ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caught in NET

As a continuation of the debate on University Grants Commission- National Eligibility Test, this response argues that NET is only a symptom of the larger disease that plagues the system of higher education in our country. What is at issue is the disregard of secular and progressive ideals and the arrogance that marks such indifference. These must be thoroughly challenged.

Sexist questions in the recently concluded University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) June 2013 examination sparked an outrage for the right reasons. The stereotypes perpetuated by the NET examination tend to make a mockery of the aspirations and intellect of thousands of students. Instead of transforming the examination into one that engages students with the wider developments in their respective disciplines, questions in the NET continue to promote appalling and dangerous tendencies. The questions provided have not only been sexist in nature, as exemplified in this year’s examination, but a brief look at previous years reveals the long-standing presence of socially-insensitive and antiquated questions.

The article titled “The NET Paradox” (EPW, 23 November 2013) by Amar Farooqui, a well-known historian, has opened up the contours of a much-needed scrutiny of the NET examination which seeks to assess “eligible” teachers. We hope scholars and students alike will join in a renewed and reinvigorated public debate without which dissent is likely to fall on deaf ears. We briefly touch upon a few highly problematic trends visible in the NET history and general examination papers.

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