UPSC row: Removing English doesn’t make much difference

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2014 23:50 IST

There is a good reason why civil service aspirants aren’t satisfied with the government removing English from the Civil Services preliminary exam’s aptitude paper. The concession doesn’t make a big difference to anyone.

The Modi government’s decision to scrap English from the preliminary exam was guided by the assessment that the concession would not affect the quality of candidates selected to the country’s premier 23 civil services including the IAS and IPS.

Candidates who are not proficient in English would continue to be screened out of the recruitment process at the civil services main examination if they do not score the qualifying marks. In 2010, nearly 5% candidates who cleared the preliminary exam had flunked the English test at the second stage. In 2011, this rose to 11%.

In fact, it was only in 2011 that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) started testing candidates for English comprehension as part of the Paper II of the preliminary exam, widely referred to as Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT).

Paper I of the prelims tests aspirants for general knowledge.

The bigger problem, as far as the protesting civil service aspirants who haven’t cleared the exams are concerned, has been CSAT. This paper was introduced in 2011, replacing a paper where candidates could choose their subject from a wide range.

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