UGC's Decision to Discontinue MPhil Degrees Sparks State-level Dispute

In a surprising turn of events, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently issued a directive urging students not to enrol in MPhil (Master of Philosophy) degree programs, citing that the degree is not recognized. This move has stirred controversy as it challenges the traditional hierarchy of higher education, where the MPhil degree has long been considered the second-highest qualification after a PhD.

The official notification, released on December 26, is accessible on the UGC's official website at ugc.gov.in. According to the notification, Regulation No. 14 of the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for PhD Degree) Regulations 2022 clearly states that higher educational institutions are not permitted to offer MPhil programs.

Despite the UGC's stance, the state government appears to be at odds with this decision. State Education Minister Bratya Basu openly defied the UGC notification, asserting that the state would not adhere to what he referred to as the "Fatwa of the Center." Speaking at an event in Nandan, Minister Basu expressed the state's commitment to following its education policy.

The controversy deepened as several universities, seemingly unaware of the UGC directive, had already invited fresh applications for MPhil programs. The UGC has urgently requested university authorities to cease admissions to MPhil programs for the academic year 2023-24.

The UGC's notification emphasizes the existence of the University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations 2022, published in the Gazette of India on November 7, 2022.

The clash between the UGC and the state government raises questions about the future recognition of MPhil degrees in the concerned state. Minister Bratya Basu's categorical statement rejecting the UGC's decision adds uncertainty to the situation.

Students and academic institutions are advised to stay updated on this matter by checking the official UGC website for further details and developments. The outcome of this dispute will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the academic landscape and the perceived value of MPhil degrees in the state.

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