Prabakaran K|Jan 27, 2022
UPTET 2021: Angry aspirants question UP Government’s effort to curb malpractices
UPTET 2021 Cancelled: With UP elections a few months away, opposition party leaders, Priyanka Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav weighed in, criticising the BJP.
NEW DELHI: Despite writhing in pain due to a bout of dengue, Virendra Kumar, 29, was determined to write the Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test, or UPTET 2021. However, all his efforts were in vain.
On Sunday, candidates who travelled long distances to reach test centres found that the exam had been cancelled due to a paper leak on Whatsapp. Just before the exam began, the UP TET question paper went viral on several WhatsApp groups in Mathura, Ghaziabad and Bulandshahr. The sudden cancellation left the candidates stranded.
UPTET is a state-level teacher eligibility test mandatory for teachers to teach primary or upper primary classes in UP-board affiliated schools. More than 19.99 lakh candidates were scheduled to take the UPTET 2021 exam. With the UP elections just a few months away, opposition party leaders at both national and state levels — Congress Party’s Priyanka Gandhi and former UP chief minister, Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav — seized upon the issue, using it to criticise the quality of governance in the state which is under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Kumar, who has been preparing for the UPTET exam for the past four years, is disappointed at the callousness of the state government. “They [government] have been promising jobs but they do not open vacancies. When they did open the vacancies, the exams were cancelled. The government has been making tall claims that justice will be done and no fee will be taken from candidates. If you ask this government how they will repay for the time and money that has been spent on preparing for this exam, they will not have an answer,” Kumar told Careers360.
“Information has been received that the UP-TET exam has been leaked, thus the exam stands cancelled. In a month's time, the aspirants will be able to write the exam again at no extra cost. An order has been issued to file an FIR in the matter and the investigation has been handed over to the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force unit so that the accused can be identified and strict action can be taken against them,” said Satish Dwivedi, state education minister.
Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board, or UPBEB, the exam conducting authority, is yet to announce the new date of UPTET exam 2021.
UPTET 2021 arrest a ‘gimmick’
Soon after the leak, a Special Task Force (STF) arrested 23 persons from different cities of UP. According to the superintendent of police, Sukirti Madhav Mishra, Dharmendra, Manish and Ravi were arrested and one other person, who is absconding and is accused of being involved in the case, has been booked. Police said a search is on to nab him. A car, 50 photocopies of the question paper, and Rs 17,000 were recovered from the three accused, PTI reported.
The arrests, however, have not helped the aggrieved candidates, said Kumar. “This is not the first time a state-level exam has been cancelled. The police, CBI, STF make arrests and the case goes on and on. How do we benefit from this? How do we get compensation for the time and money we end up spending on this exam?” asked Kumar. “They have made a mockery of us poor people. These arrests are all a gimmick,” he alleged.
A farmer’s son, Kumar has been staying in Lucknow, away from his family in Allahabad, for the past two years to prepare for the exam. Unable to work in fields after recovering from COVID-19, Kumar’s father has not been able to earn enough to keep the family afloat. UPTET 2021 is Kumar’s only way out of poverty. “A lot of money is spent on coaching and lodging. I come from a poor family. They are relying on me to get them out of this miserable situation. How am I supposed to do that in the face of this constant state failure,” Kumar lamented.
UPTET 2021 corruption
Even after qualifying for the UPTET exam in 2018, Pooja Goswami, 28, another candidate from Ballia district, did not get recruited. Hoping that she might be able to get a job this time, she decided to write the exam again. She blames the Yogi Adityanath Government and alleges corruption and nepotism. “I cleared the exam in 2018 and the test was conducted for 22,000 seats. UP’s chief minister Yogi Adiyanath and education minister Satish Dwivedi hid the merit list and gave the seats to their kin. There was no public record of how the candidates were selected and based on what cut-off. We filed a court case in the high court and a report was released which stated that the candidates were selected arbitrarily. The Yogi government has not listened to us. We have been protesting against this arbitrary recruitment for 165 days,” said Goswami.
On Monday, Priyanka Gandhi alleged that corruption in recruitment has become the identity of the BJP government. “Corruption in recruitment, the paper leak has become the identity of the BJP government. Today the hard work of lakhs of youths was ruined due to the paper leak of UPTET,” Priyanka Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav also condemned the cancellation of the exam on Twitter. “Cancellation of UPTET 2021 exam paper due to leak is playing with the future of 20 lakh unemployed candidates. Paper leaks, cancellation of exams, and results are common in the BJP government. UP is at the peak of educational corruption,” he wrote.
Goswami, who skipped her brother’s wedding to write the exam in Allahabad, is skeptical about the government's efforts to curb malpractices in government teachers’ exams. “This is not the first time a government exam question paper was leaked. The computer was hacked in the UP police sub-inspector exam. My question is, if these exams are being compromised over and over, what is this government doing to protect the candidates?” she asked. “After farm bills, teachers’ recruitment is the biggest problem this country is facing,” she added. The farm bills are three agriculture laws enacted in 2020 that saw fierce resistance from the farming community and are in the process of being repealed.
In a statement, the Uttar Pradesh Government said 29 people have been arrested in this connection while chief minister Yogi Adityanath said he will invoke the National Security Act and Gangster Act against the accused.
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