UGC-NET Cancelled: Exam Integrity Compromised

UGC-NET Cancelled Exam Integrity Compromised

UGC-NET Cancelled Affecting 9 Lakh Students, Exam Integrity Compromised, Says Government

The Ministry of Education (MoE) announced late Wednesday night the cancellation of the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET). This decision came after over 9 lakh students took the test across 317 cities, following concerns from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the exam’s integrity being compromised.

UGC-NET, crucial for entry-level teaching jobs in Indian universities and PhD admissions, is the first central public exam to be scrapped under a new anti-paper leak law. The investigation has been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and details about the re-exam will be provided later.

The new law, passed in February 2024, imposes severe penalties, including three to five years in prison and fines up to Rs 10 lakh for cheating and related offenses.

The cancellation surprised senior officials of the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts UGC-NET. NTA is already facing criticism for alleged irregularities in the NEET undergraduate exam. On Tuesday, UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar had tweeted that the UGC-NET June 2024 was successfully conducted. However, he did not respond to calls after the cancellation announcement.

The Ministry’s statement mentioned receiving adverse inputs from the National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs, suggesting that irregularities were noticed at some exam centers. The cancellation affects all 9,08,580 candidates, indicating that the compromise likely involved the first paper, which is common to all examinees.

UGC-NET consists of two papers: the first is common for all candidates, and the second is subject-specific. The exam, lasting three hours, includes 150 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). It is held twice a year, in June and December, and has been computer-based since December 2018, but this year it returned to pen-and-paper format to accommodate more rural exam centers.

Opposition parties criticized the government’s decision. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge called it a “victory for the spirit of millions of students” and a defeat of the Modi government’s arrogance. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi plans to meet some NEET aspirants, and the party will raise the issue in Parliament. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi also condemned the government, highlighting the impact on students and the need for accountability.


ALSO READ | DOST 2nd Phase: Commerce Top, 41K Seats Allotted