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Problems yes, but nothing to worry

Problems yes, but nothing to worry
Highlights

Selection of candidates for All India Civil Services made by the UPSC from the state is quite low this year....

Selection of candidates for All India Civil Services made by the UPSC from the state is quite low this year. In fact it has been going down during the last few years. While this is no doubt a worrying factor, the causes for which are explained by some of the experts here, they also assure that with necessary adjustments to the new exam patterns and proper preparations the future could be quite bright for us.
Delhi makes a difference madhava raoOur students stop appearing for civils if they fail in their first or second attempt. But those from other states don't do it. They will work with even more vigour and try to hit their target I don't see any alarming situation with regard to decrease in number from our state in the civil services final results. Sometimes, the number may be high and sometimes it's less. After slowdown in IT sector, the craze for civil services in our state has gone up. Though I don't have exact figures, many engineering students started appearing for civils for the last five to six years. Due to visa restrictions, some medical graduates have also turned their attention to civils. So, the competition has increased within the state. The competition in other states has also gone up. I say backwardness is the reason for it. The more backward you are the more the urge would be. In AP, we are relatively comfortable and everything is available at our door step. We do have coaching institutes here. But the aspirants from backward states as well as northern region throng Delhi after graduation, eke out a living by way of doing petty jobs and simultaneously prepare for the civils. Not only Delhi has excellent coaching centres but the competitive environment makes a candidate work hard to achieve his goal. So, I can say with emphasis, Delhi makes a difference in civils preparation. That's the reason why in the last few years, some of our boys and girls have also been to Delhi to get coached. Our students stop appearing for civils if they fail in their first or second attempt. But those from other states don't do it. They will work with even more vigour and try to hit their target. Language is no barrier for our students. In fact, our students are very good and at ease in English. It is also wrong to interpret that UPSC system is not immaculate. UPSC's methodology of evaluating a candidate's ability is absolutely correct. Let me also tell you that there is no regional or Delhi bias while selecting the cream. I call it a blip with regard to fall in number this time. But I am confident that our boys will improve in the years to come. They will accustom to the new pattern, no doubt.
No short cut answer to the problem
chalamBoys from state have certain advantages and few deficiencies like over emphasis on Engineering courses. They need to de- learn and get to know about the wide spectrum of the world The recent results are one of the least scores during the last one decade. The highest number of Telugu speaking candidates was around 95 about two years ago. This has come down drastically due to several reasons. 1. Some of the candidates were under the impression that the new pattern of examination would come in to effect from 2012. Therefore, some seem to have taken it serious and got confused. 2. Most of the candidates from the state have academic degrees in Engineering with English as a medium of instruction. Some of them chose to write in Telugu medium and have taken optionals other than their academic degrees. They do not have proper guidance in the sense the kind of problems in writing chaste Telugu and in subjects that are alien are not studied properly by the teachers and solutions provided. There is no short cut answer to these problems. Further, the pattern of examination and the subjects of written test have changed from 2013. The candidates appearing for civil services need to know more about the subject specific areas in the form of General Studies now compared to previous pattern. The weightage to this is much higher than what the candidates and the coaching institutes thought of. Those who were qualified with under graduate degrees and with some academic knowledge in subjects like Public administration, history etc are in a disadvantage now. In a way, the UPSC is providing a level playing field to everyone of offering the same type and content except in one Optional paper in a chosen subject. The preparation for civil services is different from university examinations where academic knowledge in the subject is tested and marks given. This is different and the pattern of questions and the methods keep on changing. Boys from state have certain advantages and few deficiencies like over emphasis on Engineering courses. They need to de- learn and get to know about the wide spectrum of the world. The past results show that those who have chosen Telugu as optional have excelled compared to other languages. But, they cannot rely on one subject now. The coaching institutes as of now can give them only guidance and much depends upon how they made up their minds? (As told to Bh Ramakrishna)
Reasons are too many
ShashankaAndhra Pradesh secured 55 ranks in 2011 examinations and this year it stood at 33. In my view, it would not be possible to arrive at specific reasons for this on an year on year basis. A trend analysis, over a period of at least five years, can throw some light on the root causes. State wise results may not give clearer picture as each candidate attends multiple coaching centers and may change optionals in between the attempts. However, possible reasons for sub-optimal performance could be: (1) New pattern (analytical and opinion based) of questions (more in case of GS), (2) Availability of study material in Telugu medium, (3) Many non- selections at Prelims level (more in case of students of rural background due to language skills - CSAT Paper II) and (4) Coaching availability is restricted to few optionals (PA, Anthro, Telugu Lit. and History) at Hyderabad. Historical reasons are: (1) Lack of early orientation towards civil services examination in the state and creme de la creme opting for other streams and, (2) Limited availability of coaching/orientation in district/rural areas.
There are ways to catch up
