Rising complaints against research supervisors

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A GOOD student-supervisor relationship is the root for a successful MS, PhD, or Post-Doc scholar. Ideally, research supervisor has a vital role in both terms: the award of the degree and the process. There is no single recommendation for an ideal supervisory arrangement, but this can be viewed as an evolving partnership, in which an early relationship develops between student and teacher towards progressive impartiality as the project reaches its finale, starting from preparation of thesis till the end of program. This is an open, honest and professional interaction based on mutual respect, trust and good-will between student and supervisors, which is the key for success for both, student and teacher as well. In recent years by laudable efforts of HEC the number of researchers or research scholars has increased many folds, and this increase is going on. But at the same time, the rising trend of higher studies also need more and more competitive, committed, and experienced research supervisors, which we are lacking behind. The responsibilities of a supervisor are far greater than the prescribed terms; the Principal Supervisor has the overall responsibility for the Scholar toward the academia and for the individual programmes as a whole, including the managerial responsibilities. But in our country it is observed that the role of research Supervisor is more administrative rather than academic, as defined by Higher Education Commission (HEC), which is only limited for those scholars who have been awarded HEC scholarships, otherwise there is no certain criteria for a research supervisor. More importantly, HECs pre-requisites for a research supervisor shows that there is no need of any past experience concerned with mentoring or supervising; not even as a Secondary or Co-supervisor. The only criterion is a PhD degree and publishing of few research papers; thats all one need to be a research supervisor. And the powers and authorities deliberated by HEC to a supervisor are sometimes having negative repercussions for scholar that makes a scholar more vulnerable to supervisor. In other words, a supervisor is likely to be the single most crucial individual to stimulate the success of a scholar. In our country, there are several cases in which research scholars are humiliated and threatened with physical and verbal abuse by the supervisor, and also there are reports of gender violence against female research scholars. This situation becomes more intense when a scholar faces a fresh supervisor, who has no past experience of mentoring and supervising or in a case where supervisor becomes personal with the scholar. In certain cases supervisor rejected the scholars whole work or thesis just because of intimate personal relationship or personal grudge with the scholar, and situation got tense day by day resulting loss of scholar time and money. Whereas, supervisor should be considered as a facilitator rather than a regulator, they should have both a reactive and a proactive role, their core objective should be to produce good quality researchers and help the researchers for their academic excellence regardless of their personal gain. Comparing both, supervisors of local and international academia, there is dire need to devise proper roles and responsibilities for research supervisors to protect the rights of research scholars, and there should also be proper training for research supervisor both for their soft skills and management skill, this responsibility goes to HEC.


Published in: Volume 06 Issue 28

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