The Unlevel Field

The Economist August 9th, 2014

The Unlevel Field: India’s civil service exams

Delhi–Fights over English speak to deeper problems in Education

“For weeks angry students, most of whom went to Hindi schools, have been taking to the streets of Delhi, the capital, in protests over India’a national language.  That language is, of course,  English…They claimed it discriminated against candidates who had not gone to English-language schools.  On August 4th the government buckled, saying that this year, marks for an English-language portion of the test would not count.

It has hardly mollfied the students.  Many want the Civil Serices Aptitude Test scrapped altogether.  ‘We are not against English or maths,’ says Janardan Mishra, a 22-year-old graduate from Allahabadm inperfecly colloquial English.  ‘We want only a level playing field.’…

As for the students, their complaints run deeper than language wars. A senior bureaucrat who used to teach at the civil service’s national acadamy was blunt abut the real problem the protesters faced. ‘They’re going to miserable schools which teach them nothing.”

A level playing field is desirable; an unlevel one not fair, one side playing football might have to  kick a ball uphill, the other downhill, or there could be problems side to side.



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