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Only Few Goan Success Stories In All-India Tests

With a Goan student Pratheek Rebello achieving 77th rank in the IIT entrance test this year, Goan school students have yet another model to look up to and beat. This is the first time in over a decade that a Goan has figured in the top 100 in IIT entrance exam. The last time that a Goan did well was in 2006, when Ralph Silva got the 25th rank. Two other Goans had done still better, with Kapil Surlakar and Manguesh Wagle making it to the top 10 way back in 1992 and the 1970s respectively. The percentage of Goans cracking all-India competitive examinations is still negligible in relation to the state’s high literacy. Among competitive examinations, Goan students have been comparatively more successful in IIT entrance examinations (though their number remains very small) than in other competitive examinations. A negligible number of Goan students succeed in all-Indian medical entrance test. The number of Goans succeeding in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams for all-India civil services since Liberation is dismal. Only two Goans have made it: Asuthosh Teli (IAS, 2002) and Richard D’Souza (Indian Forest Service, 1980).
It would be silly to conclude that Goan students lack talents. There is nothing in the genes or brains of other Indians that is not there in those of Goans. However, one reason why Goa does not hear of many success stories is the unwillingness of most Goans to move out of the state for employment. The mindset is changing; an increasing number is moving to other states or countries. Yet, the general attitude is to get the optimal in the land of one’s birth. Hence, there is absence of competitive spirit. The other reason for rare Goan success stories in all-India tests is the lack of special tutorial support. The general unwillingness to move out of Goa notwithstanding, there are students who are keen to have a go at the all-India competitions and there are parents who are ready to back them with enthusiasm and money. A few IIT coaching institutes have come up in the state to meet this very demand.
However, the meeting of demand and supply for good coaching has taken place only in the case of IIT tests. There is no coaching institute, for instance, for UPSC or medical examinations. Other states have set up a State Institute for Administrative Careers (SIAC) to encourage university graduates (especially those from the rural areas and more backward sections of society) to seek a career in the higher public services, appropriate to their abilities and potential through UPSC competitive examinations, but Goa has none. In the absence of such a facility Goan students have to prepare for the exams on their own or go to expensive coaching classes outside the state. The Goa government needs to finance infrastructure to help Goan students crack all-India exams. The all-India tests for entrance or recruitment are getting tougher and tougher every year. The government should also encourage growth of private coaching institutes with high ethical and professional credentials and affordable fees, so that the largest number of Goan students aspiring to have a go at the all-India competitive examinations get the benefit. The Super 30 coaching institute in Patna, which coaches 30 students from the poorest strata of society free of charge, has a success rate of more than 90 per cent. That shows that even the children of poor parents can excel at all-India tests.
The third reason why Goan students do not go for competitive tests is the prevalence of a feudal recruitment culture in the state. Jobs are available with political influence. Politicians boast of having given employment to such and such number of people from their constituencies. Though it was proposed in the previous Assembly that selection to subordinate posts should be done through a centralized selection process by an independent subordinate services selection board the idea failed to take off. If the state government wants to develop competitive spirit among Goan youth it should introduce competitive exams for recruitments in departments. Also, it should set up an SIAC to provide assistance, guidance, training and coaching for all-India competitive tests. The politicians have talked enough about the youth being Goa’s future; they should act now to make them really Goa’s future. The government should also ask the education department to redesign the syllabuses and courses in schools in accordance with the objectives of developing the talents and knowledge of students for meeting the challenges of all-India competition.

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