Success of less than one percent MPSC aspirants raises questions of competetive exam ecosystem
3,60,990 aspirants had appeared for the State Services preliminary examination.
Less than one percent of the students who had appeared for the Maharashtra Public Service Commission’s (MPSC) State Service examinations cleared the examination conducted in July 2019. The result declared on Friday, has once again brought forth the stark reality of the civil services examination in the state.
Every year, lakhs of students from all pockets of Maharashtra leave their villages and hometowns to prepare for the MPSC as well as Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations at the cities and towns that have alluring coaching centres and study halls promising to help them excel and pass. But how many of these actually clear the examinations?
As per the statement released by the MPSC, 3,60,990 aspirants had appeared for the State Services preliminary examination held in the state in February 2019. Out of these, 6,825 qualified for the Mains examination held in July 2019, which 1,326 happened to clear. Finally, after the interview round, 420 have been selected for different posts in the state.
The numbers show that only 0.0011 percent of the total number of aspirants have cleared the examination, leaving the rest 99.99 percent to either try again in the next attempt or find a different option.
“This is the reality of the competitive examination. Parents and young students are fascinated by government postings. They are ready to give the most productive years of their lives to prepare for these examinations. However, they don’t realise this huge gap that exists between the number of opportunities and the number of aspirants,” Mahesh Bade of MPSC Students Rights Group said.
“This was just one examination,” Bade said, stating that last year, over 34 lakh aspirants applied through the Mahapariksha portal for a mere 72,000 posts under Mega Bharti (mass recruitment) which is still pending. “There is no way so many of the applicants are going to clear public service examinations and get posted,” he added.
Bade who works for the welfare and issues of MPSC aspirants in Pune emphasised on the need to have a plan B. The continuous cycle of attempting the examinations also takes a toll on the mental health of the aspirants.
“The youth come to the cities and dive themselves into studies and classes at a very young age, and continue to give several attempts at clearing examinations for years. The costs of books, libraries, rent and classes are also high. However, if they do not clear until the very end, it’s difficult for them to start fresh when they are in their thirties. Many sink into the stress and depression, and we have seen some heartbreaking incidents of people taking their own lives. Therefore, I always recommend having a second plan ready, and accepting it at the right time,” Bade said.
PSI aspirant Bhujang Patil said that another factor adding to this imbalanced ratio is less number of posts, and repeat applicants.
“MPSC aspirants have been protesting against the fewer number of seats declared when the vacancies are many, for years. Moreover, students who have already been selected for the posts as higher as deputy collector are often seen repeating the examinations for even better rank. This is unjust towards the others, many of whom are not able to clear the examination by just a mark or two,” Patil added.
Role of coaching classes
“The way the coaching classes do their branding and marketing, they seem clearing examinations look very easy,” Bade said. However, the coaching classes only project the number of students from their respective institutes who have been successful.
“They don’t show the number of students who have not managed to clear the examination. They do not talk about the fewer number of postings available. I think the abundance of coaching centres is one of the reasons why so many students give the prime years of their lives to the preparations,” Bade said.
Breaking career stereotypes
“There is a need to break the stereotypes built around careers, as the world is changing drastically,” Sheetal Bapat, Founder Director, Shyamchi Aai Foundation said while talking to Indie Journal.
“Parents and students need to be made aware of the vast arenas of career opportunities of the changing world that they could opt for, instead of going after the traditional career choices, that have limited scope. These youth who come to cities aspiring for civil service when they are young. They are all well-educated, and there is so much that they could possibly do if they stay back and gain actual work experience,” Bapat said.
However, she said that career guidance given to the students coming from all nooks and corners of the state needs to improve.
“All children must get a chance to look beyond typical career choices. Children, as well as parents, must be made aware of different career opportunities. For this, we need to train teachers,” Bapat added.