UPSC tells government that scrapping CSAT could result in litigation
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has reportedly communicated to the government that scrapping or postponing the 2014 CSAT examination could invite litigation.
The government has been told that the preliminary exams should be held on August 24 as scheduled.
Thousands of aspirants have been protesting against the changed pattern of the CSAT that allegedly favours English-speaking students.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had written a letter suggesting a host of measures to address the concerns of the students including postponing the preliminary exam by a month or scrapping it completely.
In response, the UPSC said any change or postponement of the CSAT at this stage would attract litigations, as around two lakh admit cards had been distributed for the exam.
UPSC aspirants have been protesting vociferously against the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) examination, which was introduced in 2011, and demanded that it be made easy for rural students.
Till 2010, the UPSC had two papers - one on general studies and one on an optional subject, where aspirants could choose one of the 23 listed subjects. Changing the syllabus from 2011, the UPSC replaced the optional subject paper with a paper that tests the aspirants' aptitude -- CSAT.
The second paper in the preliminary exam comprises comprehension, interpersonal skills including communication skills, logical reasoning and analytical ability, decision making and problem solving, general mental ability, basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc - Class X level).
The syllabus also has data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc - Class X level) and English language comprehension skills (Class X level).
Aspirants are having problems with the CSAT syllabus, as they feel it favours those who are from the science stream or, more specifically from an engineering background.
They have also claimed that CSAT is discriminatory against students from the humanities stream, particularly those who have studied in Hindi. The protesters believe that the English language comprehension skills, which the second paper tests, is discriminatory against students from a Hindi-medium background. They claim that since the changes were introduced in 2011, the number of humanities students clearing the preliminary exam has fallen drastically, while the number of those with science and engineering background has shot up.
While the general studies (GS) paper has a minimum cut-off of 30 marks, for CSAT it is 70 marks. The protesters said that the CSAT is an aptitude-based test, and since aptitude cannot be improved much, the CSAT should not be given more weightage.
The protesters have also raised their voice against the use of the Google Translator for translating CSAT questions from English to Hindi, which they termed as a disastrous experiment.
(Posted on 01-08-2014)
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