Giving a distinct advantage to the urban English medium-educated students, the changed pattern of the Civil Services examination was notified by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Tuesday.
Though the motto of the UPSC was to establish a level playing field with increased weightage for the General Studies component, introduction of an additional English language paper and restrictions on choosing languages as optional papers have put many aspirants in a quandary.
As per the new norm, students opting to write the exam in Telugu should have studied in Telugu medium at the degree level and have majored in Telugu literature. Such new norms have poured water on the dreams of many aspirants from rural areas who have studied in Telugu medium till school and moved to English medium for better prospects.
“We demand that those who have studied in Telugu medium in school should be allowed to take the test in Telugu,” says Rajesh, an aspirant. Aspirants like Rajesh are mostly from engineering background, where English language writing skills are not a major issue given the technical subjects in the course.
K. Krishna Reddy, Hon’ Director of Hyderabad Study Circle feels restrictions in languages will impede the success of such students. Interestingly, Hindi medium students enjoy the advantage of appearing in Hindi language language.
Some aspirants are confident of handling the compulsory English paper, but they feel changes in
General Studies papers are extensive and require writing skills in English, which they have not been taught while doing engineering or conventional science courses. “In such scenario students from humanities background would have a head-start and unfortunately few students in Andhra Pradesh opt for humanities as compared to engineering in their graduation,” says V. Gopala Krishna of Brain Tree that trains the aspirants.
The major changes brought in for the Mains exam from this year are the introduction of four general studies papers of 250 marks each replacing earlier pattern of two papers of 300 marks each. Marks for optional subjects have been reduced drastically as the two optional papers are worth 250 marks each unlike two papers of 600 marks. “Changes in optionals was expected as certain optional papers were giving undue advantage to a few,” says Mr. Gopala Krishna.
The repeaters are also an unhappy lot as they have less than a year for preparation in the new pattern. Those in their last attempt are more worried and they feel UPSC should give sufficient time before adopting changes.
An interesting change is the introduction of paper that will test aspirants on “ethics, integrity and aptitude” and it will use case study methods to analyse candidate’s attitude towards society’s problems and the approach in dealing with them.