Delhi: Scholars race against time to complete research work

Fareeha Iftikhar and Kainat Sarfaraz

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New DelhiWhilst universities throughout the nationwide capital switched to the web mode for courses and exams over the past year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many establishments had been hard-pressed to discover a digital different for research work.

In the final 12 months, MPhil and PhD students throughout universities had been unable to conduct experiments within the college laboratories as they might not entry library companies, which is essential for completion of a thesis, or have interaction in discipline visits due to the lockdown.

Although the University Grants Commission (UGC), in view of the pandemic, has offered a six-month extension to PhD students scheduled to submit their thesis in December final year and June this year, many college students stated that they could nonetheless not have the opportunity to complete their thesis work. Research students and postgraduate college students of science and know-how programmes began resuming their work in labs in phases after a nod from the UGC in November.

Ishita Manna, a PhD scholar on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) whose soil samples had been ruined due to the closure of the laboratory for over eight months, stated that she can have to journey again to Beas Kund in Himachal Pradesh to accumulate new samples. The soil samples collected from totally different elements of the nation had been saved within the TL/OSL lab (thermoluminescence/optically stimulated luminescence), utilized by research college students of the Centre for the Study of Regional Development (CSRD) at JNU. The samples had been rendered ineffective due to a termite infestation within the constructing.

“I have to go back to collect fresh samples in May or June whenever the weather is better, and the snow melts. I don’t know if I will get the exact sample again or not. I can’t even change my research subject at this stage. If I don’t get samples, I will have to write in my PhD thesis about whatever has happened. I can’t wait any longer and lose one year. I have to complete my PhD and find a job,” she stated.

The state of affairs was worse for PhD college students in far-flung areas with electrical energy and web connectivity points. Khalid Imtiyaz, a fourth-year PhD pupil at Jamia Millia Islamia whose space of research contains most cancers cells, was planning to submit his thesis by the top of his fourth year itself. But he stated it’s going to have to wait now.

“My scholarship was valid only till the fourth year, so I had planned to finish my work by then. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD at my own expense. While researchers across the country and the world were unable to access their labs, students in Kashmir faced more challenges as our internet too wasn’t working. Downloading a single research paper often took around two days. As a result, we could not keep ourselves aware of the developments in our field of literature. Now that we have returned to universities, there is a huge backlog of work. I have not taken an off in the past three months,” he stated.

Social sciences students additionally felt the warmth of the lockdown. A PhD scholar on the JNU’s School of Social Sciences, whose research matter is “population studies”, stated, “We can’t even start writing the thesis without proper field work. I was supposed to complete my field work last year and my thesis work by 2022. But since my field work was not done last year due to the pandemic, I could not start anything else as well. The deadline for completing my PhD is 2022. I am extremely anxious.”

Faculty members stated because the labs remained inaccessible for a number of months it affected each gear and research work. Moshahid Alam Rizvi, who teaches within the division of Biosciences at Jamia Millia Islamia, stated, “While library resources were shared in digital format, many journals could only be accessed on university servers. Many researchers also lost their work because labs were shut for too long,” he stated.

A professor at DU’s chemistry division, who wished not to be named, stated, “Many of our college students who’ve to submit their thesis in June are nonetheless lagging behind. They are nonetheless unable to use the laboratories correctly since a few of our equipments has been broken through the lockdown.

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