Students have opposed the Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE’s) decision to skip University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) for the first half of the year.
The Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court (SC) asking CBSE to take back its decision to suspend the tests. It also wants the government to conduct one more session in 2017 for students who are crossing the age limit.
Those who aspire to be assistant professor or work as junior research fellow (JRF) in colleges and universities across the country are required to clear UGC-NET. The test is usually held twice every year – around months of June and December.
In a July 11 notification, CBSE announced that the next UGC-NET exam will be held on November 5. The announcement came as a shock to teaching and research aspirants across the country who were anxiously waiting for the summer session of the test.
SIO said that suspension will further accentuate shortage of qualified teachers in degree colleges. “Shortage of faculty has been a big hurdle in ensuring quality education. Thousands of teaching positions are vacant in the universities across the country. In such a circumstance, suspending UGC NET may lead to annoyance among student community, and a loss to the intellectual community of India,” said Syed Azharuddin, national secretary, SIO.
The CBSE had approached the ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD),expressing its inability to conduct the UGC NET exam due to capacity crunch as it was overburdened with other tests such as the JEE (for admission to undergraduate engineering courses) and the NEET (for admission to under-graduate medical courses).
The student body also argued that suspension of UGC-NET stands in contrast to UGC’s intention to make NET or State Eligibility Test (SET) mandatory for pursuing PhD. It also said that the decision undermines union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, who in a recently concluded parliamentary session, had announced that majority of vacancies in Universities would be filled up this year.