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University of Pune cut down norms for Foreign Students for Ph.D

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UoP cut down norms for Foreign Students
University of Pune is considering relaxing its norms to facilitate their entry to the Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) course for Foreign students , a step that has been criticised by many who think this will see a sharp fall in the quality of research at the university.

The authorities decided to try out various ways to make sure more foreign students are enrolled in the various PhD courses offered by the university.

VB Gaikwad, Director, board of college and university development (BCUD) said, ""The PET will be conducted next month. This year onwards, instead of two papers, that is, aptitude and subject paper, there will only be a general aptitude test for foreign students. Plus this year onwards, there will be online exams for foreign students."

"One of the biggest problems faced by foreign students was being present on campus to give the exam. So we have decided to conduct online exams. The student needs to come only if he/she clears the exam. The online exam will be conducted at various centres abroad. Next month, a meeting of all the officials concerned will be held to decide on the number of centres required for such online exams. Once these foreign students clear the exam, they will have to come to the university for an interview," added Gaikwad.

University Grants Commission (UGC) made it mandatory in 2009 for all universities to conduct PET for admissions to PhD courses. Accordingly, UoP introduced PET in 2010.

In PET 2011, only two foreign students cleared the exam. Curiously in 2012, no PET was conducted and the students were admitted without any entrance exam.

"It is wrong not to conduct PET when the UGC has given clear directive to do so. Why was everything done in a hush-hush manner, if not for vested interests? All this reduced the number of quality students entering the university," said a senior official.

Terming the move as unfortunate, former Chairperson of UGC Arun Nigavekar said, "Each university is an autonomous body and its aim should be to find the best students, irrespective of where they come from. Selection procedure should be based on merit. The university's decision is unfortunate."

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