Imphal: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) released the Civil Service 2022 exam results on Tuesday.
The results saw successful aspirants from seven Northeast states: six from Assam, four from Nagaland, four from Manipur, three from Arunachal Pradesh, one from Meghalaya, one from Sikkim and one from Tripura, but none from Mizoram.
The Mizoram state government is aware of the situation. It has taken various initiatives: the Super IAS 40 in 2022 is one, where the state government sponsored 40 UPSC aspirants to attend coaching classes.
Around 500 individuals attempted the examination, of which 40 were chosen for sponsorship.
Mizoram Youth Commission Chairman Dr Vanlaltanpuia shared his views on the UPSC result with EastMojo, saying, “It takes a long process once you go and attend the coaching classes there is no guarantee you are getting through the examination at a very short time it all boils down to an individuals perseverance. We are simply igniting the spark once again by initiating this kind of program, otherwise, none is aspiring to get near the examination, and once the result is out, the discussion looms around for one or two days. The rest of the days, we are not concerned or paying attention. The Mizos have this notion that its people are not for this kind of examination. It requires a lot of hardship and hard work. The MYC initiative, Super IAS 40 program was introduced for the first time. The current batch that we have are going to appear for the first time next Sunday. I am sure they will get through the examination. For a long time, Mizos were no longer into these examinations, and they are no longer paying attention to it, but in a year or two or three or four years the spark that we ignited will lead them to enter into the flow of the examination.”
The last person to crack the UPSC exams from Mizoram, Grace Pachuau, joined the IAS in 2014.
Speaking to EastMojo, she said, “Contrary to popular opinion, our education system is not to blame for our failure to clear the UPSC exam. Many successful candidates come from small towns and rural pockets with less than stellar education, some even from vernacular schools. At the same time, many candidates from the best schools and colleges fail to clear. In my opinion, this is the beauty of the exam, which makes it a level playing field.”
“Most importantly, the exam is a test of the candidate’s conceptual clarity of topics and subjects along with analytical and reasoning abilities. It is also important for Mizos to not socialise much during their preparation period and refrain from using social media. Serious candidates should form study circles with like-minded people and if possible, connect with mentors like serving and retired officers, good teachers from their coaching classes,” she said.
Many Mizo public expressed concern over the absence of successful UPSC aspirants from the state for nine consecutive years.
Jaqueline Zote, an activist and author, shared her thoughts, saying, “Most Mizos love to limit themselves to our comfort zones, which also means we’d sooner choose the security of working a government job but within the confines of our state where we don’t have to be exposed to other cultures and languages. This means that many highly-qualified young minds would much rather focus themselves on state civil service exams and other competitive exams that would ensure work within the state. Also, our education system has largely relied on rote memorisation, with little concern for critical thinking and actual understanding. We hardly have deeper subject matter knowledge on various topics beyond what we have memorised, meaning that we likely can’t effectively tackle an exam as trying as the UPSC, which tests you on your analytical and problem-solving skills—skills that can’t just be taught through rote memorisation.”
She also highlighted how the close-knit society can prove to be a disadvantage for aspirants, “Our society is still very much involved in church and community activities, with church services happening almost every night of the week and other activities that the youth is expected to actively participate in. There is a lot of pressure from family and society to be a part of these activities, and most youths succumb to that pressure as it’s the best way to “belong” and gain approval from society at large. In other words, they hardly have the time to focus on UPSC exam prep, which requires intense studying. Most societies (even other Northeastern and Christian societies) don’t have as many church or community activities as we do, which means their youth has the advantage of time in comparison to the Mizo youth.”
An aspirant who had appeared for the Super IAS 40 examination, Lalhmingliana Kawlni, also shared his thoughts, saying, “The Mizoram population is still less. We do not have a strong urge or motivation to become an IAS because we are content with living in Mizoram. We are easily distracted by positions that are at a lower level as compared to the UPSC level.”
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Many coaching centres have been started in Mizoram to help the youth prepare for state-level and central-level examinations. One such educator of a centre spoke to East Mojo on the condition of anonymity where she shared her thoughts on the drawbacks of the state, “We do not have sufficient awareness about UPSC examinations at the school level. We are only focused on academic marks and try for competitive exams when we have completed our college degrees. By the time we start preparing it is too late, we have to start early at the middle school and high school levels.”
“There is the concept of education for sale where people strive for private schools over government schools when we look at the school gross enrollment. However, we cannot just blame the teachers, a lot also depends on politicians and policy matters,” she said.
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