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Research degrees.

Byline: Dr Rafique A. Memon - Jamshoro

IN our public sector universities research degrees such as MPhil and PhD are perceived as means towards getting promotions and other monetary benefits rather than bringing a qualitative change in a society.

After earning a PhD degree, faculty members publish 15 research papers (not necessary as first author) in the research journals of national and international repute.

Promotions in the universities are easy and time bound, and research papers required for the purpose can easily be obtained as 'quid pro quo'. Conferences have just become venues for academic-cum-social connections. Social connections help supervisors in getting their MPhil and PhD candidates pass viva easily.

A person invited for conducting viva from a far-off location is offered warm hospitality by hosts. The bonhomie encourages the examiner to become less critical and approves the thesis even if it is substandard.

Once faculty members reach the position of professorship, the majority of them aspire to become the vice-chancellor of the very institution that they work in. In this wild goose chase, they try fair or foul means. Yet others become complacent and do no further research.

The research training they receive while doing their degrees does not provide any trickledown effect. As a result, public sector universities are yet to shine at the global stage.

It is time PhD was made an entry requirement for teaching jobs in universities. The subsequent promotions may well be made conditional on obtaining research projects/grants from different agencies, publishing books, obtaining patents, and establishing connections with the industry. This will keep the faculty focused on their original role.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 4, 2019
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