Why English?

Posted: August 4, 2010 in india, rants, telugu
Tags: , ,

This year one of my colleagues took CAT. His score was just short of getting him calls from IIMs. He told me that if it wasn’t for his low score in English, he would have made it; apparently he got very good scores in analytical, and quantitative aptitude. He blamed his Telugu medium schooling for his low score in English. Something similar happened to a cousin of mine in JIPMER this year. He told me that if it wasn’t for his very low score in English, he would have made it through. Both these people speak decent English. I felt that it’s unfair to penalize these people because of their socioeconomic background. Why should English get same weightage as biology, and chemistry in a medical entrance exam?

In an ideal world, we don’t have to force a foreign language on our people, and our children should be able to become doctors, and engineers without ever having to learn a single word of English. Of course, we are not living in an ideal world, and learning English has become necessary to get a decent education in India. However I still don’t see the point of including English in a competitive exam like JIPMER. I agree that certain level of competence in English is required to pursue a career in medicine. The right way to test for that competence is to use test scores in English just to determine eligibility. Disqualifying people who don’t score certain prescribed minimum in English might be OK. But including English scores in ranking tips the scales in favor of  people in the higher end of the socioeconomic spectrum, even though higher scores in English may not necessarily translate to better suitability for the course under consideration.

  1. […] The current drama regarding inclusion of English in UPSC’s CSAT reminded me of what I wrote few years back: […]

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