Allegations of Malpractice: Controversy Surrounding the Preliminary Rounds
Gangtok: The recent state-level recruitment examination in Sikkim, conducted on January 16, for the positions of undersecretaries, account officers, and deputy superintendent of police officers, has come under scrutiny due to allegations of malpractice during the preliminary rounds. In response to these claims, the Sikkim government established a high-empowered committee on January 23, led by the Additional Chief Secretary of the Education Department, with a mandate to investigate the issue and deliver a report within 21 days.
High-Empowered Committee Investigates the Recruitment Exam: Findings and Decision
After the completion of the designated 21-day period, the committee reached a decision on May 4, allowing all 8,000 applicants who participated in both sessions of the preliminary rounds in January to proceed to the main examination. The Sikkim Public Service Commission (SPSC) clarified that the preliminary exam was intended solely as a screening test, and the marks obtained in this stage would not be considered for the final order of merit. Consequently, the SPSC decided to grant all candidates who appeared in both sessions of the examination an opportunity to take part in the mains examination.
However, this decision has faced criticism from numerous applicants. One individual expressed their dissatisfaction, stating, “SPSC has become a laughing stock these days. Every step they take has become a meme. How is it possible to allow everyone who appeared for prelims to appear for mains?” The applicant suggested that the SPSC is not sufficiently qualified to conduct examinations for Group B posts and recommended transferring the responsibility to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). They also called on the SPSC to allow candidates to withdraw their applications and refund the examination fees.
Another discontented applicant raised concerns about the delay in verifying the OMR sheets, suggesting that modern technologies could expedite the process within a maximum of 15 days. They questioned the need for a committee and criticized the lengthy period it took to reach the current point, suggesting underlying issues. The applicant called on the SPSC to clarify the next steps for candidates regarding the mains examination.
Another applicant expressed concern about the application process for multiple posts, including under secretary, accounts officer, and DSP. They wondered how the SPSC plans to segregate candidates who applied for all three positions and questioned the preparation process for such individuals.
In addition to these grievances, applicants raised technical concerns regarding the machine’s acceptance of answer keys and suggested the implementation of a separate exam for the three posts. They also demanded strict vigilance from invigilators during the mains examination and proposed the involvement of assistant professors from government and private universities in the paper correction process. The applicants recommended that answer sheets disclose only the applicant’s roll number.
Concerns and Suggestions
To minimize confusion during the examination, the applicants called for subject-wise allotment of exam centers and requested that the exams be conducted in their respective districts, as previously opted. They cited examples of other states, such as Assam and Uttar Pradesh, which have eliminated optional papers from their exam patterns. Candidates expressed concern over the shortage of optional subjects for the mains examination, highlighting the absence of subjects like home science nutrition, dietetics, public health, forestry, hospitality management, tourism, nursing, education, physical education, special education, and paramedical sciences. They also noted the lack of inclusion of local languages, despite some candidates holding master’s degrees in Rai, Limboo, and other regional languages.
As a solution, applicants suggested an updated list of optional subjects, including Bachelor of Vocation in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Software Development, which are offered at institutions like Sikkim University and Nar Bahadur Bhandari Degree College. They further proposed the inclusion of Computer Science and Engineering as an optional subject for the mains exam.
The SPSC has announced that the date for the mains examination will be notified in due course of time. In the meantime, all candidates who participated in both sessions of the preliminary examination have been directed to submit their optional subjects on the SPSC website by May 27.
Restoring Trust and Transparency: SPSC’s Responsibility
The controversy surrounding the selection of candidates for the state-level recruitment exam in Sikkim has raised important questions about the transparency and efficiency of the process. The allegations of malpractice during the preliminary rounds have eroded the trust of many applicants in the SPSC’s ability to conduct fair and unbiased examinations.
The SPSC’s decision to allow all candidates who appeared for the preliminary rounds to proceed to the mains examination has sparked criticism among some applicants. They argue that such a move undermines the credibility of the examination and fails to address the concerns raised regarding malpractice. These applicants believe that a more rigorous and thorough investigation should have been conducted to identify and penalize those involved in any wrongdoing.
Furthermore, the applicants have called for improvements in the examination process to ensure fairness and accuracy. They have suggested measures such as the use of advanced technologies to verify answer sheets promptly and the appointment of trained invigilators to provide necessary clarifications during the mains examination. The demand for subject-wise allotment of exam centers and the inclusion of a wider range of optional subjects reflects the applicants’ desire for a more comprehensive and inclusive examination system.
In response to the concerns raised by the applicants, the SPSC must address these issues promptly and transparently. It is crucial for the commission to provide clear guidelines and explanations regarding the selection process, the evaluation criteria, and the steps taken to prevent malpractice. By doing so, the SPSC can regain the confidence of the applicants and uphold the principles of fairness and impartiality.
Government’s Role: Ensuring Transparency and Efficiency
The state government of Sikkim should also take note of these developments and work closely with the SPSC to ensure that the recruitment process is transparent, efficient, and free from any form of malpractice. It is essential for the government to provide the necessary support and resources to the SPSC to enable them to conduct examinations with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.
The Sikkim Public Service Commission plays a critical role in selecting candidates for important positions in the state administration. It is imperative that the commission upholds the highest standards of transparency, fairness, and impartiality to maintain public trust and confidence. The concerns and suggestions raised by the applicants, in the context of Sikkim’s history, should be seriously considered and addressed to improve the overall recruitment process.
Incorporating Reforms: Restoring Faith in the Recruitment Process
As the SPSC prepares for the mains examination, it is crucial that they take into account the feedback and concerns expressed by the applicants. By incorporating necessary reforms and ensuring a level playing field for all candidates, the SPSC can restore faith in the recruitment process and ensure that the most qualified individuals are selected for the positions at hand.
Mains Examination Update
The date for the mains examination is yet to be announced, and candidates are advised to regularly check the SPSC website for updates. The forthcoming mains examination will be a crucial opportunity for the SPSC to demonstrate their commitment to fairness and transparency in the recruitment process and to address the concerns of the applicants.
Gangtokian Web Team, 08/05/2023