Why Are UPSC Aspirants Feeling Cheated?

Why Are UPSC Aspirants Feeling Cheated?


Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

Amid debates on general reservation, loan waivers, CBI-RBI row, protests by the UPSC aspirants also grabbed the headlines. The media coverage of protests by UPSC aspirants might give an impression that this protest is happening only in Delhi. But it's not how it looks.

Aspirants from cities like Prayagaraj in UP, Patna in Bihar, Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Bengaluru in Karnataka, who dream of becoming IPS and IAS officers and then invest years of their lives in preparing for these exams, now feel robbed. Through their protests and sloganeering on Delhi's roads, they hope to send a message to the government and Parliament.

Also Read : 10% Quota Bill: What Do Delhi’s UPSC Aspirants Have To Say?

Why are these UPSC aspirants protesting?

Students are upset that UPSC has changed the examination syllabus and rules over the last few years. Because of that, it's not an exam, it has become the 'GST of exam system'. It's just like GST's continuously changing regulations and slabs. Students are now demanding more chances to appear for the examination. A UPSC aspirant from Bihar told The Quint about why he needs an extra chance.

“Imagine there is a 20-20 match and players have been selected after the toss. Suddenly, before the match, the players are informed that the match will now be played for 50 overs. This is not fair. UPSC had often done this to students in the past.”
Abhishek, UPSC aspirant

Also Read : UPSC Aspirants Protest Outside Amit Shah’s Home for Another Shot

Let’s have a look at what those changes were.

Year 2011

In 2011, UPSC had made a big change in the civil examination. UPSC introduced the CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) paper in Preliminary Exams in 2011. It means that CSAT was one paper and General Studies was the second paper. The CSAT included Maths, Reasoning, and English questions. The CSAT scores were also added to the Preliminary Exam results. That's why students had to take that exam seriously. Before CSAT was introduced in 2011, there used to be a General Studies paper. The second paper was an optional subject which the students could choose.

Because of the changes in the examination pattern, more students from the fields of engineering, medicine, management, and science were able to pass the examination with ease. On the other hand, students from Humanities’ background with subjects like history, geography, political science, etc, protested as they faced a barrier and couldn’t pass the exam.

Year 2013

In 2013, the examination commission made yet another change. Till 2012, the main exam had 2 optional subjects and the General Studies paper. Suddenly, an optional subject was removed from the main exam and an extra paper of General Studies was added to the Mains. That's how the value of an optional subject lessened while the importance of the General Studies paper increased.

Year 2015

The examination commission took a corrective measure and changed the pattern again making CSAT a qualifying paper. Lakhs of UPSC aspirants across the country prepare for years and the government keeps altering the rules. After all, why couldn't the government first consult the expert team of researchers and scholars it has and then implement the decisions? If exam-related decisions are taken only after consulting relevant experts, then why do they (government) need to keep changing the rules?

Rajneesh, a protester and an aspirant from Allahabad tells The Quint:

“The commission made an experiment lab out of this prestigious exam, and the students and aspirants, its lab rats. They experimented with us and then left us to our fate.”
Rajneesh, UPSC aspirant

Now, the students for whom 2015 was the last chance to appear for the exam, say their careers have been compromised with. Even the preparation for those students who took the exam for the last time in 2016 and 2017 had been compromised. Putting this point across, students are demanding extra chances in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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