UGC-NET Exam Cancelled: Integrity Compromised, 9 Lakh Students Affected.

Late Wednesday night, the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced the cancellation of the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET), affecting over 9 lakh candidates who had appeared across 317 cities just a day earlier. The decision came after the Union Ministry of Home Affairs raised concerns that the integrity of the examination might have been compromised.

UGC-NET serves as a crucial gateway for entry-level teaching positions in Indian universities and for admissions to PhD programs. This cancellation marks the first instance of scrapping a centrally-conducted public examination since the introduction of a new anti-paper leak law by the Centre.

In response to the alleged compromise, the MoE has entrusted the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Details about a possible re-examination will be communicated separately.

Following the cancellation of the UGC-NET exam due to integrity concerns, the Ministry of Education’s decision may fall under the newly enacted Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act passed in February 2024. This legislation imposes severe penalties, including up to three to five years in prison and fines up to Rs 10 lakh, on individuals involved in unfair means during exams.

The announcement surprised officials at the National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for conducting UGC-NET, which has faced criticism for alleged irregularities in other exams it administers, such as the NEET undergraduate exam for MBBS admissions.

This summary highlights the potential legal implications under the new law and the context of ongoing scrutiny faced by the NTA in exam conduct.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar tweeted on Tuesday evening that the National Testing Agency (NTA) had “successfully conducted UGC-NET June 2024.” However, this statement contrasts sharply with the Ministry of Education’s subsequent decision to cancel the exam due to integrity concerns, announced late Wednesday night.

Kumar, who did not respond to calls on Wednesday night, did not provide further clarification regarding the apparent discrepancy between his tweet and the ministry’s action.

This summary emphasizes the conflicting information regarding the status of the UGC-NET exam and the lack of clarity from UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar following the Ministry of Education’s cancellation announcement.

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