Anger over NET exam cancellation: Students protest at LU, demand NTA be scrapped, Pradhan’s resignation - Hindustan Times
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Anger over NET exam cancellation: Students protest at LU, demand NTA be scrapped, Pradhan’s resignation

By, Lucknow
Jun 20, 2024 08:03 PM IST

The cancellation of the test led to protests by various students’ organisations here on the Lucknow University campus

Thousands of UGC NET candidates who took the exam on June 18, are disappointed after the education ministry announced the cancellation of their test on Wednesday due to the integrity of the examination being compromised.

Student organisations protesting on the LU campus on Thursday (Mushtaq Ali/HT)
Student organisations protesting on the LU campus on Thursday (Mushtaq Ali/HT)

The cancellation of the test led to protests by various students’ organisations here on the Lucknow University campus.

The Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, All India Students Association, NSUI and Students Federation of India (SFI) jointly staged a protest at Lucknow University to oppose paper leak in UGC NET exam and its cancellation. Protesters were demanding resignation of Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan, said Abhishek Kumar of SFI. Police detained 12 protesters from the campus and got the area vacated. They were detained at Eco Garden.

Vishal Singh of the NSUI and Kanchi Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha said, “We want education minister Dharmendra Pradhan to resign; NTA should be dismantled immediately and the UGC chief should be removed. NET Exam should be held online, and the ministry of education should conduct the exam.”

“As the future of the students of the country is in danger due to continuous leak of papers, we demand that the Union government dismantle the National Testing Agency (NTA) and the education ministry should itself conduct the exam. Due to paper leak, the future of the current generation is getting ruined,” said Mahendra Kumar Yadav, UGC Net candidate and vice-president, Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha.

He said, “Continuously giving the responsibility of conducting exams to a corrupt institution like NTA, one gets a sense that there is a big scam. Like lakhs of students, it was my third attempt in which I was expected to get JRF, but due to the cancellation of the exam, my future is also in danger.”

Student leaders alleged that when the students of Lucknow University protested against paper leak, they were arrested. Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, NSUI, SFI, AISA condemned and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

Their demand is that action should be taken against culprits and the responsibility of the exam should be taken by the ministry of education.

AISA statement

All India Students Association (AISA) members alleged that the series of paper leaks in exams conducted by the NTA once again highlights its incompetence, the burden of which falls entirely on students.

The NEET (UG) scam is a recent example that has shaken students’ trust in higher-level entrance examinations. The UGC-NET leak again testifies to the NTA’s absolute incapability of handling such important responsibilities.

“Notably, this was the first test conducted by the NTA after the UGC declared that NET would be the single exam for admission to PhD programs nationwide,” said Nilasis Bose, president, AISA and Prasenjeet Kumar, general secretary, AISA.

AISA criticised the move, as it centralises, commercialises, and curtails the overall opportunities available to students, turning the admission process into a “one-size-fits-all” examination.

This centralisation of exams for different courses has primarily served the purpose of profiteering by commercial entities amidst severe competition, they said.

The ministry of education has stated that the inquiry into this matter will be handed over to the CBI, but the credibility of the CBI has been undermined since the Modi government came to power, capturing these institutions to serve BJP-RSS’s petty agenda of suppressing dissent and opposition, they added.

“We demand an independent judicial inquiry under the supervision of a retired senior judge, not only to investigate this specific leak but also to address the overall inefficiency of the NTA,” AISA workers said.

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