What Is UGC-NET All About?

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What Is UGC-NET All About?

| Updated: June 21, 2024 13:37

The cancellation has hit more than 9 lakh candidates who sat for the exam this year

The University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) was cancelled by the Ministry of Education late on Wednesday, just a day after it was held. 

In a statement, the Ministry said that it received inputs from the National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre indicating that the integrity of the examination may have been compromised.

The cancellation has hit more than 9 lakh candidates who sat for the exam this year, and has prompted protests by student organisations. Candidates will now have to take the examination again.

The fiasco follows the NEET-UG controversy over alleged paper leaks and the decision to hold a re-test for 1,563 candidates who were given ‘grace marks.’

Conducted by NTA 

The UGC-NET is a test conducted twice a year, in June and December, by the National Testing Agency (NTA). The NTA also conducts the JEE (Main), the NEET-UG, and the CUET for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

The NTA has been conducting UGC-NET since December 2018. Prior to this, the exam was conducted by the CBSE.

Since 1984, the UGC-NET has been used as the primary criteria for granting the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). Since 1989, the UGC-NET has been used to determine the eligibility of candidates for the post of assistant professor, the junior-most teaching position in universities. 

This academic session onwards, UGC-NET scores can also be used for PhD admissions. Earlier, these admissions were most often carried out based on universities’ and institutes’ own entrance exams. Under the new system, admissions to PhD programmes are based on both the NET score and marks obtained in an interview.

The three-hour long examination comprises two papers with multiple choice questions, and no negative marking.

Change in pattern

From December 2018, the NTA had been conducting the UGC-NET as a computer-based test. This was changed this year, with the test becoming a pen-and-paper one, using an OMR sheet.

The computer-based test was held over multiple days and in multiple shifts, depending on the availability of centres. In contrast, the pen and paper test was held on a single day, June 18, in two shifts – from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm, and 3 pm to 6 pm.

Candidates in the General category have to secure at least 55% marks in their Master’s degree examinations to be able to appear for the UGC-NET. SC, ST, OBC, and persons with disability candidates need to secure 50% in their Master’s degree examinations.

Earlier this year, the UGC had said that candidates who have cleared a four-year undergraduate degree programme may also sit for the NET, if they have a minimum of 75% marks. 

There is no age limit to sit for the UGC-NET for assistant professor posts and PhD admissions. However, for the JRF, there is an age limit of 30 years as of June 1.

This year, around 9,08,580 candidates appeared for this exam at 1,205 centres across 317 cities, nearly twice the 4,62,144 who appeared for the exam in June last year.

Last June, 32,304 candidates qualified for the post of assistant professor, while 4,937 candidates qualified for the JRF, in addition to being eligible for an assistant professor post.

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