The University Grants Commission (UGC) was established by an act of Parliament in 1956 as a statutory body of Union Government of India to determine, coordinate and ensure minimum standards of University education along with providing funds for higher education. In order to ensure effective response to a large number of colleges and universities throughout the country, UGC de-centralized its operations by opening seven regional centres–Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal, Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata and Bangalore– catering to the states under it.
The National Educational Testing Bureau of University Grants Commission (UGC) conducts National Eligibility Test (NET) for appointment of Lecturers in colleges and universities for award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). The main objective of the test is to ensure minimum paradigm for the candidates entering in the noble profession of teaching and research. NET is held twice a year in the month of June and December in 94 subjects across 74 centres in the country.
Candidates who wish to pursue research in their subject of post graduation, can opt for it in their application forms. The Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) is available for five years subject to fulfilment 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 qualifying for eligibility for lectureship in the NET.
The minimum eligibility to take this test is a master's degree in the chosen subject with at least 55% aggregate marks (50% for ST/ST/PH/VH). The General Paper (Paper I) is common for all aspirants and has 60 objective questions on Teaching & Research Aptitude of which only 50 questions are to be attempted. The paper gauges the teaching, research capabilities and awareness of candidates.
Paper II and Paper III are subject specific and number of questions allotted to each section is 50 and 75 respectively wherein all questions are compulsory. All three papers are conducted on the same day of examination in two separate sessions of 2 ˝ hours each.
The marks required for passing the test is 40, 40 and 75 for the first, second, and third papers respectively in the case of general category candidates. In case of reserved category candidates (OBC) the passing marks are 35, 35, 68 and that for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/ Physically Handicapped/ Visually Handicapped candidates are 35, 35, and 60 in the first, second, and third papers respectively.
From June 2012 onwards, UGC NET is being conducted in the objective mode with no negative marking. In a new development by UGC, the candidates are allowed to take the carbon printout of OMR Response Sheets with them on conclusion of the examination.