5 Nov 2018

The logic behind Manifest 11

The logic behind Manifest 11

Preparation for civil services examinations is laid with misguided paths. The offer made today for the students by various guidance programs is one coated with hyperbole, exaggerated dreams and magic pills. In this mad rush for overnight success, aspirants actually end up giving minimum of 3 years to achieve success.

In this entire brouhaha of selling dreams the “UPSC Bazaar” is focusing on dumping of materials (specifically current affairs), giving their own way of preparation to meet the market needs and taking away the aspirants from the “UPSC way.”  This is not to deny the importance of material available, but somewhere the aspirants are not being made capable to choose the right material available on different sites and provided by different institutes.

We, the MANIFEST team thought that there is no point in creating one more current affairs site and make you go bonkers! We want to make you WISE! WISE to choose the right thing from the plethora of material available. The initiative MANIFEST 11 is not just a KNOWLEDGE BUILDER but also gives you tools to build the knowledge on your own.

WHAT IS MANIFEST 11 INITIATIVE?

MANIFEST 11 is UPSC syllabus redefined into 11 sections. These 11 sections will have further sub -sections and each sub-section will have topics in them. Following are the 11 sections:

Paper I

  • History and culture
  • Indian Society
  • Geography

Paper II

  • Polity and governance
  • International relations

Paper III

  • Economics
  • Agriculture
  • Science and Technology
  • Disaster Management & Environment
  • Internal security

Paper IV

  • Ethics

Each section is a single-roof destination for that particular subject. In that section one can find everything from strategy to study, to answer writing techniques specific to the particular subject. It is not a knowledge dumping initiative. It focuses on how sources should be read. The sources may range from static standard books like Laxmikanth to an article in The Hindu.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE PRESENT SOURCES?

  1. Most standard books do not completely meet the demands of the UPSC syllabus.
  2. Current Affairs materials are highly problematic in terms of their organization. Material is compiled on daily basis on the basis of dates and not on the basis of themes and subjects.This is fundamentally in dis-junction with the UPSC’s way of asking question. UPSC won’t ask what happened on October 25th but questions will be on themes and issues.
  3. The separation of current affairs from static is highly artificial and misleading. Current affairs is not an independent discipline and has not been explicitly mentioned anywhere in mains syllabus (in prelims syllabus it is!!). What does this mean? That integration of static with current and vice-versa is a must, else the entire preparation is futile.
  4. Current affairs initiatives have become platforms to dump material scaring aspirants.What is not taught is the method to use them.

WHAT DOES MANIFEST 11 SEEK TO DO?

  1. It will be one stop destination for the eleven subjects of UPSC, giving you techniques ranging from preparation to answer writing
  2. It is not an information dumping platform. It does give you information, but at the same time teaches how to use the information, how to use the same techniques in reading other sources, finally how to use the knowledge to write an answer.
  3. It does away with the artificial division of current and static by taking a current topic, linking it with static issues and holistically analyzing it.
  4. It links one topic to different subjects enabling a comprehensive preparation of a particular topic.
  5. Questions on those topics will be provided which could be static or current or a mix of both, taking them to the apex of challenges by making them inter-disciplinary!

HOW WILL THIS BE DONE?

Topics for analysis will be chosen mostly from The HINDU and other sources will be chosen for subjects like Economy, History, Geography, which are not covered well in the newspaper.

Specific days in a week have been fixed for posting of the analysis. The topics will be chosen from the newspapers of the last week. It is NOT a daily news analysis as we believe that a strict deadline of everyday newspaper analysis does not work for UPSC preparation. Why? We will reason it out in the article!

So, 3 days have been chosen in a week for posting of the articles.


TUESDAY:

HISTORY, CULTURE & HERITAGE

GEOGRAPHY

INDIAN SOCIETY


THURSDAY:

POLITY & GOVERNANCE

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, ISSUES & INSTITUTIONS


FRIDAY:

ECONOMY

AGRICULTURE

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ENVIRONMENT & DISASTER MANAGEMENT

INTERNAL SECURITY


Topics chosen on these subjects will be from last week’s newspaper

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH ‘DAILY’ NEWS ANALYSIS INITIATIVES? 

WHY SHOULD NOT THEY BE DONE DAILY?

