Education Ministry orders cancellations of UGC-NET; CBI to probe matter

The exams were held on Tuesday and nearly 10 lakh students took the test.
Last Updated : 19 June 2024, 16:57 IST

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New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Education, in a development late Wednesday night, announced that it has decided to cancel the UGC-NET June 2024 Examination on the “basis of inputs from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)”. The exams were held on Tuesday and nearly 10 lakh students took the test. The matter, the ministry said, is being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The cancellation comes even as the government is in the midst of a controversy over irregularities in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) exams. Questions have been raised over grace marks given to over 1560 students, which was later taken back. Some students have taken the matter to court. After the ministry’s announcement, several Opposition leaders questioned the government’s capabilities.

The cyber security body, which comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, indicated “prima-facie that the integrity of the examination may have been compromised”, the ministry said. “Fresh Examination shall be conducted, for which information shall be shared separately. Matter being handed over to CBI for thorough investigation in the matter,” the ministry said in a statement. “Government is committed to ensure the sanctity of examinations and protect the interest of students.”

The National Testing Agency (NTA) had conducted the UGC-NET June 2024 Examination in OMR (pen and paper) mode on June 18 in two shifts across different cities of the country. And on June 19, the University Grants Commission (UGC) received “certain inputs” from National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit of I4C, the ministry said in a release.

While 11,21,225 candidates registered for the test, about 81% or 9,08,580 candidates took the test in 1205 centres across 317 cities in India.

“These inputs prima-facie indicate that the integrity of the aforesaid examination may have been compromised. To ensure the highest level of transparency and sanctity of the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India has decided that the UGC-NET June

2024 Examination be cancelled,” the ministry said.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge asked PM Modi when will he do ‘NEET pe charcha’ (dicsussion on NEET), instead of carrying on with ‘pariksha pe charcha’ (the PM’s flagship programme for exam preparedness). “This is the defeat of the arrogance of the Modi government due to which they made a despicable attempt to trample the future of our youth,” Kharge said.

The UGC NET exam, or the National Eligibility Test is an entrance exam or eligibility test for the position of assistant professor across higher education institutes such as universities and colleges, as well as for Junior Research Fellowship which comes with a monthly stipend of Rs 37,000 for two years. The test can be taken in 83 subjects.

After the test was conducted on Tuesday, the UGC in a release said that it had introduced for the first time a provision to provide the opportunity of the JRF fellowship to candidates of the four year undergraduate programme as well as admissions to PhD only.

Published 19 June 2024, 16:57 IST

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