Image Source : PTI Students raise slogans during protest over alleged irregularities in NEET 2024 results

The Union Ministry of Education has constituted a high-level committee of experts to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations. The move comes as the row over paper leaks of various top exams, including NEET-UG and UGC NET, which was cancelled a day after its conduct, continues for over a week.

Who are the experts in the panel?

Dr K Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman, ISRO and Chairman BoG, IIT Kanpur, will head the panel of 7 experts. Other members of the panel include: Dr. Randeep Guleria, Former Director, AIIMS Delhi, Prof. B J Rao, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Hyderabad, Prof. Ramamurthy K, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, Pankaj Bansal, Co-Founder, People Strong and Board Member- Karmayogi Bharat, Prof. Aditya Mittal, Dean Student Affairs, IIT Delhi, Govind Jaiswal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education.

What will the committee do?

The Ministry of Education, in a statement, said that in order to ensure transparent, smooth and fair conduct of examinations through National Testing Agency (NTA), Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education constituted a high-level committee of experts to make recommendations on reform in mechanism of examination process, improvement in Data Security protocols, structure and functioning of National Testing Agency 

The Terms of Reference of the committee are:

1. Reform in mechanism of examination process

  • To analyse the end-to-end examination process and suggest measures to improve efficiency of the system and to forestall any possible breach.
  • To conduct a thorough review of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)/Protocols of the NTA, and suggest measures to strengthen these procedures/protocols along with monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance at every level.

2. Improvement in Data Security protocols

To evaluate the existing data security processes and protocols of NTA and recommend measures for its improvement.

To examine existing security protocols related to the paper-setting and other processes for different examinations and make recommendations to enhance robustness of system.

3. Structure and functioning of National Testing Agency

  • To make recommendations on the organizational structure and functioning of the National Testing Agency (NTA) for implementation of recommendations given under point (1) and (2) and clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of functionaries at every level.
  • Assess the current Grievance Redressal Mechanism of the NTA, identify areas of improvement and make recommendations for enhancing its efficiency.

Row over paper leaks

The NEET examination was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, saying the evaluation of the answer sheets was completed earlier.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA’s history, with six from a centre in Haryana’s Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank. The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday (June 20) disclosed the reason behind the cancellation of UGC-NET, stating that the decision to call off the exam was taken after it was found that the question paper was leaked on darknet. 

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