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UPSC’s CSAT: Big fight for the languages

With approximately two weeks remaining for the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), there are still protestors on the streets against this UPSC conducted exam. While earlier the grievances were on the format of the question paper which included sections that tested English proficiency and mathematical skills, now the fight continues for the scrapping of the exam itself. Civil service aspirants are behaving the most uncivilized way by conducting rallies, burning cars and blocking roads.

If we get into the debate, the matters of this protest somewhere stand correct as those who have studied in the Hindi Medium schools and colleges have no basic understanding of the English language. Similarly, along with these, the students of Humanities background face the similar issue with Mathematics in picture.

The problems mostly arise in the students from rural areas of the less educated states, the plight of whom is justified. There are a few or in fact no academic avenues in such areas. Who is to blame here? The government whose policies couldn’t provide the best education or the protestors who are not ready to adhere to the policies already made.

The new government had formed a three member committee led by Arvind Varma to look into the matter. Varma Committee report that was submitted on 31st July stated that the Civil Service Aptitude Test is a scientifically formed exam and shouldn’t be tinkered with. The government however to stabilize the matter announced that the marks of English won’t be considered for the merit list and those who had appeared for the examination in 2011 will get another chance in 2015.

But the streets are still crying out for help. Is Mathematics the issue in hand? But the fact is that the number of questions dealing with this ‘hard’ subject fell down to just three in 2012 compared to 23 in 2011. Is that too much to test? But no matter what happens, CSAT according to the agitators is and will continue to ruin their lives.

Well. I don’t see the aspirants of other government recruitment exams taking to the streets? Basic English and Math is tested in those as well (CSAT aspirants have a different level of demands, then). I have never seen people from other regional languages complaining for CSAT (the protestors’ state that the fight is just not for the Hindi language but the other regional languages too).

The fight is against the engineers too? Why? Those with banners in hands say there are more engineers clearing the civil exams. But dear babies, look at the increased number of engineers? More engineers, more applications and more selections. No? There has been a rising graph for the number of engineering graduates for 6-7 years now. And these engineers never complain? There are no exams that align with their subjects like computer sciences or electronics. Also, the people who are more fluent in English never complain of writing a compulsory Indian Language exam for the mains.

Can we have protests for anything and everything?

With different parties in the frame giving different views, the question is how can this problem be solved? I don’t think scrapping away the exam itself is a solution at that too at this stage. There can be some solutions. Rejecting the CSAT or defending it is not one. The preliminary exam like the mains paper can be translated in the other regional languages and not just Hindi and English, I believe. As some other political leader suggested, English should be removed from the preliminary stage (and not just the merit list criteria) and then the successful candidates should be given the English language and speaking training for 12 months, so as to increase their horizon for the language and solve the ongoing problem.

But then I think English is not a language that can be mastered in a year. The others will still have an edge over the people from the Hindi States. Those who are fighting for English should realize that once you are a civil servant, isn’t English some language, the absence of which will create some fine number of problems in the professional life of a Class-1 officer?

Questions are there.

But answers are lost in the deluge of these questions.

imagecourtesy: India Today



(ireshg@dubeat.com); IInd year commerce student at Hans Raj College, Delhi University, Iresh inherited writing from nobody. Not equipped well with mind of a business maestro, he just likes to sit back with a cup of tea trying to balance journalism and poetry. One can generally find him chit-chatting with people (strangers and known, both) or struggling in the overcrowded city of Delhi looking for a seat to watch a play or some Bollywood film, at a cheap price ofcourse. (He hates people who hate Bollywood). An anchor, compère and interviewer, he also enjoys event management and cooking. Known well for his sense of humour, Iresh aspires to integrate his three interests of Movies, Marketing and Writing to make something out of his unproductive life as his elder generation terms it to be.


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