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Updated: June 6, 2013 18:30 IST

Failure rates don’t deter SET candidates

Vasudha Venugopal
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With a pass percentage of less that 3.5 per cent recorded in the last few years, the test is often seen as a hard nut to crack. But this year, candidates are hoping, the situation will be just a little better.

The State Eligibility Test 2012 held on Sunday, had nearly 10,000 more candidates writing it, compared to last year.

The test determines an individual’s eligibility for appointment as a teacher in colleges and universities. Bharathiyar University acts as the nodal agency for the University Grants Commission (UGC) to conduct the SET in Tamil Nadu.

With a pass percentage of less that 3.5 per cent recorded in the last few years, the test is often seen as a hard nut to crack. But this year, candidates are hoping, the situation will be just a little better. “There is an acute shortage of teaching faculty. Since it takes many years to finish a Ph.D., candidates often choose to take the SET or the National Eligibility Test (NET). But not more than four people in a 100 can clear them,” says Vikram G., a lecturer in a private college in Chennai who is attempting the test for the second time.

Part of this has to do with preparation and the study material available to the students. But another factor is also the evaluation pattern, which is a challenge.

There are three papers that focus on logical reasoning and the subject chosen by the candidate. If a candidate fails in the first paper, her second paper is not even taken up for correction, many experts say. 

Many candidates are also disappointed with the sporadic way in which the exams, particularly SET, are scheduled.  

“The SET has question papers in Tamil so many are keen it be held every year or even twice a year like the NET. This will help candidates prepare in a focussed way,” said S. Arumugham, a lawyer who took the test on Sunday.

Candidates also feel that better planning by the SET committee can help them prepare better. “I got my M. Phil results only last month. I was not sure if SET would be held this year, so I did not prepare very much,” says R. Ganesan, a lecturer at a college in Tiruchi.   

“More than 85 per cent of the people who registered for the test attended it today. The test was conducted in 27 different subjects,” said K.G. Senthilvasan, secretary, SET 2012.  Commerce and computer science were subjects most sought after, while philosophy and music are subjects least opted for.

Nearly 51, 200 candidates, of whom 9,100 were from Chennai, took the test in 76 centres across the State.  Aspirants in subjects such as visual communication hoped that their subjects, being relatively new, would be of help to their prospects.

 Last year only 1,396 out of 41,164 candidates cleared the test. “The UGC’s yardsticks are strict, which lead to higher cut-offs,” said Mr. Senthilvasan.  

Recently, the UGC has made it mandatory that all teachers clear either the NET or SET or complete a Ph.D. Successfully clearing the NET/SET will also make them eligible to draw UGC-payscales in colleges and universities.

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