In midst of the lockdown as part of the Covid19 pandemic, many innovations have been reported by educational institutions across the country and coming on heels of these is the introduction of virtual M.Phils/ PhDs by the University of Hyderabad (UoH), an Institution of Eminence. This is another step in the University’s endeavour to move towards a paperless office in future.

It may be noted that more than 20 PhD viva voce examinations have been completed online in the last two months through video conferencing at UoH.  Further, the university has shortened the time required for the M.Phil/Ph.D dissertations/theses, a process that was through hard copies submission until now.  The hard copies of dissertations/theses were sent by post to external examiners who usually took between two months to six months to get reports. This was followed by viva-voce at the University.

To cut short the time required for evaluation and more importantly to make the whole process paperless, UoH has decided to process M.Phil and Ph.D. dissertations and theses only in the online mode w.e.f. 1st June 2020. In this new process, M.Phil and Ph.D. students upload soft copies of their synopsis/dissertation/thesis online through e-governance portal (developed by startup M/s Neoscript Technologies) of the university, from their own login id, along with the copy of Course Completion certificate and Plagiarism Report.  After the Vice Chancellor appoints the external examiners online, the synopsis is sent for acceptance. Post the acceptance, the examiner will receive an automated email with the user credentials and stipulated time will be given to the examiner for evaluation of the dissertation/theses online. The examiners will get auto-reminders about the dates and in case of a delay, the task will be passed on to the next examiner. No hard copy is required by the University at all. After the reports are received, the viva-voce is conducted online. The viva voce recommendations are approved by the Vice Chancellor online and then the results are published.  The whole paperless process is similar to the ways in which the best research journals handle the manuscripts submitted for publication.  UoH also moved one step further and allowed pre-submission seminars for the M.Phil and Ph.D. students online.

“With this, elimination of paperwork and the need for physical presence during viva voce, the research scholars will now be able to complete their evaluation process smoothly and efficiently and in a much shorter time. From submission to award of the degree it used to take on an average of 6 months which we would like to bring down to 3 months by putting this process in place to benefit our MPhil/PhD students”, said Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor, UoH.