UPSC puts civil services aspirants in quandary

Changes in main exam pattern takes students off guard

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) seems to have let the cat among the pigeons. In a notification, the UPSC, has announced a change in the main examination pattern of the civil services examination.

The move, as was anticipated, has created a flutter among students and coaching institutes. While majority of the candidates and teachers alike welcomed the change as inevitable, the sudden announcement, which comes into effect forthwith, has, however, caught them off guard.

Also, the government has made it difficult to write exams in one’s regional language, creating dissatisfaction among a section of students banking on it.

The decision to increase weightage for general studies by taking out one of the optional subjects has also caused some uncertainty over the prospects of faring well in the exam.

Only one optional subject

A change was brought into preliminary examination of civil services two years ago. The change, this year, is with respect to main examination. Instead of choosing two optional subjects, from now on, students will have to choose just one optional subject.

In Paper I, they would be writing English essay, comprehension and precis for 300 marks. Paper II will be general studies which will include topics in Indian heritage and culture, history and geography of the world and society.

The third paper will also be on general studies with questions pertaining to governance, Constitution, polity, social justice and international relations. In the fourth paper, candidates will be tested on general studies again with respect to technology, economic development, environment and disaster management. Each of these papers will be for 250 marks.

What has however roiled the candidates is the ambiguous nature of paper V which mentions Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude, leaving them befuddled as what to expect in the exam hall. Paper VI and VII will be based on optional subject chosen by the candidate, all for 250 marks again.

Changes brought in haste

According to C SAT, TIME Assistant Course Director Kiran Kumar, changes have been brought in a haste. Anticipating a dip in number of candidates registering for the exam this time, he, however, observes that it was time to refurbish the syllabi of optional subjects as well, which badly needs to be updated.

Students, henceforth, will have to write the exam in either Hindi or English, unless they have passed their Bachelor’s in regional language. Further, students will not have the option of choosing a language as optionals, unless they have a bachelor’s degree with that language as major subject.

However, Radhika D, who cleared the exam last year and currently undergoing training in Hyderabad, felt the decision to pull out languages from optionals was welcome as valuation was biased in favour of those who chose regional languages as their optional subject, since it would be done by local professors.

Echoing similar sentiment Dr Jagadish Naik, a IAS probationer in Madikeri, said: When you are left to take decisions, it is not your expertise in one subject that comes to use. It is general awareness, ethics and aptitude.”

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