English phobia

English phobia

English phobia

The recent controversy surrounding the changes in the civil services examination has brought the issue of English phobia to the forefront. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) introduced English comprehension and précis as a compulsory paper in the exam, drawing criticism from some political parties and students hailing from rural backgrounds. However, this debate should not revolve solely around the inclusion of English in the examination but should prompt a broader discussion on the importance of English education and its implementation in the Indian education system.

It is crucial to acknowledge that English is not the only subject that tests students’ skills in competitive exams. Many other subjects, such as General Mental Ability and Basic Numeracy, are part of various competitive exams. If the argument is to remove English from the civil services exam due to its perceived difficulty for certain students, then by the same logic, other subjects should also be reconsidered. However, removing subjects from competitive exams is not the solution.

English is a global language and plays a significant role in facilitating communication and interaction across borders. In today’s interconnected world, proficiency in English opens up numerous opportunities for students and professionals. Banning English from competitive exams would be detrimental to the aspirations of many students seeking global exposure and better career prospects.

The opposition to English in civil services exams often stems from the inadequacy of English education in government schools and rural areas. It is essential for the government to address this issue at its root by focusing on improving the quality of English education in these institutions. Instead of advocating the removal of English from exams, leaders should channel their efforts towards ensuring that students have access to quality English education.

Government schools should be equipped with well-trained English teachers and adequate resources to impart effective language skills to students. English must be taught as a functional language, emphasizing communication and comprehension. By doing so, students will no longer fear the subject and will be better prepared to face competitive exams.

While it is true that knowing English should not be the sole criterion for selecting civil servants, it cannot be denied that English proficiency is essential in today’s globalized world. A bureaucrat who can communicate effectively in English will have an advantage in representing India on international platforms and engaging with counterparts from other countries. Therefore, rather than dismissing the importance of English, efforts should be made to bridge the language gap and promote a comprehensive understanding of the language.

The government should resist bowing down to the demands of English-phobic politicians and prioritize the modernization of English education in the country. Emphasizing English education does not mean neglecting regional languages or undermining linguistic diversity. India’s strength lies in its linguistic richness, and efforts should be made to promote all constitutionally recognized Indian languages alongside English.

As the government contemplates its decision, it must consider the impact on students. Timely notification of changes in the examination pattern is crucial to allow students ample time to prepare effectively. The current imbroglio has caused confusion among students, hindering their preparation for the mains examination. The government should be mindful of the students’ future and take prompt actions to address their concerns.

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding English in civil services exams provides an opportunity for introspection and reform in the education system. Instead of eliminating subjects from competitive exams, the focus should be on strengthening the teaching of English in government schools and rural areas. English is an important tool for India’s growth and integration into the global arena. A well-rounded education that includes proficiency in English, along with a commitment to preserving linguistic diversity, will empower the future generation of civil servants and leaders. The government must make informed decisions that benefit students and elevate the standard of education in the country.