New Delhi, Nov. 23-2014: A panel appointed by higher education regulator UGC has suggested reverting to the pre-2012 pattern for the National Eligibility Test that aspiring college teachers have to clear but proposed negative marking for wrong answers in the first two objective-type papers.
The suggestion of the panel, headed by UGC member D. Narasimha Reddy, is likely to be tabled when the University Grants Commission meets next month.
If approved by the regulator and then by the HRD ministry, the existing objective-type pattern of all three NET papers will go back to the system that was in place before 2012, when the first two papers had objective-type questions and the third was subjective.
The change is in the proposal to introduce — for the first time — negative marking in the first two papers.
At present, the eligibility test comprises one paper on general knowledge and two subject-based papers. All papers have objective-type questions. Only if candidates score at least 40 per cent in the GK paper and the first subject-based paper is their third paper evaluated, which decides their rank.
Two of the panellists on the eight-member committee headed by Reddy said the changes had been suggested after speaking to various stakeholders, including students, teachers and experts across seven cities over the past two years.
“The overall feedback we got was that only an objective-type test cannot assess whether a candidate is competent to teach,” one of the members said.
While the committee has suggested retaining the three-paper format, with the first based on general knowledge and the last two subject-based, it has recommended essay-type questions for the third paper for humanities and social science subjects. Science-stream candidates will be asked to work out problems.
Candidates will lose one mark for four wrong answers in the first two papers and will be ranked based on the average score of all three papers.
The Reddy committee has also suggested increasing the age limit for Junior Research Fellowship from 28 years to 30 years. There is no age limit for appearing for NET but the top 15 per cent eligible for a stipend under the JRF scheme have to be within 28.
Professor Bhalchandra Mungekar, who was chairman of a committee the HRD ministry had set up in 2007 to study the NET system, said the proposed changes might keep out deserving candidates.
In its report submitted in 2008, the Mungekar panel had recommended setting up another panel to suggest how question papers should be prepared to test the ability of candidates rather than their memory.
“I don’t understand the rationale behind negative marking. The proposal to have a mix of subjective and objective questions will prevent deserving candidates (from taking up teaching)…. Unlike school teachers, college teachers don’t get any formal training. The idea behind the NET is to know whether a candidate has the required skills,” Mungekar said.
Nearly 15,000 students clear the NET, conducted twice a year. Those who qualify are appointed as assistant professors after they clear interviews held by the college concerned.
News courtesy: LINK