Anxiety grips lakhs of NET aspirants as exam stands cancelled

The cancellation has caused significant stress and financial distress to students, also impacting their further studies.
Aspirants search their roll numbers for seats before entering an examination center to appear in the UGC-NET exam, at AN college in Patna, Tuesday, June 18, 2024.
Aspirants search their roll numbers for seats before entering an examination center to appear in the UGC-NET exam, at AN college in Patna, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: As many as 11,21,225 aspirants registered for UGC-NET 2024. Among them 81% appeared at the 1,205 centres across 317 cities to take the June 18 exam. 24 hours later, an education ministry statement circulated on social media, annuled the exam, sending the efforts and preparations of over a lakh candidates down the drain.

The UGC-NET exam for selecting candidates for the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Assistant Professor positions, has been cancelled. “There have been indications of irregularities in the examination conducted by the NTA, due to which the UGC-NET 2024 held on June 18 stands cancelled. The exam will be rescheduled. Information regarding the new exam date will be published on the website,” the education ministry declared.

But for those who have been preparing extensively for the test, its sudden cancellation and the surrounding doubts over alleged irregularities has come as a shock.

“I wanted to work in education/research filed in Political Science, but circumstances have forced me to look for a job. I hoped to take the test from my hometown Thiruvananthapuram after my final semester exams and then return to Hyderabad for job interviews. But NTA scheduled the exam in mid-June, foiling my plans,” Anandu, a recent postgraduate from Hyderabad Central University, shares his frustration.

“This forced me to try changing my exam centre to Hyderabad. But the correction window didn’t allow changing centre. Emails and calls to the NTA were futile,” he added.

Skipping job interviews, Anandu appeared for the UGC NET exam on June 18, only to find a day later that the exam stood cancelled.

The cancellation has caused significant stress and financial distress to students, also impacting their further studies.

Manisha, a PhD scholar at Ambedkar University shares, “This is the third year of my PhD. So far, I have been receiving a non-NET fellowship. I need the JRF and complete my thesis. I had put all my energy into preparing for this exam and was hopeful that I would clear the JRF. The exam went well. Then, it was cancelled.”

“I was receiving Rs 8,000 as non-NET fellowship; one can hardly sustain themselves in Delhi with that, let alone complete a PhD. I might have to take up a job,” she laments.

Uncertainty prevails

Candidates complained of lack of clarity on part of the NTA, saying there is much doubt over when the exam shall be rescheduled, casting futures into uncertainty

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