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English essential

Chandigarh has hundreds of young people flocking to IELTS and TOEFL training centres, living in PG accommodation, shelling out large amounts of money to gain proficiency in English. Village children travel to public schools in cities for education in the English medium. Everybody knows how important English is for one to fit into the global scenario. The Modi government will face severe repercussions for giving in to pressure to restructure the UPSC exams. It will be flooded with demands to abolish English in all professions. India will slide downhill in the race of nations aspiring to become economic powers.

No one can ignore the importance of English as a global language and we cannot isolate ourselves from the world by giving in to politics driven by vote banks. The same politicians who are crying themselves hoarse to get rid of English in UPSC exams send their children to English medium schools and elite boarding schools from the British era. Let us not chop the very branch we are sitting on! The fall could be fatal.

N Gill, Chandigarh

English necessary

Last month the country was witness to a new form of agitation, an agitation by candidates aspiring to join the all-India services, supported by some political parties. The focus of the agitation was to reduce the weightage of English language from CSAT (prelims paper II) examination. This part of paper contains 8 questions of 2.5 marks each aggregating to 20 marks out of 200 marks. Questions relating to the comprehension of the English language are to be of the matriculation standard. There is no state education board or recognised examining body in the country which does not test the knowledge of English at matriculation level.

If a candidate aspiring for the all-India services does not possess an elementary knowledge of English, he has no right to compete. Working knowledge of English as a means of communication between two state governments, a state government and union government, ministers and beauracrats and officials and the public is absolutely necessary.

VS Chaudhri, via email

Conspiracy by elite

It has reference to the editorial “Needless protest” (August 4). I think the issue has not been properly understood. It is not a question of English vs Hindi, but rural vs urban. C-SAT is not bad if the questions related to the English language are scrapped. The English paragraph is deliberately added in the preliminarily examination with the purpose to drop rural students at the initial stage. This is a conspiracy hatched by the elite group of bureaucrats.

What is needed is not English but the qualities of understanding the problems of the people. I have seen IAS probationers who are blank about the lifestyle and needs of the rural people.

Therefore, the English part of C-SAT may be dropped because there is an English paper in the main examination which is compulsory to qualify. The IAS aspirants should also keep in mind that deserving would-be administrators are not expected to take law in their own hands and damage public  property.

BR Kaundal, Mandi

Qualifying for MBBS

Lowering the qualifying marks to fill vacant MBBS seats is criminal. How can a person who failed to get pass marks can treat patients? Ultimately, these breed corruption in health systems. Even lowering marks to fill NRI seats leads to insult at the international level as they are unfit to practice. Seats should be left vacant.

Rupinder Bhargava, via email

MBBS cutoffs

The cutoff for SCs in the AIPMT is just 40% and the Punjab Government has urged the Centre to reduce it to 30%. The rule says that any seat of any category remaining vacant after the second counselling will be converted to the general quota. We do not understand what the government wants from us. It is the rule-maker and yet it tries to break rules. 40% cutoff means 288 marks out of 720. It is shameful that in the general category, a student scoring 450 marks has not got a seat but in the SC class, all eligible canditates have got seats and they still want to lower the cutoff.

One incorrect view that newspapers have given is that Punjab is not able to find canditates for MBBS. It’s not so. There are approximately 500 canditates waiting for admission.

Ankush, via email

Donate organs

August 13 is World Organ Donation Day. Organ donation is living beyond death that leaves footprints on the sand of time. A campaign to popularise the practice is needed.

Swami Vivekananda said: “They alone live who live for others, the rest all are more dead than alive.” Donating blood voluntarily is giving part of yourself and is service suffused with compassion.

I read years ago that the Sri Lanka cricket team members carry the gift of corneas when they go to play outside their country, a gesture of goodwill for humanity. Sikh scriptures say: “Bin seva dhrig hath paer, baaki nehfal karni” (Hands and feet are of no use if they do not serve).

All religions preach 'seva', service to mankind. Mother Teresa, said it the best: “Hands that serve are holier then the lips that pray.”

BM SINGH, Amritsar

High school fees

The Punjab School Education Board has been increasing fees almost every session, thus putting a burden on poor students, especially those of plus two. Some fee hikes are unjustified. This year, the continuation fee has been hiked to Rs 200. The irony is that the schools are instructed to enter the data of every student on the website and the printouts of the data have to be sent by schools along with the fee draft to the PSEB. The PSEB’s work is limited to encashing the draft. Another example is the new edict for issuance of ‘samanta’ (equality) certificate for the students from other boards. Ironically again, even students from the CBSE have to get it.

Arvinder Singh, Zira

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com

Non-judicial paper sale

Non-judicial papers of low denominations such as Rs 3 are generally not available with vendors, compelling one to buy paper worth Rs 10. Also, vendors routinely charge Rs 5 for the Rs 3 paper on one pretex or the other. The authorities should conduct surprise checks to stop this malpractice.

Vijay Moudgil, Shamshi (Kullu)



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