The recently held civil services preliminary examination, conducted by Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) is in a major controversy. Allegedly most of the questions in this year’s paper have been plagiarised from a very unlikely source- www.cssforum.com.pk, which is resource website for civil services examinations in Pakistan.
50% of the questions were lifted from this website and many other questions were blatantly copied from the 2008 Union Public Service Examination, albeit without proper options.
Various Controversies Surrounding the Question Paper
The Exam which was held on November 26, 2017 left a lot of students disappointed due to many discrepancies in the question paper. It is being said that more than half of the questions were copied from a Pakistani resource website for CSS competitive examination and Pakistan Civil Service examination. “Some of the questions in general studies, sociology and political science were in the context of a foreign country. We cross-checked and found they were straight out of the Pakistani resource site,” Tapi Omo, a candidate, said to Hindustan Times. The candidates claimed the questions were copied exactly line to line, option to option and even the sequence did not change. They claimed that the questions were management based, but APPSC is basically an administrative based Exam.
Almost 50 questions were copied from the 2008 Union Public Service Examination and out of these, four questions had no correct option to choose from.
These were not the only sources from where the questions were reportedly copied. Aspirants also claimed that almost 80% questions in the Sociology section were copied from a website www.sociologydiscussion.com, published by an unfamiliar writer, named Shelly Shah. Candidates expressed their disappointment and said that this was a general discussion website and that a prestigious state exam should not extract questions from such an unreliable source.
The veterinary paper too had 60 questions copied from an online question bank called the “Vetscan”.
It was also brought to notice by some of the candidates that the Geography paper was a cakewalk. Candidates claimed that this may be done deliberately to promote one particular subject. A History student told Arunachal Times,” It’s not a matter of how easy or tough the papers were; but if one particular subject was extremely easy, then there is a probability that the cut-off would be high and deprive almost all other subjects’ candidates from reaching the cut-off percentage.”
The question paper was reportedly not sealed, which raised suspicion of the question paper being leaked. Even the question paper booklet had the booklet number manually taped to it.
The question paper standard was not at par with what is expected out of state-level examination. The question paper had a lot of typographical and clerical errors. Options to many questions were very confusing as some questions carried same answers to be selected from the options and some had no correct option.
Demand for Re-Examination
Candidates are demanding the examination to be conducted again and that the scaling process should be in line with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Many candidates even marched to the APPSC office on November 29 to put across their grievances. A committee has also been formed which is demanding for re-examination. One of the members of the committee said that they have asked APSSC to conduct a retest within a time frame of three weeks.
Candidates have also submitted a letter to APPSC secretary, Onit Payeng asking for a recheck of the erroneous paper. Payeng has responded by saying that an expert panel would look into this matter and appropriate action will be taken based on the findings of the panel.
Tami Ono, an aspirant said,” The commission should conduct the examination again or should avoid scaling and do away with the cut-off mark. We should be allowed to give the Mains exam.”
Social Activist Patey Tayum said that the lackadaisical attitude has become a habit of the APPSC. He said,” This is a criminal offence, and the guilty should be punished,” adding APPSC chairperson Tajom Taloh should take the responsibility and quit on moral grounds.
Apparently, this is not the first time that APPSC has found itself in the eye of the storm. In 2015, an allegation of question paper leak led to dismissal of four officials.
This controversy comes few days after the cash-for-job scam in the Assam Public Service Examination. In this case, 25 officials were arrested and dismissed from the services.
Standards of the exam of such repute are expected to be very high. Candidates put a lot of effort for exams like these. Discrepancies like these leave the aspirants disappointed and helpless. Appropriate actions should be taken in this regard and strict measures should be adopted so that incidents like this do not happen in future.