Government jobs have always managed to attract a good number of people, mainly because of its secure nature. Public Service Commission (PSC) of various States are responsible for conducting the exams for all appointments at the State level, whereas the Union Public Service Commission looks after those at the Central level. Like most of the government proceedings, these exams are always a bit complex.
Every week different people appear for PSC exams that are meant to recruit eligible candidates for hundreds of posts. Apart from being riddled with flaws, of late the questions for these papers seem to be lifted from previous ones.
GATE overflow is a portal that contains the previous year’s question papers of various exams like GATE, PSC, ISRO, etc. Different questions are classified under category-based subheadings and the questions that fall in these categories are given here.
Recently, the administrator of the page, Arjun Suresh happened to see the question paper of Kerala PSC – Assistant Professor Recruitment – and was shocked to discover that the major questions of the paper, except one or two, were copied from a previous GATE question paper. The website has the link to it, which clearly shows that the questions have been duplicated and from where they have been taken.
Is it legal to copy major parts of previous question papers? Moreover, is this an ethical practice?
Speaking to The Kochi Post, Arjun commented, “The authorities are answerable to the public. If this is legally fine, then this should be mentioned to all exam takers. Let them all prepare the same way and compete to clear the exam. Otherwise, those who know about this are at an advantage, which is not correct. Based on my experience, I do not think any institute in Kerala is qualified enough to make good quality question papers. All they know is to ‘copy and paste’, which is only illegal if done by students. Even throughout India, only GATE, TIFR, ISI, and similar top class institutes prepare quality questions that are new and not copied from anywhere. UGCNET has recently reached a good level in this aspect. Now, in the current situation, when the Internet has become a part and parcel of everything, it is clear that the questions are going to be copied as nobody is interested or has the time to sit and prepare a question paper as it requires a skill and lot of research.”
He is also of the opinion that if this is the case then the government should select candidates based on GATE/NET, etc. which would obviously be much better.
“While copying questions, why don’t they at least edit something so that after the candidates read the questions, they won’t just mark the answers from memory. These exams will be surely attended by candidates who are preparing for GATE as well and all these questions will be in their memory. The only good thing here is that the copying has happened from GATE papers, which is available freely, though not officially, and not from some paid published question bank,” he added.
Referring to questions and taking similar ones are fine, but the authorities must ensure that the questions are taken from a spread of different places and not just three or four papers as has happened here. Even GATE has in total more than 3,000 questions for Common Selection Examination.
This is not the first time such an incident is taking place. Similar cases have also been reported in the past. Complaints were raised about copying questions from a guide for the examination conducted by the PSC for the posts of Higher Secondary School Teacher (Zoology category no.118/09), reserved for SCs/STs. The examination was conducted in November 2011. It was found that many questions for the exam were copied from a guide, published by Arihant Publications. The New Indian Express had reported the same. Similarly, the question paper for ISRO’s CSE- 2016 contained 30 per cent questions from the previous year’s GATE papers.
If these copied questions are being set for the examinations, anyone who follows these sites and books continuously can easily crack the papers. In order to have a solid government machinery, the personnel recruited should also possess good calibre. An examination is the first step of gauging a candidate’s potential. If this doesn’t take place in a fair manner, how can there be an effective administration?