There is a very famous saying that Education is rooted almost in all the reforms. Another important saying simultaneously quoted is, if you want to destroy the nation, destroy its education first. The New Education Policy has been implemented with an avowed objective of bringing sweeping changes in school and higher education. Holistic Multidisciplinary Education is a key feature.
The policy envisages broad-based, multi-disciplinary, holistic Under Graduate education with flexible curricula, creative combinations of subjects, integration of vocational education and multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification. UG education can be of 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period. For example, a Certificate after 1 year, Advanced Diploma after 2 years, Bachelor’s Degree after 3 years and Bachelor’s with Research after 4 years.
Against this backdrop an attempt has been made in the write up to focus on PhD program as there is no specific amendment proposed in the duration and framework of PhD program, neither in non-professional courses nor in professional courses. The multiple entry and exit option is welcome up to the graduation level, keeping in view of various circumstances of personal, social, economical or otherwise.
But after doing graduation, a student should have a clear idea as to what should be done next? He has to appear in competitive exams or to acquire a professional degree like the law? Even in professional courses teaching and research options are always open, therefore, the write up focuses on an epochal aspect of that dimension. The question is, if a law graduate pursues LL.M and further gets him enrolled in Ph.D, then what could be the scenario and how certain amendments can be proposed in LL.M and PhD programme.
It has been felt by the author that keeping in view of the New Education Policy certain reformatory steps in the PhD program are also required.
Present duration of the course
The existing ordinance requires 3years minimum residential period with a Span of eight years, with certain provisos and explanations in which the thesis can be completed. The scholarships are also provided to those who are granted JRF/SRF or any other scholarship based on their specificity.
It is submitted that the total duration of PhD should be reduced from 8 to 5 years with a minimum residential period of two years (two years residential period was required under the previous ordinance) so that scholars are able to do intensive research. In professional courses like Law, students join judicial services after spending sufficient time as Ph.D scholars, this time goes in vain. So serious policy re-thinks is required to restructure the time limit and utilisation of time spent after enrolment. Students get an increment on the basis of LL.M in Judicial Services. Therefore, they deliberately get them enrolled in the LL.M course even when they don’t have any inclination towards teaching and research. However, if this would be told to the students they will definitely deny and show their resentment against it.
It may not be otherwise to mention here that 8 years time is very often being misused by the students especially by those who are getting fellowships. To bring amendment in LL.M course shall also be required before amending the PhD course. It has been experienced that most of the law graduates wish to join the judicial services and it has also been felt that in judicial services the candidate must have experience of court. Therefore it can be submitted that in spite of allowing them to do LL.M it would be better to get them enrolled as an advocate at least for one year along with the provision of incentive they would be getting in judicial services, for the same. It would definitely attract them to join the Bar and learn the articulation of advocacy. Because most of the LL.M students who qualify the judicial services exam get an increment on that basis.
Further, it can also be proposed that an integrated masters plus PhD program of 6 years can also be initiated so that only those are enrolled who really want to be engaged in teaching and research. However, the exit policy can be applied for the first two years so that they can get the LL.M degree but after entering into the third year this option should be closed. There can be some flexibility for those who are in service. 8years time can only be given to them.
Few other suggestions can also be asked from the students too to get them involved and make them accountable for their decision. It would really be beneficial for all.