Padmanabhaiahstudents who have never seriously read a newspaper in their life, want to know how to prepare for current affairs papers. One cannot imbibe General knowledge by reading a book or notes in the last six months before the exams If we take the reported figure of 55 for the year 2011 then the continuous fall is a matter of serious concern. Similarly the number of rank holders from the State within the first 25 also has been going down over the same period. As the annual recruitment is about 1,000, this small number of 25 this year for a big State like Andhra Pradesh is not a happy situation. The obvious reason is that the candidates writing the exam in last few years are not serious. The trend I have noticed over the last two years is that a very large proportion of our students are those passing out with a B. Tech. degree from a plethora of non-descript engineering colleges which have mush roomed over the state. These jobless engineers and those with unsatisfactory jobs take a shot at the civil service examinations and try their luck. Most of them pick up some two subjects from humanities which they had never studied at college level. Most of the so called IAS coaching institutes only give routine notes and so called tips to crack the exams. To take another example, students who have never seriously read a newspaper in their life, want to know how to prepare for current affairs papers. One cannot imbibe General knowledge by reading a book or notes in the last six months before the exams. One develops it over a life time by reading standard newspapers, and by keeping one's eyes and ears for what is happening round him/her and also by an eagerness to learn things. The changes made in the pattern of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) last year have also thrown a number of candidates off their track. Similarly the changes made this year, by placing much greater emphasis on General Knowledge, Governance, Constitution of India, including Ethics etc and doing away with the second optional subject, unless properly handled would also throw up a major challenge to those who learn by rote and depend on the tips given by how -to -crack -the civil -services coaching centres. A third reason is the fact that candidates appearing from other than metropolitan areas have limited access for interaction with thought leaders, analysts and commentators of political, economic and social developments, intellectuals, authors, and retired and senior civil servants, through lectures, seminars etc. This is the reason for Delhi scoring 12 ranks in the first 25. It is for breaking this system that some institutes have decided to catch real young aspirants with fire in their belly who passed tenth standard with merit and to train them over a period of five years in relevant subjects and also impart necessary skills.
Poor preparation
gopikrishnaI personally feel that the preparation of our boys is not good. Coaching institutes are not doing their job properly. I suggest frequent mock tests be held. Urban students in many cities like Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai have an advantage of learning some basic things like approach, scientific way of attempting questions etc. Students of AP don't have that advantage. The theoretical knowledge of our students is very dismal. Three things viz knowledge, clarity of thought and presentation skills are very important. Our boys should try to acquire them. Yes, I agree, AP students have a language barrier. Writing and speaking in English should be improved.
Why not Prelims in Telugu also?
Rcreddyclearing Prelim became very difficult for Telugu medium students as comprehending comprehension requires very good vocabulary The performance of A.P candidates was good in Civil Services Examination in the past, particularly in the 2010 C.S.Exam when it was very good. Reasons: First, till 2010 there used to be one optional along with General Studies at the preliminary level which were either in English or Hindi medium. Even though they were in English medium, our Telugu medium students with some difficulty used to manage them because comprehending known subject matter was not that difficult. However, with the replacement of optional with the aptitude paper in 2011 wherein Comprehension accounts for nearly fifty percent of this paper, clearing Prelim became very difficult for Telugu medium students as comprehending comprehension requires very good vocabulary. Hence, number of Telugu medium students passing the Preliminary has come down significantly which had its effect on final selections. Second, fortunes of optionals (scoring pattern in optionals) fluctuate like shares in the stock market, sometimes up (bullish), and sometimes down (bearish).Those with the rising optionals (bullish) get selected and those with the falling optionals (bearish) do not get selected. Popular optionals in Hyderabad like Public Administration and Geography are on the decline leading to fall in the number of selections from Hyderabad. Scoring or non scoring of optionals depend on type of question paper, tough or easy, and answer sheet evaluation, conservative or liberal. A lot of bias is also there in evaluating literature optionals. In 2012 exam, it appears Malayalam literature has done very well. There were years when Telugu literature has done well. lf some do very well in one optional, or a few optionals, others with poor scoring optionals will get affected very badly. This is a major cause for the decline in the number of selections from Hyderabad. Thus, a little bit of luck also matters in getting good marks in written tests as well as interview. Some interview boards are liberal whereas some boards are conservative in giving marks. From 2013, role of luck might come down because of one optional with less weightage in place of two optionals with higher weightage.
Remedies:
Non-Hindi Indian language medium candidates should demand conduction of Preliminary Examination not only in English and Hindi media, but also in media of languages mentioned in the Eigth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. lf an optional opted by a candidate is not scoring, a candidate may choose another optional as Srujana replaced Psychology with Philosophy in her fourth attempt and got selected for IAS in 2012. Earlier, Vineel Krishna replaced Civil Engineering with Public Administration and got qualified for IAS.
Future holds promise
It is only this year that we could not bag a rank in the top ten. No specific reasons need be attributed to this. It is just a matter of chance gopalIt is a matter of pride that in all the South Indian States, Andhra Pradesh has consistently contributed incumbents to the All India Services and the Central Services. Tracing the history, we can observe that there were many who entered the service in 1980s and 1990s. In fact, in the early 90s about 2,000 aspirants used to write the Mains and Hyderabad was regarded as a regional centre with the maximum number of aspirants. In 1997, we had about 75 candidates qualifying. Then came the software boom with attractive pay packets, with easier opportunities to settle down immediately after graduation in the land of opportunities � `The U.S.' When a father counseled his son to join the Civil Service as it gave the much needed job security , pat came the reply, " In life there is no security only opportunity". Then came the `Recession', which busted the 'opportunity' myth and made youngsters realise the importance of job security. This was the `push' factor. The Sixth Pay Commission also made the Services more attractive and the demand for services increased. This was the `pull' factor. From 2001, many qualified youngsters started writing the examination. Ms Smita Das (presently Collector of Karimnagar), started the winning streak by standing All India 4th , which was followed by Muthyala Raju and Adapa Kartik who stood All India First in successive years. Since then, A.P had at least one rank in the top ten ranks. It is only this year that we could not bag a rank in the top ten. No specific reasons need be attributed to this. It is just a matter of chance. One reason could be that the number of aspirants saw a decline as the Group-I screening Test was held within two weeks of the Civil Services Preliminary. Logically in a competitive exam `quality' is a by-product of `quantity' and this was reflected sequentially in all the stages of the examination. The Future: There will be many more ranks from A.P. in the top ten. May be not in 2014 but from 2015.
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