HC Deb 26 October 1909 vol 12 cc988-9W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he can explain why at the recent examination for the India Civil Service a change was made in the weight assigned to mathematics, materially altering the order of merit, of the candidates and resulting in a smaller number than usual of the mathematical scholars being successful; why this change was not made by definite announcement, instead of by the removal of a footnote which previously existed, making mathematics an exception to the rule which provided for the deduction of a minimum from the marks obtained in other subjects of less difficulty; why the notice given of the change was so short as to prevent candidates from selecting their subjects with a view to obtain the highest possible total of marks; and whether in future at least one year's notice of such changes will be given?


The change referred to was recommended by the Civil Service Commissioners, who stated that, having carefully considered the position of mathematics in the scheme and the performance of the candidates taking this subject in the past, they had come to the conclusion that there was no sufficient reason for exempting the mathematical papers from the general rule of deduction, and that in fact such exemption gave an undue advantage to weak mathematical candidates. The exemption was originally notified by a footnote, and it was not considered that a different form of announcement was called for on the occasion of its cancellation. The regulations in which the change was notified were published nearly 11 months before the commencement of the examination at which it came into force; the length of notice to be given in the case of any change made in future should depend, in the opinion of the Civil Service Commissioners and of the Secretary of State on the nature of the change.