The colleges where candidates were writing the University Grants Commission (UGC) – National Eligibility Test (NET) 2012 in Coimbatore on Sunday looked like it was admission time again there

The University Grants Commission (UGC) – National Eligibility Test (NET) 2012 drew a huge response in the Coimbatore region with 8,004 candidates taking it. It was almost double the number as compared to the last year figure.

All six centres, except one, had 1,000 candidates and more writing the test in each. Academics attribute the reason behind this high rise in number of applicants to the new objective type pattern in Paper III of the test.

“As many as 9,127 candidates had applied as against the 5,200 last year. A total of 8,004, including 18 candidates with disabilities, took the test in six centres,” V. Anbumani, Co-ordinator, UGC-NET, Bharathiar University, told The Hindu. Bharathiar University was one of the four UGC-NET nodal centres.

Paper I on teaching / research aptitude contained 60 objective type questions, out of which 50 had to be answered for 100 marks. Paper II on subject knowledge contained 50 questions for 100 marks. Paper III on subject knowledge so far had been of the descriptive nature that carried 200 marks. The change in this test was that Paper III too contained 75 objective type questions for 150 marks.

And, true to the analysis of the experts, those who took the test said that they had applied for the NET because of the new format. But Paper III was not a cakewalk.

L. Suresh, assistant professor at Sri Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya College of Arts and Science, attempting the NET a third time, said only if one was thorough in the subject could one answer Paper III as the options given were too closely related to choose from.

Visually challenged Suresh wrote with English as his subject at Dr. G.R. Damodaran College of Science. He wrote the earlier two times when Paper III was of descriptive nature.

T. Santha, Principal in-charge of the college and superintendent of UGC-NET, said out of the 1,010 who wrote there, three were visually challenged. Scribes were provided for them and they were also given extra time to complete the test. Each centre had observers from the UGC to oversee the conduct of the test.

Many who had failed to clear the State Eligibility Test (SET) were among those who appeared for the NET. They said that Paper I and Paper II were almost identical to that of SET.

Commenting on the new paper pattern, academics said that there was a possibility that more number of candidates would pass. But that too was not a given considering the way the paper was set for Sunday’s test.

However, there is a general opinion that the change in pattern was not a welcome one because it denied the candidates a chance to write descriptively, which otherwise would have given them a chance to display their analytical ability, communication and presentation skills. The objective type would end up being a ‘guess game’, they said.