There was an eight members committee that was set up recently headed by Mr K. Kasturirangan, a renowned scientist to draft the new National Education Policy. There has been a number of critical changes suggested in the draft about the curricula and structure of education/schooling. Among the others, one of the main suggestions in the draft is to get rid of M.Phil and instead restructuring the Master’s degree to be more research-centric.

The change in the M.Phil course is definitely going to affect a huge number of students across the country. The draft also suggested a change in the bachelor’s degree format. The Bachelor’s degree which was previously a three-year course is now suggested as a four-year program and the Master’s degree will be restructured and made more research centric thereby making the M.Phil course redundant.

The draft of the new NEP suggests that the prerequisite to pursuing a PhD would either be a Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree that is a four-year course with research. Students usually pursue M.Phil after a Master’s degree (M.A., M.Sc., and M.com) and get to decide if they want to continue to study PhD or discontinue M.Phil. Currently, a student pursuing the Master’s degree does not need to submit a dissertation but an M.Phil student is required to do research and dissertation.

The draft suggests that the Master’s degree be restructured and the second year of the study to be completely devoted to research and that the prerequisite for this to be a three year undergraduate program. Another interesting suggestion in the draft is that the students who completed the four-year bachelor’s degree with research can finish a one-year master’s program. There is a mention of integrating the bachelor and masters by making it a five-year course.

An M.Phil scholar from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) recently mentioned the importance of such a change since it helps the students to make a well-informed decision regarding their research in Ph.D. Brijesh Rana, a Delhi University Scholar opines that the change would be a great idea only if the Master’s program is made research-oriented and the otherwise of it, the idea would be very drastic.

The Indian education system was last reformed during the year 1992 and a restructure in the design of the curricula would be a welcome change. However, changes in the design of the curriculum were needed across all levels starting from preschool to Ph.D. level. The design and approach of education need to adopt a more holistic approach.

A significant amount of students are currently pursuing M.Phil. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and Delhi University offer 20 – 40 seats from each of its department every year. The seat allocation is based on the faculty and resources availability. The change in the education structure is definitely a great idea if the changes take place at all levels. There is a dire need for redesigning at all levels. However, the resultant of the changes mentioned in the draft of the NEP is yet to be seen.

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