The University Grants Commission Thursday approved a key proposal to lower eligibility criteria for OBC students appearing for the National Eligibility Test (NET) that determines entry into teaching at higher education institutes.
While so far, OBC candidates appearing for NET had to score a minimum of 60 per cent to be eligible, they will now be given a 5 per cent relaxation. OBC candidates with 55 per cent aggregate scores in three subjects will now be able to appear. OBC candidates will now be on a par with SC/ST candidates who also enjoy a 55 per cent qualifying score.
The relaxation for OBC candidates has been given keeping in mind that a number of OBC and SC/ST teaching positions remain vacant. There are over 40 per cent faculty vacancies across Central universities and the bulk are said to be in the SC/ST and OBC category. The move is also driven following a court case where this issue was brought up.
The UGC also approved Private Universities Regulation that will now bring them under greater control of the higher education regulator. The new regulations say private universities will no longer be able to offer open and distance learning courses as there are serious commercial angles to them. The new regulations propose to place a new restriction on state private universities — that they seek concurrence of UGC before offering a new academic programme. They will also have to seek the concurrence of both the UGC and the Union HRD Ministry before opening an off campus or off shore campus, sources said.