Recently, Indian politician Shashi Tharoor commented on the CSS precis paper through a tweet which said, “Never heard of ‘bericloge’ myself! Are you sure it’s not a typo for ‘bricolage’.” This poignant comment from a reputed diplomat warrants serious consideration.
This is in connection with the recently held papers of the CSS essay and precis under the auspices of the FPSC. The first part of the precis paper usually consists of 20 MCQs related to synonyms and antonyms. To little surprise, many of the questions could not be understood by majority of the aspirants as they were taken out of context from diverse disciplines. Ironically, this part of the paper, which tends to judge aspirants’ ability of understanding collocations of English vocabulary rather than scientific and philosophical jargons from broader domains, was replete with both syntactic and semantic errors. Pragmatically speaking, language is a medium of communication rather than a yardstick of scholarship and exceptional abilities. The elitist obsession with English language has morphed into the society causing much discrimination between the elite and the poor.
The FPSC needs to crosscheck all papers systemically and avoid errors, both in terms of style and contents. It is recommended to compensate the beleaguered aspirants, especially in the MCQs part of the precis paper for the ambiguous choices of the given questions. The FPSC is one of the most credible institutions in the country. I, therefore, hope it will address the issue forthwith.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2021.