Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
Jayanth R.

Karnataka universities and other stakeholders oppose UGC’s decision to make NET scores criteria for PhD admissions across India

State universities and other stakeholders, including educationists and students, have opposed the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) latest decision to make the National Eligibility Test (NET) scores the criteria for admission to Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) across the country, instead of entrance tests at the university level. 

“The decision of the UGC undermines the autonomy of universities to facilitate research. The UGC should not ride over universities just because they provide grants. Examinations, admissions, fees, and other matters for any course, including PhD, should be left to the respective universities,” said one of the Vice-Chancellors of a state university, who wished to remain anonymous. 

“The Union government is trying to destroy all autonomous institutions by implementing a centralised system for admissions. If NET scores become the criteria for admissions to PhD, universities will lose their autonomy over research activities,” another Vice-Chancellor said.

M.C. Sudhakar, Minister for Higher Education, said that the government would soon consult all universities and stakeholders and submit the State’s objections to the UGC’s public notification. “This is a serious concern and the move will be met with a lot of resistance,” he said. 

UGC pitches the move as ‘student friendly’

The UGC conducts the NET twice every year through the National Testing Agency (NTA). These scores are used to award Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and as eligibility for appointment as Assistant Professor for those with a Master’s degree. However, universities conduct independent entrance tests for admission to PhD.

The UGC said the decision to consider NET scores for admission to PhD will help students as one entrance test will serve as criteria for multiple purposes and they need not write multiple entrance tests in each university. A decision to this effect was taken at the 578th meeting of the UGC on March 13.

The UGC has said this was part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) and it will come into effect from the academic year 2024-25. 

‘Making NET the criteria will exclude many’

However, student organisations, like the All-India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), have opposed the move and argued that making NET scores the criteria for PhD admissions will exclude many, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Making NET mandatory will summarily eliminate several aspirants as they cannot access the expensive coaching industry which has now become an essential gateway for NET,” the AIDSO said in a statement, demanding that the Union government roll back this decision immediately. 

Educationist B. Sripad Bhat said that making the NET a prerequisite for admission to PhD will only push out many students from higher education and research. This will also undermine the autonomy of universities, he added.

“The low quality of PhDs is a serious concern. But it is reprehensible to push people out of research instead of a course correction,” he said.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.