Explained | Govt Sets Up panel to Plan Exam Reforms

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in the News?
  • About National Testing Agency (NTA)
  • About the NEET-UG Results Controversy
  • News Summary
  • Expert Committee to Recommend Changes in NTA’s Functioning

Why in the News?

  • Hours after announcing an expert committee to suggest changes for exams and review the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Union government removed Subodh Kumar Singh from his position as NTA chief.
  • This decision came as another exam, the NEET PG scheduled for June 23, has also been put on hold, impacting around 200,000 candidates.
  • Additionally, the Education Ministry announced that the CBI, already investigating the UGC-NET paper leak, will also look into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of NEET-UG.

About National Testing Agency (NTA)

  • The NTA is an autonomous organization in India responsible for conducting entrance examinations for higher educational institutions.
  • The NTA was established in November 2017 by the Ministry of Education to standardize and streamline the conduct of entrance exams across the country.
  • Objective: To improve the quality and transparency of entrance examinations, ensuring fairness and efficiency in the assessment process.
  • Functions:
    • Conducting Exams: The NTA conducts various national-level entrance examinations for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
    • Developing Question Papers: The NTA is responsible for developing high-quality question papers.
    • Result Processing: The NTA processes examination results efficiently, ensuring timely release of scores and ranks.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Overall, the National Testing Agency plays a crucial role in India's education system by providing a reliable, transparent, and efficient framework for conducting entrance examinations.

About the NEET-UG Results Controversy

  • On June 4, the National Testing Agency (NTA) released the results for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, Undergraduate (NEET UG) 2024 examination.
  • Approximately 2.4 million candidates participated in the NEET UG test held on May 5 across 571 cities, including 14 centers outside India.
  • The exam sought to fill the 1,08,940 available MBBS seats distributed among more than 700 medical institutions nationwide.
  • Allegations:
    • Post evaluation, there have been complaints about the unusually high number of students (67) who hit the perfect score of 720/720.
    • Also, there are complaints about students who scored “statistically impossible” marks, while some cases of cheating by proxy were also reported.
    • Other cases pertaining to the question paper leak are still to be heard by the Supreme Court.
  • These charges led to nationwide protests from students and political parties.
  • Both groups are demanding a fair investigation and a fresh NEET exam, citing concerns about a question paper leak that may have given some students an unfair advantage.
  • Experts and students argue that the integrity of NEET, designed to regulate medical admissions and ensure quality, was compromised by these reported violations.
  • The Supreme Court, subsequently, declared the NEET-UG examination as void and asked the Government to form a committee.

News Summary

  • Hours after announcing an expert committee to suggest changes for exams and review the National Testing Agency (NTA), the Union government removed Subodh Kumar Singh from his role as NTA chief and placed him on "compulsory wait" in the Department of Personnel and Training.
  • This decision coincided with the postponement of the NEET PG exam, affecting around 2 lakh candidates.
  • The Education Ministry later announced that the CBI, already investigating the UGC-NET paper leak, will also look into alleged irregularities in NEET-UG.
    • The Health Ministry postponed the NEET-PG exam, which is crucial for admissions to postgraduate medical programs, to assess the integrity of the examination process.
    • The Education Ministry also postponed the CSIR-UGC NET for similar reasons.

Expert Committee to Recommend Changes in NTA’s Functioning

  • An expert committee, chaired by former ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan, has been formed to recommend exam reforms and data security protocols, and to review NTA's structure and functioning.
  • The committee aims to improve the examination process, prevent malpractice, and strengthen NTA's protocols and structure.
  • The committee, including prominent academics and experts, has two months to submit its recommendations.

Q1. What is the purpose of the UGC NET examination?

UGC-NET is a test to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for ' Assistant Professor' and 'Junior Research Fellowship and Assistant Professor ' in Indian universities and colleges.

Q2. When was UGC established?

The University Grants Commission (UGC) came into existence on 28th December, 1953 and became a statutory Organization of the Government of India by an Act of Parliament in 1956, for the coordination,determination and maintenance of standards of teaching, examination and research in university education.

Source: NTA chief moved out, Govt sets up panel under ISRO ex-chief to plan exam reforms