Ramakanta Biswas

A controversy has erupted after the Rama Devi Women’s University in Bhubaneswar approved pursuing of PhD by male faculties at the varsity. 

The decision to allow male faculty members to register for PhD programme was taken at the 26th Meeting of the Syndicate of Rama Devi Women's University held on September 28, 2022 under the chairmanship of Vice Chancellor Prof. (Dr.) Aparajita Chowdhury. 

As per the minutes of the meeting, the Syndicate has approved the proposal to allow male faculty members to register for PhD programme at the varsity. 

The decision did not go down well with the girl students of the university who expressed resentment over the move. 

Fatima Khatun, a student said, “This university is exclusively for the education of female students. If the varsity is allowing a male faculty to pursue PhD, it is wrong as per my opinion. The decision would have been ok, had it been a co-educational institution. This will also result in a reduction of a seat meant for women students.” 

“This university is exclusively for women. If a male guest faculty is allowed admission here, it would have a negative impact on the girl students,” said another student, Srabani. 

Soon after the approval of the Syndicate, Suprit Panigrahi an assistant professor in the department of Gender Studies has reportedly been nominated to do PhD, raising questions on the transparency in the selection process of the scholars.

A section of students also argued that if male faculties are allowed to study at the varsity, why not other male students? Moreover, they expressed deep concerns that the move would lead to reduction in PhD seats for women candidates. 

Kamal Prasad Mohapatra, a government body member of Mo College Abhiyan said, “It is not right if a male applicant is applying for PhD registration in a women’s university. The by-law of the varsity must have mentioned that the institution is meant for the higher education of women students.” 

Reported by Jagdish Das, OTV