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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau, PTI

UGC proposes NET for PhD admissions too, students slam move

Bringing a marking system in the National Eligibility Test (NET) and taking a step towards ending the entrance examinations conducted by universities for the PhD programmes, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to make the NET as “one national entrance test” for PhD admissions.

UGC Chairman M. Jagadesh Kumar said in a statement here on Thursday that from the upcoming academic session of 2024-2025, the universities in the country will have the opportunity to utilise NET scores for admissions to PhD programmes, replacing the need for separate entrance tests conducted by individual universities and higher education institutions (HEIs). “This marks an important step in streamlining the admissions process and enhancing accessibility for aspiring doctoral candidates,” he claimed.

UGC Secretary Manish Joshi said in a public notice sent to all universities and HEIs that the UGC had constituted an expert committee to review the provisions of the NET and based on its recommendations the UGC decided on March 13 that the NET score could be used for PhD admissions. He said the NET candidates will be declared eligible in three categories, such as admission to PhD with Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), eligible to be appointed as Assistant Professor and only for PhD programmes.

Prof. Joshi added in the notice that the result of the NET will be declared in percentile along with the marks obtained by a candidate to utilise the marks for admission to PhD. Students who qualify for NET and PhD eligibility will get 70% weightage for test scores and 30% weightage for the interview for admission to PhD programmes. Prof. Kumar said the new initiative is poised to benefit students in numerous ways such as eliminating the need for students to prepare and appear for multiple entrance tests conducted by different universities, and providing increased opportunities as the NET is conducted biannually by the UGC.

The students’ organisations, however, said the notice is exclusionary and makes NET mandatory for PhD admissions. “This centralised mandate of making NET a compulsory criteria for PhD across the country in all the institutions, is likely to see the removal of university level entrance tests for PhD, thus negatively affecting the autonomy of institutions as well as the opportunity of students attain eligibility for PhD in more than one way,” Students Federation of India (SFI) said in a statement.

“Above all this, the validity of the certificate of qualifying NET has been reduced to one year from the previously stated two years. This will rob many applicants of the opportunity to apply for PhD across the country and will force the aspiring researchers to cut down time from working on their research proposal (which forms the core of their PhD) and focus more on cracking the entrance test again and again like a machine,” the SFI said.

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