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MU PhD Scholar cum Assistant Professor appointed Head in the same department disregarding regulations

by Rinku Khumukcham
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MU PhD Scholar cum Assistant Professor appointed Head in the same department disregarding regulations

IT News
Imphal, Feb 5:

In a blatant disregard for the guidelines and regulations, an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department of Manipur University, who is also a PhD Scholar in the same department, has been appointed the Head of the Department (HOD).
In an office order dated December 7, 2023, bearing the number MU/5-38/95FCY and signed by Dr. RK Joteen Singh, Registrar-in-Charge, Ms. Th. Monica Devi, a Stage 2 Assistant Professor, has been appointed as the Head in-charge of the Department of Teacher Education, Manipur University, for a period of 3 years. The office order issued by registrar-in charge appointing Ms. Th. Monica Devi as HOD has been copied to A.R to the Vice Chancellor, Deans of all the schools, Heads of all the departments, Controller of Examination, Finance Officer, and all concerned faculty members.
However, Ms. Thokchom Monica Devi is also registered as a Ph.D. Scholar since 2019, bearing the number 4006/19 as a Teacher Candidate under the supervision of Associate Professor Dr. K Sobita Devi, an Associate Professor in the Teacher Education Department. Ms. Th. Monica Devi, being appointed as HOD, entails a major conflict of interest, given that she will be part of the Research Advisory Committee (RAC). According to MU PhD regulation 2023 number 10, the RAC is responsible for tracking the progress of the scholar every six months. It has the HOD as the chairperson, the thesis supervisor as the convenor, and another professor or associate professor from the department as a member. Approval from the RAC is required to continue the research. In this case, Th. Monica Devi will examine her own research progress as she will be part of the RAC.
Furthermore, in the Viva Voce, the final examination in the Ph.D. program, a Board of Examiners conducts the assessment. According to MU PhD regulation 2023 number 26, this board includes the Dean of the School as the Chairperson, the Supervisor and Co-supervisor (if any), an external examiner, and the HOD as a member of the board. Therefore, Th. Monica Devi will be part of the examiners’ board in her own examination, given that she is the HOD of the department alongside Dean of School of Social Sciences as the Chairperson. HODs generally wield considerable power in the department and is the point of contact for administrative responsibilities often closely working with the deans. Most importantly, the members of the RAC committee and the Viva Voce examination board belonging to the department will be in a precarious position when they assess their HOD’s examination, indicating another conflict of interest.
Moreover, these matters also reveal that regulations published in the Gazette of India have been disregarded. In a Gazette notification by National Council for Teacher Education dated November 28, 2014 clearly lays down the regulations for appointments. In the “Norms and Standards for the Bachelor of education programme leading to the Bachelor of Education Degrees” in the notification, it clearly says at regulation number 5.2 that while appointing a faculty member as HOD, the individual who is getting appointed must have a Ph.D. in Education or in any pedagogic discipline. Other qualifications required include a master’s degree and M. Ed degree with a minimum of 55 percent, along with eight years of teaching experience. Ms. Th. Monica Devi does not yet possess a Ph.D., so the order issued by the Registrar in Charge has not followed the rules laid down in the Gazette.
Therefore, the appointment of Ms. Th. Monica Devi, an Assistant Professor and a Ph.D. Scholar, as the Head of the Department (HOD) in the Teacher Education Department of Manipur University violates appointment guidelines. This move also raises concerns about conflict of interest, as she will be overseeing her own research progress in the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) and participating in the Viva Voce examination board for her own Ph.D. examination, contrary to Manipur University’s PhD regulations.
Imphal Times has reached out to Manipur University officials for their comments. Till now, their take on the matter is awaited.

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