Admitting its gaffe, the University Grants Commission (UGC) will check the National Eligibility Test (NET) answer sheets manually after the computer disqualified thousands of students across India for scratch marks or use of whitener on the answer sheets.
This had resulted in about 25,000 students getting the dubious tag of using unfair means in the national examination to select students for post graduate scholarship and appointment in higher education institutions.
After HT pointed out the gaffe, the commission has decided to manually check all the answer sheets of students whose final UGC-NET result showed the code - 666 - meaning that they were disqualified on the ground of using unfair means.
UGC chairperson Ved Prakash told HT that they have decided to take a lenient view as a large number of students come under this category. "All these answer sheets would be manually checked and results would be corrected accordingly," he added.
Two days after UGC declared students’ individual results on October 22, it was found that several students had been disqualified for "use of unfair means".
An examinee Sunaina Sehgal said their invigilator asked them to change the centre code on the admit card as it was incorrect.
"We were asked to use the white fluid in the OMR sheet. Though we communicated our apprehension for using fluid in the OMR sheet, he claimed that the UGC will handle it," she said.
The UGC officials claimed that despite instructions, the students had scratched or use whitener on wrong answers marked on the Optically Marked Readable (OMR) answer sheet.
Many students have been protesting outside the UGC-NET centres in different parts of the country accusing the commission of finding a novel way to keep the number of NET qualifiers to the bare minimum.