College and university teachers associations backed by both Trinamul and the CPM are opposed to the Centre’s decision to “outsource” the task of holding the National Eligibility Test to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The ground for opposition is the perceived lack of experience of the board — which conducts tests at the Class X and XII levels and for undergraduate entry — to hold exams for recruiting college and university teachers and junior research fellows.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), following a directive from the human resource development ministry, had on July 22 decided to hand over the responsibility of holding the National Eligibility Test (NET) to the CBSE.
Till June, the UGC used to conduct the NET twice a year.
The Trinamul-backed West Bengal College and University Professors Association (WBCUPA) and the pro-CPM West Bengal College and University Teachers Association (WBCUTA) have planned to protest the move through separate rallies and movements.
“How can the CBSE test the teaching skills of a candidate who would teach at the undergraduate or postgraduate level? We have requested the UGC to let us know details of the decision. We will launch a movement after we get the reply,” WBCUTA general secretary Srutinath Prahraj said.
WBCUPA general secretary Krishnakali Basu expressed shock over the UGC decision, saying it would never support the move.
“We will soon call a meeting of our members and decide the course of action we need to take to persuade the UGC to reconsider the decision. The standard of education is bound to decline if the UGC does not follow a proper teacher recruitment process,” said Basu.
A UGC official told Metro the decision to entrust the CBSE with holding the NET was final. “The board will conduct the next NET in December,” the official said.
“The CBSE has been efficiently conducting Class X and XII exams, as well as some of the all-India tests for entry to medical and engineering colleges. The commission has developed an effective network for conducting all-India exams. That is why the CBSE has been asked to conduct the NET,” the official said.
Sections within the teacher organisations said they would not have opposed the move had the CBSE been only entrusted with non-academic jobs, such as arranging exam venues and managing the invigilation. “But how can a school board be asked to handle the academic part of the NET, such as framing of the syllabi and questions and assessing the candidates,” said a WBCUPA leader.
Prahraj said the WBCUTA had sought clarifications on the nature of responsibilities the UGC has decided to give the CBSE. “We believe the UGC would not entrust any responsibility to CBSE that deals with the academic part of the NET,” said Prahraj.