NEW DELHI: “They are doing exactly what they did with the Staff Selection Paper (SSC) exam, they don’t want us to appear for it and benefit some other people,” said Saudanshri from Bulandshahr, who had come to Delhi in the morning to take an exam for sub-inspector’s job in the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
On Saturday morning, over 400 aspirants from far flung areas of Uttar Pradesh, had reached the exam centre located in South Delhi to take the exam. But 20 minutes before the online exam was to end, the server crashed, leading to confusion among students.
Speaking to Newsclick, Atul, an aspirant from Moradabad, narrated what transpired in the examination centre. “The exam at the centre takes place in two shifts, one 9 a.m onward and the other from 12.45 p.m. I was appearing for the exam in the first shift, with barely 20 minutes to go for the exam to end, the server went down showing no connection.”
Students present at the site said, “The server started showing a ‘no connection’ message, in the meantime, we saw some students being taken to another lab. This led to suspicion this was done deliberately.”
However, denying the allegations being made by the protesting students, a head constable of the RPF who was stationed there, said on the condition of anonymity, that “the systems were working fine two-three days ago and no problems were reported to us. We are still trying to figure out how the server went down, as we are not well versed with the technical aspects of the issues and do not understand what happened.”
Meanwhile, enraged students alleged that it was a “pre-planned” attempt at leak as the moment the server went down, the aspirants were not asked to vacate the centre, with many continuing to write the exam. As chaos unfolded, some students also managed to go outside and bring their phones back.
By afternoon, over 400 students had spilled out on the road waiting to go back into the centre to appear for the exam during the second shift. Chanchal from Ghaziabad said, “We are unsure if we will be allowed to sit for the exam or not. More importantly, we don't know if we can trust this process.”
Some students said the The breach is not just the question of our future, but for over 5,000 other students who appear for the exam across the country.”
Meanwhile, police arrived at the centre following an hour-long protest by students demanding re-examination, and assured them of action.
The chaos at the examination centre is yet another example of problems associated with online examinations, technical snags and the possibility of breaches being some of them.
The previous experience of competitive online exams such as CLAT, and more recently, the Staff Selection (SSC) Exam and the NEET exam are proof that in the name of objectifying the process, the administration ends up unfavourably harming the interests of the aspirants.