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Aspirants face testing times in U.P.’s teacher recruitment exams

Newly appointed Uttar Pradesh Basic Education teachers attend a counseling session at a school in Prayagraj on June 3. Picture for representation.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Who was the originator of the Nath Panth cult? When Rahul Yadav of Hathras encountered this question in January 2019 in an examination for the recruitment of 69,000 assistant teachers in Uttar Pradesh, he confidently ticked “Gorakhnath” as his answer.

His conviction was based on the Class VI book on Indian icons certified by the State Council of Educational Research and Training. However, to his shock, the answer key published soon after revealed “Matsyendranath” as the correct option. He raised an objection as per procedure but the amended answer key did not feature his grievance.

The result was declared. Mr. Yadav scored 89 out of 150 marks, falling short by one — the cut-off for Other Backward Class candidates was 90 — to qualify for the next stage of recruitment.

Several discrepancies

Had it not been for a dozen-odd such disputed, incorrect and ambiguous questions and answers, he believes he would have been in the reckoning for the post. Instead, a year and a half after the exam, Mr. Yadav is embroiled in litigation in the Allahabad High Court, which on June 3 placed a stay on the recruitment process on writs filed by candidates challenging the results citing discrepancies in the answer key. The court referred the provisional answer key to experts appointed by the University Grants Commission.

On the specific question on Nath Panth, the petitioners’ argued that when the same question was asked in the Trained Graduate Teacher exam and Gorakhnath was listed as the right answer, while Matsyandranath was not even among the four choices.

“I believe it was a deliberate attempt to fail me,” alleged Mr. Yadav. “Since 2013, I have been waiting for this appointment but for no fault of ours, we have been running from court to court. Why does the government bring faulty orders and answer keys that forces us to go to court?”

Contentious questions

Another candidate from Moradabad scored 87 marks, falling three short of the cut-off. One of the contentious questions he faced was on the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India. Like many candidates, he answered “Dr. Rajendra Prasad” but the answer key said it was “Dr. Sachidananda Sinha”. In court, one of the petitioners cited an authoritative text and the official Lok Sabha website in favour of Dr. Prasad as the answer. Also, when the same question was asked in the 2011 PCS Judicial exam, “Sachidananda Mishra” was not even an option, they argued.

The Moradabad candidate, who wished anonymity, alleged that such anomalies were deliberately retained in teacher recruitment exams so that officials and lawyers could secure their “cuts” or “a share of the commission”.

“It is a big nexus in U.P., I say with all responsibility. Have you ever heard of the Kendriya Vidyalaya exam or CTET (Central Teacher Eligibility Test) question paper being stuck in litigation?” he asked.

The candidate, a Dalit, desperately needs a job as his retired father and unmarried sister depend on him. The litigation process has demoralised him.

“A student who graduates at 22 is stuck filling forms and petitions till the age of 30. When will he start earning and planning for his future?” he asked.

Fraud, corruption

Not just the faulty answer key, in the recent past, teacher recruitment in U.P. has been a quagmire of controversies, allegations of criminal fraud and corruption, and long-drawn litigation. The U.P. Special Task Force is probing allegations of a scam in which money was taken from candidates in Prayagraj to help them pass the exam through illegal means.

For many aspiring teachers, the litigation process is not only mentally exhausting but also financially taxing. Rishabh Mishra of Gonda, a petitioner, says his mother is a cancer patient while his father, a school teacher himself, is on dialysis. Securing a job is very important for him as he is the oldest male in the family. But his professional fate hangs in balance over the long-drawn process of recruitment. Mr. Mishra, who spent four years on training and self-study, said he had fallen short of three marks due to the faulty answer key. “Nowadays, if you want to become a teacher in U.P., you have to read all the judgments of the High Court related to the Education Department before starting on anything else,” he said sardonically.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:24:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/aspirants-face-testing-times-in-ups-teacher-recruitment-exams/article31809173.ece

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