The Central Board of Secondary Education has proposed conducting the National Eligibility Test (NET), a qualifying exam for recruitment of college and university teachers, once a year due to the poor response it received. The Board had last year conveyed its inability to conduct NET with its hands being full, however, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed it to continue the practice for now. According to sources, the proposal, which is at a very nascent stage, is being considered keeping in mind the resources required to conduct the exam as well as the number of candidates appearing for it.
“While conducting the exam once a year will make candidates more serious about it, resources can also be utilised judiciously as holding a national-level exam is a massive exercise. However, the idea is at a very nascent stage,” a source said. “The CBSE has proposed the idea keeping in mind that only 17 per cent of the registered candidates take the exam and only four per cent of them clear it,” the source added. At present, NET is held twice a year — in July and December — for the grant of junior research fellowship. Also, it is a qualifying exam for recruitment of assistant professors in universities and colleges.
CBSE had last year approached the HRD Ministry expressing its inability to conduct the exam due to capacity crunch as it was overburdened with other tests such as the JEE-MAIN and NEET for under-graduate engineering and medical courses respectively. While the ministry had not issued any guidelines in this regard, the CBSE is still to issue a notification for the exam scheduled in July, which is usually out by April first week. Scores of students had protested outside the UGC last week demanding that the uncertainty over the exam be cleared and a notification issued.
“The CBSE had approached the HRD Ministry expressing their inability. We had a meeting with HRD officials over the issue recently and it was decided that the board will conduct the exam in July without any delay,” a senior UGC official said. “The arrangement is likely to continue till the proposed National Testing Service (NTS) is set up by the government for the conduct of all exams,” he said. NET was conducted by the UGC till 2014 following which the job was handed over to the CBSE.