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Late fee for Madhya Pradesh State Eligibility Test is Rs 25,000!

Needless to say, a majority of the youngsters taking the State Eligibility Examination are unemployed. Moreover, this exam does not straightaway fetch them jobs, but only makes them eligible for appointment as assistant professor or lecturer in state-run colleges and universities

Those desirous of teaching in colleges and universities as assistant professors in Madhya Pradesh are being asked to pay Rs 25,000 as late fee for an eligibility examination they will need to write to be eligible for the positions. 

In January this year, the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission (PSC) had issued a notification for the State Eligibility Test (SET). The last date for submitting applications for the examination online was 26 February 2023. 

According to the notification, after February 26, the applicants could submit their forms with a late fee of Rs 3,000 from March 1 to 10. Now, the PSC has given another opportunity to candidates to submit application forms, along with a late fee. The window is open from March 15 to 21. However, the amount to be paid as late fee – Rs 25000 – has come as a shocker to most. 

Obviously, this is a huge amount. How the PSC arrived at the figure could be a matter for research. It will be interesting to find out whether this is the highest late fee assigned for any eligibility test in the country.

Needless to say, a majority of the youngsters taking the State Eligibility Examination are unemployed. Moreover, this exam does not straightaway fetch them jobs, but only makes them eligible for appointment as assistant professor or lecturer in state-run colleges and universities.

The offices of the MP Public Service Commission

Pertinently, more than 4,000 teaching posts are lying vacant with the Higher Education Department of the state government. That has translated into an army of “guest lecturers” handling the teaching assignments. A fair number of colleges and universities in the state are entirely dependent on the “guest lecturers” for teaching. 

The guest lecturers are also an unhappy lot. Many of them are PhDs and have also qualified NET/SET (National/State Eligibility Test). They have been teaching for years, some for decades, but their future is uncertain and their honorarium is nothing to write home about. Currently, they are paid at the rate of Rs 1,500 per working day. With the number of working days in a month averaging between 20 and 24, they can expect around Rs 30,000 at the end of the month. Some time ago, Narayan Tripathi, a BJP MLA from Maihar constituency, had written a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan apprising him of the plight of these guest lecturers. The letter was much talked about. 

Clearing SET is crucial for the youths who want to make a career in academics. Recently, the PSC advertised 1,696 posts of assistant professors, for which applications are being accepted. More such vacancies can arise in the future. The SET thus becomes a crucial career gateway for the youth.

How will the candidates, who haven’t been able to submit their applications for SET, arrange Rs 25,000 for paying the late fee? The functionaries of the PSC are no greenhorns. Given the fact that the commission has decades-long experience in holding exams, that it has come out with such a bloated figure is astonishing. Isn’t this abject insensitivity towards the thousands of young men and women vying for jobs in academia? 

(Translated from the original Hindi by Amrish Herdenia)


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About The Author

Javed Anis

Javed Anis is a Bhopal-based human rights activist who writes regularly on social and political issues.

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