The Union Grant Commission (UGC) has revised the eligibility requirements for the National Eligibility Test (NET). The decision was taken in a recent meeting of higher education regulator. With the on-going debate on the reservation, the University Grants Commission has finally decided to change the selection norm for students appearing for NET.

According to the new update, only 6% of the previously 15% will be declared qualified for NET 2017. This was done to ensure equal opportunities for general category. This UGC decision came after a petition was filed in Kerala HC. The petitioners argued that the current policy was unfair and biased to the candidates belonging to the general category. The lower minimum marks for the reserved category has led to more candidates with minimum marks, qualifying for assistant professor than the number of candidates from general category.

As per the current eligibility criteria, only top 15% candidates among SC, ST, OBC, and PwD category are included in merit list. These candidates are declared qualified for the assistant professor post. The reserved policy prescribe lower minimum marks for qualification to these students. The merit list for secured minimum score is also prepared subject and reserved category wise.

While HC was in favor of this healthy discrimination by way of relaxed minimum marks for reserved category, the data trends over the last two decades show unusual figures that point to out the unfairness, which is hard to ignore.

Following the Kerala HC order, the UGC set up a committee that has scanned NET exam data. After examining the trends over the last 20 years, the committee analysed  that approximately 5.5 – 6% candidates from reserved category anyways manage to qualify NET. Hence, it was recommend that a new reservation policy be formulated.

The new UGC decision will soon be communicated to CBSE. The Central Board of Secondary Education conducts NET on behalf of UGC. This year, the exam will be held on November 19, 2017. The application process for this year’s NET will begin on August 01. The last date for application submission will be August 30, 2017.

As per latest reports from media, UGC NET will be held once a year from 2018. Earlier,it was informed that from this year NET would be suspended in July, in the light of CBSE being busy conducting other important exams at the same time. However, UGC Chairman suspended all this confusion by issuing an official statement informing that UGC NET would be conducted in July 2017 as per the schedule.   

NET is a selection test for candidates applying for Junior Research Fellowship and Assistant Professor in Indian universities and colleges. Central Board of Secondary Education conducts NET in 84 subjects at 90 selected NET Examination Cities spread across the country.

UGC NET is conducted in three sessions wherein students have to appear for three different papers i.e Paper I, II, and III. Candidates need to appear for each paper in order to qualify the exam. Candidates with atleast 55% score in Master’s Degree or equivalent examination from universities/institutions recognised by UGC are eligible for this test. Candidates belonging to reserved category need to secure at least 50% marks for the eligibility.

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  1. If NET will be conducted in July 2017 as scheduled, how are we supposed to apply for it now? There is no official notice regarding this on the website.

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