JKSSB’s CBT Examination: Boon or Bane?

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The youth of a given society are often considered as but when the same youth are marginalized and pushed to the wall by people at the helm then they are left with no other option other than turning the table for welfare of masses by following alternate routes. We don’t have to turn pages of history book to support this assertion: the Arab spring which enveloped the whole Middle East in 2011 had its epicentre at Tunisia were an unemployed youth (Mohamed Bouazizi) self-immolated himself on the street for being unemployed even after having degrees. This event mobilized the youth to come on streets thus lead to the toppling of major dictatorial regimes like a pack of cards.( Its shock waves are still felt in many Middle Eastern countries)
Now, coming to our valley, the proverbial paradise on earth, it is turning out to be breeding ground and nursery for unemployed youth. The recently exposed scam of nepotism and political patronage in KVIB recruitment is just the tip of an iceberg; the real monsters behind these scams and frauds are yet to be exposed.
In every process , two factors are important. One is means and other is ends. Good end is always justified if right means are carried out to reach to end but unfortunately here Machiavellian theory of means don’t justify end is taken recourse to.
Our recruiting agency JKSSB, which has the authority to carry out recruitment process for filing of non-gazetted posts is proving to be a headache for the unemployed youth from the day they have shifted to CBT (computer based test) mode of examination from the OMR based test. They are trying to jump stairs rather than climbing them step by step and this is hurting unemployed youth badly. Recent apprehensions expressed by candidates on social media regarding CBT examination held for the lab assistant post in February are testimony to it. The problem with the CBT test is that, a single examination for advertised post is carried out in phased manner in three sessions per day; thus an examination which should have been finished in three hours is consuming months. There is a separate paper for each session which leads to disparity in the standard of questions in paper thus whole examination is turning out to be game of luck rather game of testing intelligence of candidate. Two candidates competing for same post are being provided separate platform to compete, it is akin to playing the two innings of a cricket match on two pitches of different nature. This violates the law of equality and fair play. Just Imagine, candidates sitting for teacher post of Baramulla cadre, some candidate will have to sit for said examination on 25 March and many will appear for same post ten days later how far it is justified, the candidates appearing on the first day of the examination are going to lag in merit behind those who appear on last day of examination as question are discussed and exchanged through social media and word of mouth thus candidates appearing last have got undue advantage.
The main aim for shifting to CBT based examination was to ensure transparency in the recruitment process but certainly it isn’t doing what it was intended to do; the whole sage is just aggregating the mess and adding to the woes of candidates. Due to lack of proper IT infrastructure for holding the CBT exam, all exam venues are confined to Srinagar. (Even examinations for district level posts are held in Srinagar). Instead of having centres for district level posts in their own districts, a person from Kupwara district has to reach Srinagar at 9 am!
Moreover, the pre-examination biometric attendance is such a cumbersome exercise. Many a times, thumb impression doesn’t match thus wasting valuable time in the process. Many candidates aren’t fully aware about operating computers. They then suffer. Also, CBT examination can’t be fool proof system, as hacking technology in contemporary times of cybercrimes can’t be ruled out.
Okay if they are still adamant in having CBT test than they should do one mercy on us , that is, hold the examination for each district in one single day and test candidate’s capabilities on common 150 questions so it becomes a fair playing game rather than biased towards those who appear first. It’s high time for authorities at helm to look into genuine grievances and concerns of unemployed otherwise it will drag them to streets for advocating their concerns.

—The author holds a Master’s in Chemistry and is NET/SLET qualified. He can be reached at: malikjavid86@gmail.com