Title: Problems ailing the Indian Administration Services Education and Issues faced by Aspirants
Lack of Good education for UPSC aspirants:
UPSC exams are conducted to choose bureaucrats who form the third pillar of our democracy. The exams confer one of the most coveted positions on the aspirant along with huge responsibilities i.e. from drafting policies to implementing them. UPSC exams filter the best ones to suit the need. The process and pattern of examination is very intelligently crafted out to select the best of the lot.
The pattern and trends of exams are very dynamic which makes it a little difficult task for aspirants as well as coaching institutions to draft the perfect strategy. For an aspirant, a great deal of preparation is needed alongside some good analysis taught by experts in a way that the conceptual, analytical and current event relevant aspects are covered in teaching.
Most of the coaching done has its inherent issues:
They teach you what to think, instead of how to think. One size fits all, does not work here and everyone needs tailor-made solutions depending on their aptitude and grasping abilities. Institutes spend a lot of money in attracting aspirants and in the attempt of doing so, they at times lose the core of quality of the courses. 90% of the coaching institutes do not teach directly from NCERTS or make the students read the syllabus first thing in the morning,
One of the big problems I personally came across was that students aren’t made to analyze question papers themselves and in case of mistakes make due corrections. Furthermore their preparation is not frequently by surprise tests. To make students feel happy, they are is a lot of spoon feeding with readymade notes of everything and in a way kill the most important requisite of students seeking their own answers, feeding their creativity and developing own perspectives !
The profiteering motive of many coaching institutes have more than 50 students per class with some even crossing 100. Point to ponder over here is, no personalized attention and activity based teaching is possible in such huge classes. Everything is templatized and in a way it is like same food is fed to all aspirants with the same spoon in same amounts without knowing their tastes!
Moreover, good coaching institutes which are rare to find are in cities majorly and hence to access them, get admitted and stay in city for preparation isn’t in everyone’s budget. The premium institutes in their tryst to earn higher profits haven’t yet percolated in rural areas where they get lower fees, so a lot of talented & bright students are left without a good guidance. In a class full of 100 plus students you are mostly on your own due to the high number of students and batches. Although institute gives you the contact details of the teachers, availability is something different.
There are two types of notes: Static and dynamic. Static involves NCERT books, reference books etc. Dynamic syllabus involves current affairs and analysis of each event and implications. NO institute can give you all the complete relevant notes and help with tailor-made strategies.
Issues faced by Students while preparing for UPSC:
- Finding the right path, the right guidance.
With big dreams & aspirations comes big responsibilities. Aspirants need the right path and the right guidance to be able to work hard dedicatedly in the direction of achieving their goals. Every UPSC aspirant faces the same problem as he goes to every website online, every institute he has heard of, buys every new book in the market to ensure he clears. Very few find the right path and the right guide.
Considering the vast syllabus and ever changing trends of question paper one needs to have right guidance to be able to find filtered knowledge which is in accordance to UPSC trends/requirement.
- Financial support
A lot of UPSC candidates might have to prepare for the exam along with their jobs if they are single earning member of the family or if they have too many dependents in the family. In such case, they have to chase their UPSC passion without quitting the job. This gives rise to scarcity of time to study and completion of syllabus becomes a herculean task. Also, they have to handle the stress & challenges on work front and be able to focus on studies!
- Time management & study scheduling:
College going students/working professionals/first time learners/first attempters will all have problems related to time management. A vast syllabus to study in limited time makes it very important for the students to have a well-designed study & time management schedule. A plan for sufficient revision while preparation is utmost necessary and students fall short of this very important revision time.
- Staying focused:
One of the biggest psychological challenges for aspirants is staying focused on preparation and insulating yourself from your environment, stress of responsibilities/ study, family functions, friends’ marriages, love /break up, etc. Also, the biggest distraction of social media has to be very diligently kept at bay while using the internet for right purposes.
- Attitude towards handling failures as well as small successes:
Very few students get through in first attempt. UPSC exams demand a lot of patience. Failures if not handled properly, affect the confidence of the candidate shadowing their capability. They need to build on confidence and bounce back. The ones who can bounce after failures sustain the race and end up with these coveted positions. Also the other way round, the aspirants shouldn’t get overwhelmed & over confident by the smaller successes on the way like scoring good in Prelims or mock tests etc. The right tempo and a good attitude matters till the last of exam!
- Problem of plenty:
The availability of resources has multiplied rapidly in the last few years. Internet is the evergreen marketplace for notes, video lectures. A fresh aspirant is likely to find it difficult to choose the right set of resources. They need to recognize the right sources which provide with filtered information and knowledge in accordance to UPSC syllabus.
- Getting lost in the ocean of current affairs:
Aspirants find it difficult to limit their time of preparing for current affairs from various sources and newspapers. Students need to limit the time they give on a daily basis for newspaper and current affairs. Not to forget that not all current events are important and one has to filter what would matter on the timeline of exams & also hold relevance in UPSC syllabus. Indeed a task!
- Falling prey to marketing:
Both online and offline marketing has shot up tremendously in past few years. There are numerous institutes and websites who promise to take aspirants to the merit list of UPSC like a cakewalk. Tremendous amount of money is pumped into the marketing campaigns to attract the aspirants. Choosing the right one becomes a herculean task in such situations
- Mastering the art of answer writing :
Answer writing for UPSC exams is one challenge as it has to incorporate conceptual knowledge as well as the analytical angle of the topic. Candidates face the problem of too much information to be put in limited words while covering all aspects of the topic under consideration. During preparation phase, aspirants buy costly test series of coaching institutes, but have no idea of how to use them properly.
- Peer pressure
One of the most serious issue for people who are struggling to achieve their goals. People tend to waste time and energy in doing things that would please their peer groups and relatives. Needless to say, this takes the focus away from core preparation.
- Fighting mood-swings.:
It is always a difficult idea to prepare for an exam for a year, and then appear for the exam in the next one year. Staying focused on preparation for such a long period of time is indeed a challenge. One is more likely to feel depressed and doubtful every once in a while. There will be times when you cannot study anything and it is very difficult to get into the zone back. An aspirant needs to keep his tempo maintained till the last leg while handling temporary mood issues and stress.
- Issues with Grasping and Memorizing:
With such a vast syllabus it becomes difficult to memorize the studies. Also, as students move forward they tend to forget what is already studied. Grasping the subjects which are completely different from your graduation subjects is a task too. Hence, the aspirants need to have a strategized & organized study plan with sufficient revisions and all notes converted to charts.
- Study Material problem
Very rarely study material can cover all syllabus of UPSC. So aspirants are always in confusion about the best material for preparation which gives you filtered information and also covers everything in entirety.
- Choosing Optional Subject
Optional subject paper constitutes a good 500 marks in the mains exam. Choosing the right subject is always a challenge. One faces the dilemma of going for their favorite subject or choosing the subject which fetches good marks! Finding an optimal solution is often difficult and needs the right guidance.
- Staying in best physical and mental health:
The challenges of studying, handling professional life balance if you are working, managing time, late night studies and other issues often disturb the physical and mental health of aspirants. One needs to have a healthy but practically possible lifestyle solutions to cope up with such problems.