UGC-NET Aspirants Allege Paper Leak, Day After Their Exam Got Scrapped

Over nine lakh candidates appeared for the UGC-NET exam in OMR (pen and paper) on Tuesday.


Student protests have rocked university campuses across the country after the government scrapped the UGC-NET exam, which is held to fill Assistant Professor posts in universities and colleges and to determine eligibility for junior research fellowships.

The Education ministry said yesterday its June exam of the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) was scrapped after inputs that indicate that "the integrity of the examination may have been compromised".

Students at Lucknow University, however, claimed that their Paper-1 was leaked and were being sold for Rs 5,000-Rs 10,000 through WhatsApp and Telegram groups since the evening of June 16. They said they even flagged the matter online, but the UGC took no action.

"Instead of cancelling the exam, they stood by their decision to go ahead with it. The result was that the exam had to be cancelled in the end," said a student.

Over nine lakh candidates on Tuesday appeared for the UGC-NET exam in OMR (pen and paper) on Tuesday. But they were not provided a carbon copy with the OMR, the students claimed.

"If we had the carbon copy, we could have challenged the NTA," they said.

The students also shared with NDTV the psychological pressure they face due to their age as their families wait for them to get employed.

"NET candidates are of the age where they are expected to start earning. At this level, when papers are cancelled or leaked, where will such aspirants go? We cannot even do jobs. We are allotted exam centres far away which makes it difficult to get public transportation. Where will we get money for cabs?" asked a student.

They said they had to brave the extreme summer heat to reach far-away exam centres at afternoon - the hottest time of the day - only to be informed a day later that their efforts were all in vain.

"We come and study at the university in this heat. We prepare for six months and then we are allotted exam centres 12-20 km away. We travel all the way in this heat, and after the exam, we get to know that it was leaked. I think the papers are leaked much ahead. It is like a movie, which is first made and released at a later date," said another.

The National Testing Agency, which conducts the University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test, is already embroiled in a controversy over irregularities in the NEET medical entrance exams.

The NEET row pertains to the allegations of a paper leak and grace marks awarded to over 1,500 aspirants. While the grace marks were later scrapped and the students were offered a re-test, paper leak was denied by the education minister. This morning, however, four men arrested in Bihar admitted their role in the paper leak case.