The National Educational Testing Bureau of University Grants Commission (UGC) conducts National Eligibility Test (NET) to determine eligibility for lectureship and for award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for Indian nationals in order to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and research. The Test is conducted in Humanities (including languages), Social Sciences, Forensic Science, Environmental Sciences, Computer Science and Applications and Electronic Science.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) conducts the UGC-CSIR NET for other Science subjects, namely, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Earth Atmospheric Ocean & Planetary Sciences jointly with the UGC. The tests are conducted twice in a year generally in the months of June and December. For candidates who desire to pursue research, the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) is available for five years subject to fulfillment of certain conditions. UGC has allocated a number of fellowships to the universities for the candidates who qualify the test for JRF. The JRFs are awarded to the meritorious candidates from among the candidates qualifiying for eligibility for lectureship in the NET. JRFs are available only to the candidates who opt for it in their application forms.
The test for Junior Research Fellowship is being conducted since 1984. The Government of India, through its notification dated 22nd July, 1988 entrusted the task of conducting the eligibility test for lectureship to UGC. Consequently, UGC conducted the first National Eligibility Test, common to both eligibility for Lectureship and Junior Research Fellowship in two parts, that is, in December 1989 and in March , 1990.
UGC conducts NET twice a year, i.e., in the months of June and December. The notifications announcing the June and December examinations are published in the months of March and September respectively in the weekly journal of nation-wide circulation, viz, Employment News.
The procedure for applying for UGC-NET is described in detail in the notification for the relevant examination. The notification is published in the Employment News generally in the months of March and September and is also uploaded on the UGC website www.ugc.ac.in.
Concept of SET/SLET
It was felt that an eligibility test at the national level may not be completely able to represent the subjects which are regional in their character. Moreover, the demand for enabling the candidates to appear for the Test in their own mother tongue was also being made. The state governments and union territories were, therefore, given the option of conducting their own Test for eligibility for Lectureship at the state level. Thus was born the concept of SET, i.e., State Eligibility Test for Lectureship Eligibility only. It is conducted both in English and the vernacular.
The Commission at its meeting held on 25th May, 1990 decided to constitute a UGC Committee on Accreditation of Test (U-CAT). The terms of reference of U-CAT are as follows-
- Laying down guidelines for holding the tests
- Accreditation of tests conducted by agencies other than UGC/CSIR.
- Monitoring of tests conducted by other agencies and suggesting follow-up measures.
- Extend guidance and help to State level agencies in the organization of the tests.
Based on the recommendations made by U-CAT, the following guidelines are given to the states regarding test design, course content, organization of the test etc. for conducting State Eligibility Test (SET) for Lectureship only.
In accordance with the mandate given by the Government of India, the University Grants Commission (UGC), on request of State Governments, proposed to have STATE ELIGIBILITY TEST (SET) duly accredited by UGC for a fixed term. This state level Test is based on the pattern of the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by UGC and UGC/CSIR for Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences subjects respectively. The State Governments and Union Territories, which are desirous of conducting their own SET, are required to obtain accreditation from UGC from time to time.
Besides conducting the NET, the role of the NET Bureau is to assess and accredit state identified agencies to conduct SET examination. The SET assessment is done by evaluating the performance of the state agency designated by the state government. The Certification of Accreditation is given to the state for a stipulated period of time.
Identification of State Agency- A State Government may identify an agency, which may be a University, or an examination body of repute or a reputed agency associated with recruitment of teachers for higher education.
States conducting SLET –Presently, SET is being conducted in the following states-
- Maharashtra & Goa
- Tamil Nadu (under consideration as on 14-07-2005)
- Madhya Pradesh
- Andhra Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- Jammu & Kashmir
- West Bengal
- NE-SLET (Which includes all North Eastern states and Sikkim)
- Karnataka (Under consideration as on 14-07-2005)
The Commission constitutes an Accreditation Committee from time to time to assess the performance of the states conducting the SET Examination. The Commission takes a final decision about any state on the basis of the Report of the Committee.
Scope of NET & SLET
- Eligibility for Lectureship
Clearing of NET confers eligibility for lectureship upon Indian nationals, i.e. the NET qualified candidates are eligible to apply for the post of lecturer in all Indian universities/Institutes/colleges.
It was resolved in the UGC’s Commission Meeting held on 1.11.2001 that commencing from the SET examinations scheduled in or after June, 2002, the SET qualified candidates shall be eligible for appointment to the post of lecturer only in the universities/colleges belonging to the state from where they have passed the SET examination. The status of SET shall remain unchanged for SET examinations conducted prior to 1st June, 2002, that is, the candidates clearing SET were eligible for appointment to the post of lecturer anywhere in India.
- Junior Research Fellowship
The candidates who qualify the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) Examination of UGC/CSIR NET are also eligible for the post of lectureship. In addition they are also eligible to receive Fellowships (UGC/CSIR) under various schemes subject to the candidates finding their placement in the universities/IITs/other national organizations. The validity of the offer is two years w.e.f. the date of issue of JRF award letter. The validity period of the offer has been raised from one year to two years for JRF Award Letters issued on or after 1st April, 2005. However, in case the candidates have already joined M.Phil. /Ph.D., the date of commencement of fellowship will be from the date of declaration of NET examination result or date of their joining, whichever is later.
- Ideally the preparation should start three months before exam, but that means you must stick to a particular schedule. If you are an appearing candidate I would suggest starting in the third semester itself (provided if you wanna clear JRF).
- Study the syllabus from the point of view of the examiners or paper setters. Suppose you were asked to prepare questions based on this syllabus what would you ask. This will get you in the right frame of mind to understand what you should pay more attention to.
- Solve sample papers as much as you can, well that is a typical advice to any competition aspirant, I would suggest to get in to the details ( theory part) as soon as you come through the questions.
- If you are a appearing candidate, then try to co-relate the questions from the theory part, Remember, it doesn’t matter how much your university awards you, rather a JRF would Really MATTER, so devote as much time as possible to get in to the subjects & concepts. They emphasize concepts rather than mugging up & vomiting data.
- Study the syllabus to identify which sections are more suitable for setting multiple choice questions, short answer questions and essay questions.
- Understand which of the short answer questions when put together can form an essay question. Similarly, which essay question has specific points that may be used for short answer questions.
- Improve your speed in multiple choice questions by taking mock tests, improve your writing skills for essay questions and short answer questions.
- Read, read and read some more. Jot down points of all that you read. Prepare mind-maps for easy revision and clear grouping of ideas. Whenever you come across impressive words, note them down and practice writing answers using those words. You need to develop a mature understanding of your subject through involved reading, deeper level processing and clear and concise writing.