The human resource development, or HRD, ministry plans to outsource National Eligibility Test (NET) to external testing companies to make their conduct more professional. NET is conducted for determining the eligibility of candidates for junior research fellowships and lectureships at various Indian universities and colleges.
On Wednesday, 31-July-2013, the UGC would consider the ministry's proposal in its full commission meeting. The ministry wants a serious review of NET. Every year more and more complaints are coming. Moreover, there is a need to review the entire system and outsource the test to a professional body. The UGC has already constituted a two-member panel to carry out a comprehensive review of the NET, including formatting of examination and support system.
“We have undertaken a few rounds of meetings with concerned stakeholders,” said a senior HRD ministry official, who did not want to be named. “Everybody feels that academic institutes and academicians should not get involved in too much logistical works like conducting entrance exams as it takes away their research and teaching time.”
The ministry has already held initial discussions with two private test-conducting companies to structure the tests in a manner “which is perceived to be transparent, fair, reasonable and reliable”, the official said.
The ministry said that outsourcing will allow NET to be conducted more than twice a year. This will help create a large pool of teachers for Indian universities as the university system is facing a teacher shortage in excess of 30%. With the government planning to increase higher education enrolment by some 10 million in the next five years, the demand for teachers will rise further.