The article “How UPSC got its English wrong” (March 18) raised genuine concerns over the commission’s notification (now withheld) making English a predominant component of the civil services examination. The proposal to restrict the candidates’ option to write the examination in their regional language and the provision that literature cannot be chosen as an optional if the candidate has not graduated in it are highly discriminatory. While there is very little time to adjust to the new pattern, the proposed changes will have a more adverse impact on candidates who are making a last attempt.
In the last few years, UPSC has become the Urban Public Service Commission. In 2011, it made mandatory e-submission of forms for preliminaries and mains. In a country where the government is yet to provide electricity to all villages, how can rural candidates have access to the Internet? Almost more than 60 per cent of India lives in such villages. This year, the UPSC introduced the English component. The marks in this will not just be qualifying in nature but will decide your rank. Is the UPSC keen on eliminating Bharat from the civil services?
Making at least one language mandatory to test a candidate’s communication skills is welcome. The point of dispute is the undermining of regional languages by imposing unrealistic conditions. Our culture and heritage are directly linked with our mother tongue. A person who is not able to communicate effectively in English is certainly not a fool.
English may prevail as a common language but the right to choose any Indian language as a medium of expression should not be taken away. It is not the language, but the ability to communicate that matters.
Knowledge can be expressed in any language. The rural and poor aspirants should get an equal opportunity to prove themselves.
Rahul B. Munoyat,
When Hindi is allowed as a medium in the UPSC mains examination, why should the option of other regional languages be conditional? While the UPSC cannot prevent the economically and socially backward sections by imposing such restrictions, its effort to tune the syllabus according to the demands of time is justified.
Aspirants are not worried so much about change in the examination pattern. But the timing is a matter of concern. The timing of the notification coupled with the controversy over the medium of taking the examination has made matters worse for the candidates.
Sachin S. Salunkhe,
The proposed changes to the civil service main examination pattern are a significant step towards the internationalisation of bureaucracy. The charge that the UPSC notification reflects “language bias” is unfortunate. We need to recognise that the time has come to get out of the comfort zone and aspire for a better administrative machinery. The proposed changes will spur rural students, mostly confined to regional language, to learn English and Hindi.
The hue and cry over the UPSC notification is unnecessary. The 21st century civil servant is expected to be a competent and dynamic individual with a fair sense of alacrity and sensitivity. Proficiency in English cannot be relegated to the background. It is time the government stopped knee-jerk reactions while introducing reforms.