National Eligibility Test (NET) not to be conducted by UGC now

The eligibility examination for college and university lectureship, the National Eligibility Test (NET), will no longer be conducted by the University Grants Commission. The examination, which has been conducted since 1989, for entry-level teaching jobs in the country's higher education institutions will now be administered and conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education.

A decision to this effect was taken at the meeting of the University Grants Commission held on 22nd July. The CBSE will conduct the NET examination scheduled to be held in December.

The decision for the UGC to outsource the NET has been on the cards for a while. The CBSE, which conducts several entrance examinations for engineering and medical undergraduate programmes besides the school leaving exams, was chosen for the purpose. A senior official said that given the CBSE's proven record in conducting competitive examinations on a large scale, the UGC decided it would delegate the task of conducting and administering the NET to it.

However, the CBSE has no experience of administering a post graduate level examination. To this end, the UGC has decided to share its resources with the CBSE. The NET examination is conducted in 80 subjects and the questions are geared for the post-graduate student. As many as 20,000 applicants appear for the examination, which is conducted twice a year in June and December. The NET, which was introduced by a government notification in 1988, was instituted to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and research.

At its meeting on Tuesday, the UGC also decided to ask the human resource development ministry for an extension for the July 31 deadline on the working out a course of action for the 41 deemed to be universities that were adjudged as unfit to continue operations by the PN Tandon Committee set up in 2009.

On the basis of the Supreme Court's direction, the UGC had constituted a four member committee headed by H Devaraj, Vice-Chairman, UGC to assess whether these 41 institutions could continue to operate. All the institutions have made their presentations, but the committee was unable to arrive at a consensus. Sources said that there were differences of opinion on the approach that the committee should take in assessing these 41 institution.

Two members were of the view that the final assessment should be in line with the findings of the Tandon Committee and a committee of officials that had been set up subsequently. The other two members were not in agreement with this approach and were of the opinion that their assessment should be independent of the findings of the previous committee.

Other members of the committee are Sanjay Dhande and V.S. Chauhan, both members of the UGC and Amita Sharma, Additional Secretary, ministry of human resource development. The committee was to submit its report by July 31. The UGC has decided to approach the ministry for more time to resolve the differences.
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