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Army aspirants run into SMS lingo barrier
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, November 14
Proficiency in the Queen’s language is proving to be an Achilles’ heel for aspirants from Punjab seeking to join the world’s third largest Army.

Despite being able to fare well in screening, physical fitness and medical tests, a number of candidates have found it difficult to clear the written English test. And, ironically, that too from a state which is contributing youth by the hundreds to universities and vocational institutions in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for which clearing the IELTS is mandatory.

Interestingly, officers of the Army’s recruitment directorate blame the deficiency on the short messaging service (SMS) and low standards of school education.

“They answer their questions the way they text their friends on the cell phone. It is ridiculous. They are bound to flunk in the written test. After all, how are we going to understand what they want to communicate?” asked an Army officer, who is part of an ongoing Army recruitment rally at the Dholewal Military Complex here.

Candidates from Ferozepore have performed the worst when it comes to answering questions in English. Army officers say not a single candidate from Ferozepore has managed to clear the written test for the post of Nursing Assistant in the last three years.

“They use SMS lingo such as “Luk (Look), gud (good) ur (your) asap (as soon as possible) while answering questions,” said an officer. “Candidates are unable to even write an essay on a ‘Picnic’,” he added.

It’s not just English. Even their level of general awareness is low. Recently, a majority of aspirants who appeared in the written exam left authorities shocked when they wrote that the Taj Mahal was in Dalhi (Delhi)!

“I can bet they cannot write four lines in correct English. The education system is to blame. These students clear the matriculation exam with grace marks, but are exposed when they appear for a competitive examination. Aspirants for posts of clerks, nursing assistant and technical staff are regularly flunking in the written exam. We are forced to give them grace marks to recruit them,” said an officer.





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