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CSAT: Overemphasizing Hindi creates headache for aspirants

CSAT: Overemphasizing Hindi creates headache for aspirants

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Civil Service Aptitude test (CSAT) in the recent weeks. With the exams scheduled to begin on August 24 this year, the students continue their protests demanding scrapping of CSAT exam which was introduced in 2011 by the S.K.Khanna committee.

The committee introduced the new pattern “to create a level playing field for candidates, irrespective of their linguistic background or stream, for testing their aptitude and analytical skills”. The students have also demanded the postponement of the exam. The BJP-led NDA government on Monday had said that the marks in English language comprehension skills of the UPSC aptitude test would not be included in the gradation or the merit list. The students who appeared for the 2011 civil service exams would be allowed one more attempt in 2015. According to the students, the new rule is discriminatory to those with a background of humanities, Hindi and regional languages. The government’s opinion was based on consultations with Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) representatives and the three-member committee set up to review the examination pattern.

There were repeated uproar and several adjournments in the Parliament in the past few days over the issue. Earlier, opposition had demanded a definite time-frame from the government, in the Rajya Sabha to resolve the issue with many senior leaders from the non-Hindi speaking states objecting to the move. The aspirants feel that they are “cheated” by the government and say that they should be given equal priority and benefits as the students in the Hindi medium. The number of candidates from the non-Hindi speaking states including Kerala who attempted and passed the examination in the Hindi medium dropped drastically in 2011.

Modi’s promoting Hindi in the social media and in official work and pushing for it to replace English as the preferred language of the nation has also triggered a controversy. Modi uses Hindi for discussions and speeches during his foreign visits. Even though English and Hindi are the two official languages of the country, English language is commonly used by the younger generation in India who understands and communicates better in the language than in Hindi. About 55% of the population doesn’t know to speak or write Hindi. People in the non-Hindi speaking states either use the regional languages or English. English language is used around the world including India for exchange of ideas and information and in the present world scenario of social, business, technological and economic boom, it is impossible and illogical to cut off English from the system. Measuring general knowledge and aptitude through the language that the candidate is most comfortable with would be a highly effective inclusive processes that would help draw the best talent from all parts of India. Therefore equal importance and respect should be given to all the languages and not just Hindi alone.

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