1,010 scholars receive PhD degrees at Anna university

November 6, 2014

CHENNAI: The premier Indian Institutes of Technology have started taking the 2010 Anil Kakodkar committee's recommendation to lay emphasis on research seriously. State technical universities are slowly following suit with the premier institute.

Anna University, one of the biggest technical universities in the country with more than 500 affiliated colleges, gave away degrees to 1,010 PhD scholars today. In 2010 a mere 264 PhD scholars got their degrees from the university. After seeing a gradual increase from 1984, when only three PhDs were granted, to 2007 (162), the numbers have gone up steeply. Over the last five years the number has gone up by more than 282%.

"We have the highest number of PhD degrees awarded in a convocation by any technical university in India." said university vice-chancellor M Rajaram.

The maximum number of doctorates come from the information and communication engineering department (339), followed by the science and humanities departments at 252, and mechanical engineering 136. The electrical engineering department has produced 128 PhDs this year, while management science has 73 to its credit, civil engineering 41, technology 38 and architecture and planning three.

Director of the university's Centre for Research Usha Natesan said that there is no delay in reviewing the work submitted by the candidates. "Earlier it could even take 10 months. Now candidates can get their research paper reviewed in three months. This has also helped improve numbers to a large extent," she said.

The university continues to remain a teaching institution, as 1,41,726 UG and 42,140 PG graduates received their degrees at the 35th convocation on Wednesday. Academics said that there was a good mix of full time and part time research scholars on campuses. Many of them expect to take up jobs as teachers in the various engineering colleges across the state, while others hope to be able to contribute to meaningful research in centres of excellence or government departments across the country.

M Anandakrishnan, former vice-chancellor of Anna University and current director of the board of governors at IIT-Kanpur, said that the number may be high because the university has more than 500 colleges affiliated to it. However, he added that for the university to reach this number we can assume that there are a good number of professors who can take so many research scholars under their wing.

Comparing Anna University's research output to that of the IITs, professor Anandakrishnan said that all the IITs put together may reach and exceed this number. "The difference may be in the fact that most of the research scholars in the IITs are full-time committed researchers, compared to a good number of part-time scholars likely to graduate from here. This makes quite a lot of difference," he said.

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