The Master of Philosophy (M Phil) is designed to produce skilled professionals for teaching positions in universities, colleges and training institutions. This 18-month long programme also aims to produce managers and consultants for business houses, government, research institutions and other organisations.
Under Kathmandu University School of Education (KUSOED) this postgraduate research degree programme was introduced in Nepal in 1998. Elucidating the reason behind starting M Phil programme in Nepal, Man Prasad Wagle, Dean KUSOED said, “People with Masters Degree teaching students of Masters level is not a scientific teaching and learning practice. We started M Phil programme to stop this trend.“
Kathmandu University (KU) has M Phil programmes for Education and Management.Tribhuvan University (TU) under TU Central Department of Education started M Phil programme in 2004 and has M Phil programme for English, Economics, Education, Population, Nepali and Management. Similarly Pokhara University (PU) also has M Phil in English.
How does it help?
Though many educationists consider M Phil programme as a bridge course for students willing to study Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) there is mixed opinion about the necessity of M Phil programme in Nepal.
Highlighting the essence of M Phil programme, Bidya Nath Koirala, Dean of Tribhuvan University Central Department of Education said, “There is a simple logic that if a teacher of Grade V should at least be School Leaving Certificate (SLC) graduate, teacher of Grade X should have passed Bachelors degree.
Then, the teachers of Masters level should have higher qualification than Masters Degree. And they can earn this qualification through M Phil“.
Amar Raj Joshi, Dean of Humanities Department at TU opined, “This programme is essential for those who want to be in teaching profession. It is also indispensable for those who want to be researchers.“
Joshi claimed that after doing M Phil students were able to improve their teaching and other personal skills.
Agreeing with Joshi, Harihar Jnyawali M Phil degree holder and lecturer at TU Central Department of English shared, “After studying M Phil, I have learnt research writing techniques. Now I can also become a researcher.“
Pratima Sharma, student of M Phil at TU thinks M Phil is necessary for those who want to be in academics related profession, individual researcher or teacher of Masters level. However, she expressed her dissatisfaction over the teaching method, “Teachers design and impose course upon the students without giving priority to students' interest. They don't even teach us research writing techniques.“
Meanwhile, Bal Bahadur Thapa, a lecturer and a student of M Phil at TU argued, “M Phil is for those students who are in academic field and whose long -term goal is to get into research.“ Denying the compulsion of studying M Phil, he added, “This programme is not compulsory for those students who don't want to do long-term research.“
Meanwhile Wagle informed, “These days chief executive officers of the banks, managers of the hospitals and directors of NGOs and INGOs are also being attracted to the M Phil programme“.
Though M Phil programme is beneficial to the students, colleges are facing challenges to run this programme effectively and successfully. Koirala revealed, “To get skilled teacher for the programme is a great problem.“ He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the fact that the programme is being more Kathmandu oriented.
There are limited seats in M Phil programmes and according to Joshi, they often get pressurised by political leaders to take admission of a particular student. “There are also administrative hassles and pressures from high political leadership for admission.“
Presenting a student's perspective Sharma added, “I am not satisfied with the infrastructure available in the classes as compared to the fees I have paid.“
The selection procedure emphasises academic achievement of the applicant as well as his/her potential for becoming an able management and research specialist. Consequently, a multi-factor selection model incorporating scholastic achievements, work experience, and performance in group discussion/seminar, entrance test and personal interview is used for selecting participants.
Any student who has passed Masters Degree in a particular subject can pursue M Phil course in the respective subject.
Source: The Himalayantimes: Published on July 13, 2011