UGC NET notification on research fellowships for minority candidates runs into trouble

UGC NET – The last week’s University Grants Commissions’ announcement about the research fellowships for minority candidates became a controversy as a slew of researchers, and student organizations had challenged it. They took exception to the UGC notification and the very logic for making NET as criteria in organization and its December 2017 and June 2018 examinations in particular for the Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF) awards, an NDTV report said.

The higher education regulator, University Grants Commission had last week invited applications for awarding 1,000 MANF scholarship for minority students for the academic year 2018-19, after a protracted gap of two years. What is more, an earlier notification by the UGC had firmed up qualifying National Eligibility Test (NET) as criteria for the fellowship, noted the report.

Nahas Mala, president of a student body, said all criteria regarding MANF scholarship indicate UGC’s arrogance and minority students felt humiliated by this notification.

“As per the new notification, only those who qualified NET in December 2017 and June 2018 only can apply. Many scholars who have qualified in earlier NET exams will face trouble,” Mr. Nahas from Students Islamic Organisation said.

“What is the logic behind making UGC NET December 2017/June 2018 as the criteria to apply for the fellowship? What mistake has been made by those who had qualified it in the previous time? On” a research scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University who is planning to apply asked.

“Was there any difference in between the NET exams conducted during those times and the previous ones regarding indicating candidates’ merit?” he wondered.

Mr. Nahas also added that the organisation will continue its struggle with its earlier demand for increasing the number of fellowships to 3,000 and the demand for dismantling the criteria of CBSE-UGC NET for MANF.

NET Ambiguity

Meanwhile, another sub-criteria regarding NET clearance released by the UGC has also created ambiguity among applicants, said the report. “The candidates who have qualified CBSE-UGC-NET/JRF/CSIR-NET/JRF held in December 2017 and June 2018 are eligible to apply,” said the UGC notification released on December 10. But, the CSIR NET examinations were held on December 17 and June 28 while UGC NET examinations were conducted in November 2017 and July 2018. CSIR NET is conducted for the Science students while UGC NET is organized for the students belonging to Humanities background. “How many competitive examinations I need to qualify before getting a scholarship from the government? I am a science researcher, and I am here after qualifying GATE and JEST,” an applicant is quoted as saying by the report. Another researcher told the channel about the time window provided for the applications. The applicants have been asked to submit the forms in 20 days.

“Why is there only a gestation period of 20 days for applying? That too, in December, when students and faculties go for vacation and field works. In universities, to get signatures of supervisors, chairpersons, deans, and registrars, it takes ages, he questioned the rationale behind this haphazard decision.

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