Friday, July 25, 2014

Dual/Integrated degrees

As IISc, recognized as a deemed university under UGC, completes its admission to the four year UG B.S. program for the fourth time, I am frequently asked by everyone about the recent UGC notification.

As many readers are aware, UGC has recently notified against dual degree programs. Professor Sanghi has written a detailed explanation regarding this. The IAFYO* has lodged a protest against this post for allegedly insulting their intelligence.

The following is clear: UGC does not like dual degree programs. They do not like four year undergraduate programs either. They, however, have no problems with the integrated programs. Therefore, UGC is fine and dandy if institutions give a master's degree  instead of a bachelor's degree at the end of four years. If we rename the four year B.S. program in IISc to M.S., everything will be fine.

Can IITs ignore UGC? Well, they can but students can and do get affected. For example, if a student graduating from a M.Tech dual degree from IIT wants to join as a faculty in an university (whose specific requirement is an UGC recognized degree), the university may not shortlist this candidate for interview at all. When IITs (and IISc) introduced direct Ph.D admission (after B.Tech), everyone praised the program because it would save at least a year. However, it has its own problems. A person joining with a B.E./B.Tech and graduating with a Ph.D still has trouble finding jobs in NITs and other universities, where they explicitly need a master's degree. Some follow a point system: performance in bachelors, performance in masters, performance in doctorate, publications etc. Everything has some points. Therefore, if you do not have a master's degree, you get zero points. Any amount of discussion with these institutions that the student should be shortlisted for interview though he/she does not have a master's degree falls on deaf ears. I do not want to compare the personnel involved in shortlisting with some children because IAFYO may take offence to their intelligence. But that is the ground reality.

*IAFYO: Indian association of five year olds.