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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Government Panel Seeks Stakeholders’ Inputs on Exam Reforms Until July 7

The National Testing Agency (NTA) is conducting an examination, and in the midst of a major controversy regarding anomalies in the NEET UG 2024, the Centre has requested recommendations for changes to the processes involved. Suggestions may be submitted until July 7.

A seven-member high-level committee chaired by Dr K Radhakrishnan is seeking suggestions, views, and ideas from students and parents on the following topics:

  • Reforms in the mechanism of the examination process
  • Improvement in data security protocols
  • Structure and functioning of the NTA

The Ministry of Education has already constituted a high-level committee of experts to ensure transparent, smooth, and fair conduct of examinations.

This move comes in response to reported cases of alleged irregularities, cheating, impersonation, and malpractices during NEET UG 2024, which was conducted on May 5. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the case and has made multiple arrests so far.

The NTA conducted the medical entrance exam on May 5 in OMR (Pen and paper) mode.

To ensure transparency in the examination process, the Ministry of Education, Government of India, after a review, decided to handover the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for comprehensive investigation.

Meanwhile, the Central government has enacted the Public Examination (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 2024, to prevent unfair practices in examinations.

“The strictest action will be taken against any individual or organization found involved,” the ministry stated.

The terms of reference of the committee are as follows:

(1) Reform in the mechanism of the examination process:
(a) To analyse the end-to-end examination process and suggest measures to improve system efficiency and prevent breaches.
(b) 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 a monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance at every level.

(2) Improvement in data security protocols:
(a) To evaluate the existing data security processes and protocols of the NTA and recommend measures for improvement.
(b) To examine existing security protocols related to paper-setting and other processes for different examinations and make recommendations to enhance system robustness.

Structure & Functioning of National Testing Agency:

(a) To make recommendations on the organizational structure and functioning of the NTA for implementing recommendations under points (1) and (2) and clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of functionaries at every level.
(b) To assess the current Grievance Redressal Mechanism of the NTA, identify areas for improvement, and make recommendations to enhance its efficiency.

The committee is tasked with submitting its report to the Ministry within two months from the date of this order. The panel has the authority to co-opt any subject matter expert to assist them.

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