UGC’s new criteria for clearing NET

With the introduction of the new criteria in NET, candidates must figure in the top 15% among all in the consideration zone,

– Writes J Madegowda

When the National Educational Testing (NET) Bureau of University Grants Commission (UGC) notified the result of the UGC National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and eligibility of Lecturership held on 24th June, 2012, there were a large number of apprehensions, criticisms, and comments among those who appeared for the test. Few candidates even approached the courts (High Court of Kerala and also the Supreme Court of India) and the Courts delivered judgements against the procedure followed by the Bureau for notification of successful candidates in the test. Now the available information states that the Bureau has gone in for appeal against the judgement/s. However, after the Courts’ judgements, the Bureau has thoroughly revised the criteria to be applied for preparing the list of successful candidates. In this background, the author makes an attempt to present the pre-revised and revised criteria for clearance of UGC’s NET.

Stages in the Finalization of Successful Candidates: It may be noted here that there is no change in the syllabi, question paper pattern, maximum marks, examination duration, etc. The only change made in the recent revision is in the area of criteria for declaration of successful candidates. In both the cases (i.e., pre-revised and revised criteria), there are two stages – paper-wise minimum and overall minimum. There is no change in the first stage (i.e., in the paper-wise minimum) and changes are made only with respect to the second stage.

Stage – I: Paper-wise Minimum – Consideration Zone: The candidate has to secure atleast the minimum prescribed for each of the three papers to qualify for the next stage (i.e., for possible consideration for inclusion in the list of successful candidates). This paper-wise minimum is same for all disciplines such as Commerce, Tourism Administration, English, etc. However, the paper-wise minimum differs from one category of candidates to another slightly. For this purpose, the candidates are grouped into three as (1) General Category, (2) OBC (non-creamy layer), and (3) SC/ST/PWD (persons with disability). The candidates belonging to General Category have to secure atleast 40% in each of Papers – I and II, and 50% in Paper – III. In the case of candidates belonging to OBC, SC, ST or PWD, they have to secure atleast 35% in each of the Papers – I and II. However, OBC candidates have secure atleast 45% in Paper – III whereas it is only 40% in the case of SC/ST. These are the minimum percentages one has to secure in each paper to qualify for the next step. The candidates who secure the minimum in each paper are in ‘consideration zone’ (i.e., for consideration for the final list). If a candidate fails to secure the minimum even in one paper, he/she is considered as not in consideration zone and therefore, will not be considered for possible inclusion in the final list. As far as this step is concerned, the Bureau has not made any change in its revised criteria for declaration of result.

Stage – II: Overall Minimum – Safe Zone: This is the second and final stage. And with respect to this stage, the Bureau has made some changes after the Courts delivered their judgements. Therefore, it is analyzed in two parts – pre-revised and revised. Overall minimum in the pre-revised criteria was applicable to all previous tests held prior to December 2012 test. While notifying the result of the test held on 24th June, 2012, the Bureau, based on the decision of the Moderation Committee, fixed overall minimum as 65%, 60% and 55% for General Category, OBC (non-creamy layer), and SC/ST/PWD respectively.

For the announcement of result of NET held in the month of June 2012, the Bureau has also considered another criterion viz., the candidates who figure among top 7% of all candidates who appeared in NET are considered as successfully clearing the test – this is calculated separately for each discipline and for each category. Therefore, cut-off rate differed not only from one category to another but also from one discipline to another. However, what is important is that for successful clearance, one should have secured the paper-wise minimum. Therefore, the candidates who do not secure the minimum required score in each paper and are therefore not in the consideration zone were not included in the list of successful candidates even if they fall among the top 7% within their subject and category. Of course, this criterion was not known to many candidates.

Anyhow, at this stage, two things may be noted. One, only the candidates in the ‘consideration zone’ (i.e., those who secured the paper-wise minimum) are considered for the final stage. And two, this overall minimum is the point of concern for majority of the candidates. Because, many cleared the first stage and they were in the ‘consideration zone’. However, they could not clear the test as the overall minimum was higher than the average of the paper-wise minimum – e.g., average of paper-wise minimum for General Category candidates works out to 44.29% [i.e., (40 + 40 + 75) ÷ 350] as against the overall fixed of 65%. That means, all the candidates who secured the paper-wise minimum (and therefore, were in the ‘consideration zone’) and above but less-than 65% (in all the three papers put together) were unsuccessful in their attempt to clear the NET.

Similar type of situation existed even in the case of OBC (39.42% vs 60%) and SC/ST/PWD (37.14% vs 55%) candidates. This was the bone of contention of the candidates which made them to approach the Courts for justice.

It is given to understand that the Courts have directed the Bureau to announce all the candidates who secured the paper-wise minimum as successfully clearing the NET. And it is also given to understand the Bureau has appealed in the Supreme Court against these judgements. In the meantime, the Bureau has revised the second stage relating the overall minimum for clearing the NET successfully. This is presented and analyzed below.

A merit list of all candidates in the consideration zone (i.e., who secured the paper-wise minimum), both subject-wise and category-wise, will be prepared using the aggregate marks of all the three papers secured by such candidates. That means, for each subject (say, Commerce), three separate lists are prepared – one for all candidates in consideration zone (General Category), second list for OBC (non-creamy layer) candidates in consideration zone, and the third list for SC/ST/PWD candidates in the consideration zone. From this merit list, top 15% of the candidates for each subject and for each category will be declared as NET qualified for eligibility for lecturership. This procedure and criteria are applicable to the NET held in the month of December 2012 and for future tests. This implies two things – one, 85% of the candidates in the consideration zone securing the paper-wise minimum will have to appear again for the test as they will be unsuccessful in the final stage, and two, the cut-off percentage differs not only from one category to another but also from one subject to another.

From this NET qualified candidates’ list, a separate list will be prepared for the award of JRF. However, the Bureau has not specified the cut-off percentage for the JRF.


In the light of the above changes introduced by the UGC, the candidates must be very serious in their studies not only to secure the paper-wise minimum but also to figure in the top 15% of the candidates in the consideration zone. And of course, it is not an impossible task provided the candidates are serious, sincere, and systematic in their studies and preparation for the test.

(The writer is professor and chairman, Department of Commerce, Kuvempu University)

Courtesy: Deccan Herald

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