COVID-19: Civil services aspirants hit as coaching institutes shut down ahead of exam

G Naga Sridhar | | Updated on: Mar 17, 2020
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Candidates aspiring for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and other top civil services jobs are now a worried lot.

As part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, coaching institutes including those in New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai have been shut down.

“This is like a bolt from the blue as we are in the last leg of preparation and are also concerned over the uncertainly of the time that will be required to tame the virus,’’ Sanjana Karr, an aspirant in Delhi, told BusinessLine over phone.

About five lakh students apply for Civil Services Examinations (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year for 700-800 posts, including in the IAS, Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Police Service.

This year’s exam is scheduled to be held from May 31 and many aspirants take personal coaching and practice tests.

“What is impacted is the most important and last leg of preparation for current affairs and practice tests and explanation,” said Venkatesh Ramaprolu, a software professional and an aspirant in Hyderabad. The coaching cycle generally commences in June and ends in March or mid-April.

According to Sriram, Founder-Director, Sriram IAS, a New Delhi-based coaching centre, all institutes are closed in line with government orders. “We have, of course, completed the portion and are distributing test booklets for students,” he said.

Given the nature of the exam, dependence on last- minute preparation and completion of syllabus will not augur well for students, he added. But problems are aplenty for students. “Aspirants cannot complete their revision or attendreal-time mock tests,” Krishna Pradeep, Chairman of Hyderabad-based 21st Century IAS said.

According to R Upendra Shetty, Director, Universal Coaching Centre, Bengaluru, “there is ‘panic’ among students. “But syllabus related to screening test must have been covered by now, except for the current affairs. And serious students who started preparation early are safe for the preliminary examination,” he added.

There are also additional challenges in the form of closure of hostels, mess and other facilities.

In a way, the impact goes beyond students. Most of the institutes engage faculty on a hourly basis and this will result in temporary unemployment for teachers too.

Published on March 17, 2020

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