Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas writes to education minister, raises concerns over NEET, UGC NET

Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas criticised the NEET, UGC-NET, highlighting issues such as paper leaks, arbitrary awarding of grace marks and "saffronisation" of exam content.

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Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas criticised the recent UGC decision mandating the use of NET scores for PhD admissions. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas criticised the recent UGC decision mandating the use of NET scores for PhD admissions. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Press Trust of India | June 21, 2024 | 10:29 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Amid the continuing controversy around exams conducted by the NTA, Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas on Friday wrote to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan raising concerns over the NEET and UGC-NET exams and alleging saffronisation of education under the BJP-led government.

In his letter to Pradhan, CPI(M) MP Brittas urged him to discontinue the centralised NEET, limiting its scope to central medical institutions like AIIMS, PGIMER and JIPMER. He also called for a comprehensive review of NET to restore the autonomy of the universities and uphold the academic standards and transparency.

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He criticised the NEET and UGC-NET, highlighting issues such as question paper leaks, arbitrary awarding of grace marks and the "saffronisation" of examination content. "It is the need of the hour to discontinue the centralised NEET, limiting its scope to central medical Institutions like AIIMS, PGIMER, JIPMER, etc. Similarly, it is also imperative to have a comprehensive review of the NET to restore the autonomy of universities and to uphold the academic standards and transparency," Brittas said.

"States and Universities are better positioned to address the diverse educational needs and challenges of their students. Allowing them to administer their own exams will ensure a more equitable, contextualised and effective evaluation process," he said in the letter.

Also read ‘Revoke UGC NET criterion for PhD admission’: Students, professors on disruption of academic cycle

'Saffronisation' of education

The Rajya Sabha MP underscored the "detrimental impact" of these exams on the federal structure and the autonomy of state educational institutions, while also noting the "disproportionate favouritism" of NEET towards the CBSE curriculum to the disadvantage of state board students and economically weaker sections, the promotion of costly extra coaching and the consequent erosion of equal educational opportunities.

He criticised the recent UGC decision mandating the use of NET scores for PhD admissions from the 2024-25 academic session onwards, replacing entrance tests conducted by various central, state, private and deemed universities.

Raising concerns over "saffronisation" of education, he mentioned recent NET questions for performing arts, which included content such as the Pran Prathishta date of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the composition of the 'Prasthan Trayi' of Hindu Philosophy, the appearance of Lord Hanuman in Ramacharit Manas and the beheading of a warrior in the Mahabharata who remained alive to witness the Kurukshetra war.

Also read CSIR UGC NET 2024 postponed due to ‘unavoidable circumstances, logistic issues’: NTA

UGC NET, NEET row

The UGC cancelled the UGC-NET examination on Wednesday, a day after it was held. The UGC-NET is a test to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for the award of junior research fellowship for appointment as assistant professors and admission to PhD in Indian universities and colleges.

The decision by the ministry comes amid a massive row on the medical entrance exam NEET over alleged irregularities, with the issue now before the Supreme Court. NEET is a nationwide entrance examination conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for admission in undergraduate medical programs.

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