Students sitting for a national exam to pursue a career in teaching or research will now be able ask for old questions papers and take the biannual test online.
Millions of students take the National Eligibility Test (NET) which is mandatory for lectureship and award of junior research fellowship. The examinees, however, aren’t allowed to take away the question paper. But now, students can now file an RTI plea and get old test papers.
In a landmark order, the Central Information Commission (CIC) brushed aside the reservations of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — country’s premier research and development body — that making old question papers available will affect its plan to hold the test online, which it plans to do shortly. The CSIR conducts the test for science subjects.
It told the CIC it had put together a question bank, picking up suitable questions from previous exams. “The online question bank, if exposed, would bring the online examination system to a standstill,” it said.
Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi rejected the argument, saying if academics felt that their system wasn’t testing the fundamental understanding and was instead encouraging learning by rote, then those setting the papers needed to challenge themselves. The CIC directed the CSIR to provide copies of the question papers to RTI applicant Mony Singla, from Haryana, before April 25.