The Uttar Pradesh government is facing questions over a recruitment exam for 69,000 government primary school teachers showcased by the Yogi Adityanath government as a big statement on the intent to provide employment opportunities in the state.
The examinations – called the UP Teacher Eligibility Test were held in January 2019 and results declared in May this year – a gap of over 15 months. Last week, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed the results after multiple petitions by unsuccessful candidates who said there were major discrepancies in the answer key released along with the result. The order, however, has been challenged by the government before a larger bench.
Now, the police in the state’s Prayagraj district have arrested 11 people including those accused of running a cheating racket related to these exams at an exam centre. Among those arrested is a candidate who cleared the teacher recruitment examination with 142 out of 150 marks. The police say the main accused in the cheating scam is a man by the name of KL Patel, who reportedly runs several private educational institutions in the area.
“They used Bluetooth devices to leak question papers and then generate answers. Some examinees copied these answers on their handkerchiefs and went to this exam centre while some others were sent solved answers via WhatsApp,” Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj, Prayagraj police chief told the media.
The controversy over the examinations has led to political attacks on the government with Congress leader and the party’s UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra talking about the issue in a Facebook live this afternoon. “This has led to a lot of anger and resentment. Since I started working in Uttar Pradesh, I have noticed how there are various issues and discrepancies in many of the examinations being conducted in the state. Let the Chief Minister say if he is accepting responsibility or not. ‘Mukhya Mantri ji, these are your children too’. We have to get together and solve the issue, she said.
At a government news briefing in Lucknow 30 minutes before the Congress leader went live on Facebook, Uttar Pradesh’s basic education minister Satish Dwivedi called the controversies over this examination “a political conspiracy to derail the process”. “This is being done to spoil the image of the Yogi Adityanath government,” the minister said.
The government also defended the way the examination was conducted. “Only one of the exam centres in Prayagraj is under a cloud. An examinee has complained in May 2020 that in February 2020 someone took money from him to get him on the merit list. It is important to note that the exam was already conducted by this time. But the Prayagraj police acted on the complaint and has arrested 11 people already,” Mr Dwivedi told the press.