This appears to be the time for Odia. Even as the State vies for classical language status for Odia, it plans to allow candidates appearing for tests for Government jobs to write answers in their mother tongue. The question papers, though, would continue to be in English.
Following a consultation with the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC), the State Government has decided that candidates can write recruitment examinations in Odia, if they so choose. They can also appear for the tests in English, but no candidate will be permitted to use more than one language in the same answer script.
This is a big departure from the existing pattern wherein the candidates are required to appear for the examination in English, except for subjects pertaining to language papers. A majority of the State Government jobs are conducted either by the OPSC or the Odisha State Staff Selection Commission (OSSC). The OPSC conducts the recruitments for Group B and Group A posts.
The Government move for allowing examination in Odia comes after it mulled conducting the tests both in English and Odia for some time.
Last year, in December, the General Administration Department had issued a circular for amendment to the recruitment rules to facilitate conduct of examination bilingually and sought the opinion of the OPSC.
The commission, however, was of the view that holding examinations both in English and Odia could pose problems in the long run. It will require the OPSC to procure the questions from institutions within the State only since there are only a few question setters available and this would mean secrecy of questions will be compromised.
This view prompted the State Government to decide that question papers in all subjects may be set in English __ except for language papers but answers will be permitted in English as well as Odia in descriptive papers as per the choice of the candidate who will have to specify the language option in the application form.
However, experts believe that this move which is aimed at giving Odia an enhanced status and is seen as a populist measure could trigger problems for the Government.
“Such a move will require two sets of evaluation one for answers in English and the other for Odia. That will mean there will be no uniformity in the evaluation and candidates can drag the OPSC and Government to the court and recruitments may end up in disputes,” said a former head of the OSSC, which recruits candidates for Group C posts of the Government.