A woman research scholar from Thailand will be the first student of the University of Madras to defend her thesis via videoconference.

Prapaporn Vitheeswat, 42, is a scientist in Thailand government’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Ms. Prapaporn wanted to do research in aquaculture and her search for a guide ended with N. Munuswamy, now a CSIR emeritus scientist in the university’s Zoology department, Guindy campus.

With the Thai government funding her research, the woman travelled to Chennai in 2016. Her research work was fish and shrimp species, particularly on cryo-preservation of sperm, Dr. Munuswamy said. According to him she is his 38th Ph.D candidate.

She completed her course work in November last year and returned to Bangkok to be with her family, including an eight-year-old daughter. She had intended to return to India for her Ph.D thesis defence.

In April, the University Grants Commission, to a request from the higher education secretary of Gujarat in April, informed that viva voce exam could be conducted via video conferencing provided the university’s statutory authorities approved of it.

G. Shanmugam, a retired professor of the University, said he had suggested to the Vice-Chancellor that video conferencing could be used to conduct the oral exam for Ph.D students. According to him, the university had considered his suggestion.

The UGC’s decision was taken up for consideration by the university and on May 15, the registrar formally intimated to all affiliated colleges, and directors of research organisations

Ms. Prapaporn’s viva is scheduled for June 26. She will defend her thesis from her department in Bangkok and the external examiner and the supervisor will participate via videoconference in Chennai.

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