UPSC Protest over CSAT: Controversy Explained

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UPSC Protest
Bangalore, July 30: Protest by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirants made headlines in the country. The protesting students have been demanding to change the pattern of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) examination to make easy for the rural students. [Read: UPSC protest continues, but students can download admit cards]

What is the controversy?

  • Civil Services Preliminary Exam was introduced by UPSC in 2011.
  • UPSC, till 2010, had two papers - one on general studies and one on an optional subject where aspirants could choose one of 23 listed subjects.
  • Changing the syllabus from 2011, 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).

Why Do Protesters Have Problems with CSAT Syllabus?

  • Protesters claimed CSAT syllabus favour those who are from science or, more specifically, Engineering background.
  • Protesters also claimed that CSAT is discriminatory against students from Humanities, particularly those who have studied in Hindi-medium.
  • Protesters believe that English language comprehension skills, which the second paper tests, is discriminatory against students from a Hindi-medium background.
  • The protesters 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/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,
  • Protesters said, people who perform poorly in GS also qualify. CSAT is aptitude-based and aptitude cannot be improved much.
  • CSAT should not be given more weightage.

Google Translator Disaster:

  • Protesters also raised voice against disaster made by Google Translator.
  • Google Translator is used to translate CSAT questions from English to Hindi.
  • Translated Hindi questions give the literal meaning of the word.
  • Anyone, who has used Google translator, must have seen how poor quality result it produces.
  • The Google translator has put the aspirants from the Hindi belt in a disadvantageous situation and has also become a roadblock for them to qualify.

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