The NET Exam Is Ruining Higher Education in India

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), November 27, 2017 | Go to article overview

The NET Exam Is Ruining Higher Education in India


NEW DELHI, Nov. 27 -- The NET exam is conducted by the CBSE for the University Grants Commission (UGC) for eligibility for the teaching position of Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowships in Indian colleges. The exam has three objectivetype papers, one on teaching and research aptitude and two on subject knowledge.

There needs to be a debate on the relevance of this objective-type exam. In subjects in the humanities and social sciences, the NET is grossly inadequate to assess either the research potential or the teaching aptitude of candidates. Reducing teaching and research to multiple-choice questions takes away from the nuance of these disciplines. The exam doesn't even take into account interdisciplinarity; and hence many students, who study disciplines such as development studies, which aren't so called 'core' disciplines are affected. They cannot even take the exam in the field of their study and have to resort to appearing in allied disciplines. Many studies have indicated the poor quality of research in India. This model of gauging research and teaching ability is in need of urgent overhaul.

Many universities have made qualifying NET mandatory for pursuing doctoral research. This seems bizarre to me because an exam such as this cannot possibly test the applicant's readiness for research. Research potential must be tested on the parameters of a sound research proposal, knowledge of the discipline and methodology. India needs to shift to a model that can ensure more rigour and transparency after enrolling for a PhD. …

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