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UGC mandating NET qualification for PhD entrance disastrous for marginalised sections

The All-India Democratic Students Organisation statement denouncing the UGC notice, dated 27.03.2024, mandating NET qualification for PhD entrance from the academic year 2024-25 onwards:
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We are dismayed by the UGC circular that essentially mandates the universities and higher education institutions to adopt NET score as the sole criteria for PhD interview. The government, hell bent on imposing the deplorable NEP 2020, and on submitting the interests of education and research at the feet of national and international education mafia, has chosen to ignore the persistent voice of the stakeholders and members of the public before taking this disastrous decision.
Despite all shortcomings, the public funded institutions including universities have functioned with an aim to provide an opportunity for the marginalised section to get education. While the founding principles may have been watered down over the years, it cannot be denied that many scholars belonging to different underprivileged sections (based on income, religion, caste, region, language, gender, physical ability etc.) have had access to quality education because the universities have defined measures to diminish the adverse effects of all these differences on their education. Even though there is a huge unwelcoming disparity in fellowships among NET-JRF and university RET scholars, once a scholar overcomes all the hurdles to receive a PhD degree, he or she is treated nearly at par with any other scholar. This will no longer be so.
Making NET mandatory will summarily eliminate several aspirants as they cannot access the expensive coaching industry which has now become an essential gateway for NET. The online and MCQ mode of the examination will certainly add to the count of those eliminated. Further, the notification creates three categories of NET qualification, of which only those qualified for JRF are eligible for fellowship. This only serves to legitimise and accentuate discrimination among scholars. It is very clear that the ruling class will do everything to curtail the highly educated workforce and alienate the student community from vibrant research. This is exactly what would happen through this UGC directive.
AIDSO strongly condemns this sinister move. We call upon all students and well meaning people to rise in unison, foil the destructive ploy and compel the government to take back this directive immediately and provide robust funding, infrastructure and equitable fellowship for research.
--- Rimmi Vaghela, Secretary, Gujarat State Committee, AIDSO

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