Rajat Sharma


AKB More than eight lakh unemployed youths descended on Bihar in capital Patna, Jahanabad, Ara, Nalanda, Hajipur and other towns to sit for the examination for recruitment of 1,70,461 teachers. The examination is being conducted in three phases by Bihar Public Service Commission. Thousands of youths jammed railway platforms, temples, bus stands and even footpaths outside the exam centres. All hotels and lodges are full. The state government did not even erect tents and provided drinking water facilities to candidates. Watching the youths and their parents narrating their woes on camera, one is shocked to find the administration, political leaders and bureaucrats so insensitive to this issue. In my show AAJ KI BAAT on Thursday night, we showed visuals of thousands of youths jampacked on the platforms of Patna Junction and other railway stations. Most of them spent the night on railway platforms. Questions arise about the manner in which the exam was conducted. Candidates had to pay fees, the administration knew there would be a huge influx of candidates, but there was no application of mind on providing accommodation and basic facilities. Students from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh flocked to railway stations and bus stands to appear in the exams. Out of the 1,70,461 teachers to be recruited, nearly 80,000 will be appointed for primary schools, 57,618 for higher secondary schools and 32,916 teachers for secondary schools. More than eight lakh candidates have applied for these jobs. 859 exam centres have been set up across Bihar, with the highest number of 40 in Patna alone. In Muzaffarpur, the candidates sat on pavements in rain, waiting for the centres to open. Roads to the exam centre were waterlogged. Students holding shoes and chappals in hand, and drenched in rain, walked in two feet deep water to reach the exam centre. Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav admitted that there were problems due to huge influx of candidates, but he added, “we are fulfilling our promise to give jobs to people in Bihar and this should be appreciated”. BJP state chief Samrat Chaudhary said, already 80,000 students have passed STET (Secondary Teachers Eligibility Test) and they should have been recruited directly. “There was no need of another exam through BPSC”, he said. It is really sad to find lakhs of youths, both male and female, facing extreme hardship under trying circumstances. I fail to understand why the bureaucrats lost their basic humane sense. Forget inefficiency, they should at least have some modicum of humanity. Do the leaders and bureaucrats of Bihar have any responsibility towards our youths? In India, whenever children go to sit for board exam, their parents ensure they get a sound sleep at home, they provide proper breakfast and send them after offering prayers to gods. But in Bihar, we saw thousands sitting on railway platforms, waiting, without food and water, to appear for exam. It is difficult to gauge the sadness, desperation and helplessness of these unemployed youths. Is it a sin to aspire to become a teacher? Teachers are recruited in other states too, but never were such scenes noticed in the recent past. Then why in Bihar? One must find out why there was a huge backlog of 1.75 lakh vacant posts of teachers and since when? Why were these recruitments made in one go, and more than eight lakh youths had to reach the exam centres? Let me tell you some facts. Earlier, teachers in Bihar used to be appointed on the basis of their scores in CTET (Central Teachers Eligibility Test) and STET (State Teachers Eligibility Test). Lakhs of youths who had appeared in these tests were waiting for their job appointment letters. For the last six years, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government did not recruit a single teacher. This year, it suddenly decided that teachers will no more be recruited through CTET or STET. It decided that Bihar Public Service Commission will conduct examination to fill up the vacancies. Students staged protests and faced police lathis, but Nitish Kumar stuck to his decision. Since Tejashwi Yadav had promised 10 lakh jobs during elections, the process to fill up 1.75 lakh vacancies began in due earnest. More than 8 lakh students sent applications, and they were allotted exam centres. But no application of mind was made on how to handle the vast influx of 8 lakh candidates. I give some credit to Indian Railways for running five special trains for these applicants. Nitish Kumar’s government remained in deep slumber. The result was: thousands of youths had to spent nights on railway platforms, had to walk several kilometres, drenched in rain, to reach exam centres. Many of them were disallowed entry because of late arrival. Will anybody take responsibility for the shoddy treatment meted out to these youths? Ministers and bureaucrats may make lots of excuses, but the fact remains that it is the responsibility of the state government to make arrangements for stay and security of students who came to appear in the exam. Nitish Kumar’s government failed in this test on all counts.

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