sheer hard work. Like any other student, Umashree said, she had applied for PhD and wrote the entrance exam and appeared for the interview.

 “I was just a student when I did all these. Nowhere have I tried to use my clout,” she claimed. 

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