There are many benefits of maternity leave for female PhD students – Times of India

The UGC has directed the VCs of Indian universities to formulate appropriate rules and regulations for granting maternity leave and attendance-related relaxation to female students in undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programs. Most central universities have already enacted the provision, which was first introduced by UGC in 2016 and welcomed it as a necessary addition to the academy.

Guidelines were introduced


Uma Shankar Pandey, PhD Supervisor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Calcutta University, said, “According to the 2016 UGC rules, women candidates can be given maternity or childcare leave once in their entire life to complete their MPhil and PhD. 240 days. ”He added that the provision, which is significantly available in other sectors, is missing in the academy.


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Why UGC has recently felt the need to remind universities of this provision, says BJ Rao, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad (UOH), “Numerous guidelines are issued on an annual basis. General reminders need to be communicated from time to time to ensure its relevance and acceptance by all stakeholders. ”


Rao added that this guide is more relevant for PhD than other PG courses. “In any regular course, if a female student has to take maternity leave, she will only miss certain courses, which she will be able to take after rejoining. However, a PhD student will miss deadlines, which will affect his or her overall academic journey, ”he says.

Number expression

According to UoH’s academic department, 668 of the 1,533 PhD students in the current academic year are women. In the last three years, 16 female students have taken maternity leave / medical leave

Delhi University (DU) has a total of 4,011 PhD students, of which 2,093 are women. Yogesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, DU, said, “Since the inception of the provision, about 10% of female PhD / MPhil students have taken advantage of it.”


JN Balia, head of the Department of Education Studies and Mass Communication and New Media at Jammu Central University (CUJ), said: Currently, two are on maternity leave and about three have used this option in the last few years. ”

Various benefits

Baliya says that before this provision, female PhD students in both science and social sciences were affected. “While science students must spend countless hours in a laboratory with harmful chemicals, social science students must conduct field research. In both cases, the female students in the family had health problems. As such, the provision has served as an incentive for their personal and academic lives, ”he said.

Whether it is psychological well-being or an initiative for academic excellence, the provision has made a positive difference, Rao said. “It’s a myth that taking a break from a PhD can have a detrimental effect on women. However, I have repeatedly noticed that female students who come to resume their PhD from maternity leave make extraordinary efforts to prove their academic excellence. As such, I believe the quality of the research has been positively impacted, “he says.


According to Singh, the focus on PhDs has multiplied due to the emphasis on international rankings. “If PhD scholars are given the right ecosystem, the dropout rate among them will be reduced, which will automatically improve both the quantity and quality of our research. Previously, the dropout rate among PhD students was around 20%, which has declined since this provision. The belief that their university will support them is a big booster, ”he said.

Pandey said many PhD scholars are in various fellowships which provide them with monthly stipends. “In the past, women who took breaks from their PhDs missed out on their stipends. However, since the UGC provision, it has changed and made life easier for many PhD students, ”he said.

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