Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ph.Ds in India

In a poorly written article titled, "IIT-B becoming an assembly line of PhDs?" the author says

Even as India grapples with how to increase the number of researchers, IIT-Bombay recorded a slight drop in the number of PhDs this year. The Powai institute had contributed the highest number of 200 PhDs to India last year. This time the number was 179. 
Contributed to India? Ph.Ds graduating from IIT Bombay are not donated to India. Even otherwise, many of these Ph.D's go abroad for postdoctoral studies. Further, anyone working on statistics knows that one has to look at 3 or 5 year averages rather than compare it year after year. Further, there are many IITs that now graduate around 160 to 180 doctorates per year.


An IIT Prof. said...

Not related to your point:

"Assembly line" is indeed a correct term for some of the IITs "producing" PhD's in large numbers. If one prods deeper to find out the number of full-time students, it is likely to be much lower than 179. Of course, it is up to these institutions to decide whether they wish to be known for research quality (read full-time PhD students) or as assembly lines for external/QIP/CollegeTeacher students.

Not saying that all members of the latter quality are bad, I personally know some QIP students who have done a good thesis.

Giri@iisc said...

I personally think the time period for QIP students should be increased to 4 years from 3 years. 3 years is too short to complete a Ph.D with coursework.

Anonymous said...

You have said that you did your Ph.D in two years; so why do you expect QIP students to take more than 3 years? Why is it too short?

Anonymous said...

Prof Giridhar does not expect QIP STUDENTS to take more than 3 years. Is is applicable for everybody. Even for some (or many?) regular students 7 years are less. The speed depends upon the person individual. In fact I personally know his QIP students who have finished their PhD before 3 years. And if he has mentioned somewhere that he had finished his PhD in 2 years, that does not mean that he expects everybody to do that. After all not everybody can be like him. But I know that he will be more than happy if his students (or any hardworking student) does that.

I feel the readers of this blog need to be more sensible and judgmental (if at all scientists are expected to be) before posting such comments.

iitmsriram said...

Prof. Giri is obviously an exception (I suppose all Bhatnagar awardees can be considered exceptions) and the rules should not be based on exceptions. 3 years is on the short side and puts pressure on the QIP scholars,4 years is likely to make it a bit easier. On a related note, IITM gives only partial scholarship to PhD's during the 5th year and the senate recently reiterated this, stating this will put pressure on them to finish.

Giri@iisc said...

To August 7, 2010 5:57 PM:

The average time for a Ph.D from IISc is 4.8 years after M.Tech for engineering and 5.3 years after M.Sc in science. Currently, in IISc, students are given full scholarship till the end of 5 years and partial scholarship for the next 1.5 years.

Considering this, even though a QIP scholar may be experienced, 3 years is too short to complete a Ph.D.
I feel that QIP should be strongly encouraged and that is the only way that the quality of research in NITs etc can improve significantly. Many of my colleagues are hesitant to take QIP students because of this time limitation. If it is increased to 4 years, many will take students.

I may have taken only two years to finish Ph.D; I have also graduated Ph.D's from IISc in 2 years but the rules should be based on averages.



G Sivalingam said...

I agree with Prof. Giridhar Madras. We cannot install a production line to make PhDs and, in first place, it sounds very awkward and unpleasant. No two PhDs even from the same institution, same lab and same research area, many a times are not even similar. Good Institutes train them to think organized or in free style to solve problems.

Assigning a time frame for QIP PhD gives a feel-good factor and 4 years is close to Regular (for instance, as Prof Madras indicated-IISc average of 4.8 years). Hence, Professor will feel comfortable to handle a QIP. By fact, QIPs are already employed, pressure of time is not very relevant. It should be quite practical..

For Info: From his group, students have graduated in two years (or even less) and taken more than 6 years and not got a PhD. He never fixes any graduation timelines for any of his students and in that sense he never needs such an estimate. He is more interested in what contribution a student makes to earn him a PhD.

Anonymous said...

The article was published in Times of India. wah...