Uncertainty Over MPhil Psychology Courses Concerns Fraternity

No distinction between academic and professional courses, RCI yet to respond

HYDERABAD: The psychology academic fraternity is concerned over the UGC’s recent circular over the discontinuation of MPhil courses, in line with the National Education Policy-2020, redirecting students to instead apply directly to PhD programmes.

However, specialised programmes of MPhil courses in rehabilitation psychology and clinical psychology are regulated by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) under the RCI Act, 1992, crucial for training psychologists to assess, counsel and provide therapy to individuals with mental illnesses and learning disabilities.

On August 29, 2023, Niti Aayog's health and family division proposed alternatives to MPhil in clinical psychology, on recommendations made by a committee predominantly comprising non-psychologists. “Even at a meeting meant for alternatives, rehabilation psychology was completely ignored,” a psychologist told Deccan Chronicle.

The UGC's minimum standards and procedures for the award of PhD regulations, 2022, explicitly mention the discontinuation of MPhil and a public notice on December 26, 2023, directed universities to cease admissions.

A circular from the RCI, dated October 15, 2020, stating MPhil courses would continue until further notice, has not been updated.

The crux of the issue lies in the identical nomenclature for both academic and professional MPhil courses. Institutions, particularly those offering professional MPhil courses, are facing challenges in conducting admissions due to conflicting directives.

“The RCI's lack of proactive measures adds to the crisis, as the discontinuation decision, if abrupt, could impact mental health services. The three-year-long failure of the RCI to address this situation comes with a lack of coordination among RCI, UGC, the Union ministry of health and the Union ministry of social justice,” said S. Dheeraj Babu, a teaching associate who completed his MPhil in April 2023.

“The potential violation of rights for individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses to access essential services from trained professionals necessitates urgent collaboration between the RCI and the UGC to resolve this crisis,” said Mohammed Habeebuddin, a rehabilitation psychologist who works with an NGO in the city.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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