One word answer is, it is ILLOGICAL
  1. UPSC aspirants already have hoards of books to study for the static portions. Everyday deadline will burden them. And even if they miss one day, it will demotivate them and harm the preparation of next days.
  2. It is highly improbable to follow daily current targets during the days when exams are nearing, especially after January.
  3. Daily analysis is not an efficient method as an issue may repeat in a week and you have to reread the already read parts of the issue. Hence, weekly analysis saves your time. We know how precious it is!
  4. Our weekly analysis is based on themes and topics and not on ‘dates’. So if ‘Aadhar’ for example has appeared as news item multiple times in a week, it would be clubbed on the basis of ‘Aadhar’ as a theme. And any new point on the same issue of ‘Aadhar’ which may crop up in the then following weeks and months would be added to the same write up and not created as a new issue or topic. In this way, the issues would be comprehensively covered over a year and consolidated in a particular link. It will be useful for quick revision of yours, especially during exams.
  5. One quick revision of the issue at the end of the year would make you capable enough to answer multiple questions.

One point to be noted here is that the issues will be mostly from news items and not editorials and open page articles. We believe that editorials and open page articles require a different format to prepare which will be again under MANIFEST 11 initiative only but in a different fashion.

Now, coming to the second question!

HOW WILL IT ALTER YOUR STRATEGIES AND PREPARATION IN A RIGHT FASHION?

  1. Manifest 11 consolidates issues over a year for you at one place.
  2. Quick revision would be possible within a short time.
  3. Better retention of issues as they are well integrated on the basis of themes and issues.
  4. High quality questions on those issues to mould your information according to the demand of the question, because how much you know does not matter, how efficiently you reproduce the relevant matter within the specified time which actually matters!

How to use Manifest – 11?

Please follow the following guidelines to reap the best out of the initiative for your preparation.

  • Categorize all your sources into these 11 sections.
  • Do not separate your static and current topics. Let everything be in these 11 sections.
  • In each article or issue following are the sections.

a) Headline of the issue – For example: News item on Aug 22, 2018: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/strengthening-the-federal-link/article24747203.ece (This issue was also covered in Economic Survey this year)

b) In news – What are the important points about the issue related to UPSC? (These are generally extracted from the Newspaper)

c) Placing it in syllabus – In this section, the topic or the issue will be linked with the syllabus. By linking with various sections of the syllabus, one can understand in what all sections the same issue can be asked as a question.

Demonstrating through above example:

This can be placed in syllabus as below:

  1. Issues and challenges pertaining to Federal Structure.
  2. Devolution of Power and Finances to local levels and its challenges.

d) Static dimensions – These are dimensions created out of the current topic that is the topic in news, which you conventionally study as part of your static readings.

Extracting the static dimensions out of the above example:

  1. Local Governance and its philosophy
  2. Panchayats and their importance
  3. Success, issues and challenges in Panchayats
  4. Reforms needed in Panchayats

How will these help?

  1. These dimensions will help you in reading the standard textbooks according to the dimensions and align your preparation according to the demands of UPSC.
  2. You may sometimes get newer dimensions which are not usually covered in standard books.
  3. It will prioritize your topics for revision in static readings. Since revision of all topics is not possible, you can revise those static issues more which are in news to target the questions better.

e) Current Dimensions – These are created on the topic or issue in news. In the entire write-up the content part mostly deals with all these current dimensions. It will be one single roof destination for all the points related to the current dimensions of the topic.

Extracting current dimensions from the above example

  1. Constitutional aspects related to finances of local government
  2. Financial health of local governments – Problems and solutions

f) Content

It will include all current dimensions of the above example from various sources (The Hindu article and Economic survey)

g) Manifest Pedagogy – Looking beyond the Issue

What is Manifest Pedagogy?

After an issue is dealt under Manifest 11, there is a section of Manifest Pedagogy. It may not be compulsorily given after every issue!

It’s an expert’s perspective on the overall issue discussed. It gives you:

  1. Technique behind the compilation of the material.
  2. Alternative perspectives on the same issue which are generally not available anywhere.
  3. Sometimes even a write up is included in these alternative perspectives. These are UPSC exam related articles on the topic which will include analysis of the whole issue and also points which when included in the answer give you an edge over others.
  4. Finally Manifest Pedagogy is based on the overall vision and mission of the institute. Gives you a peek into the methods and techniques of thinking and learning. These methods and techniques would be implemented on a larger scale in all the subjects in our classroom program which will be announced shortly.

h) Questions

Inter-disciplining (linking across subjects) and inter-linking (static and current) will be done to create challenging questions in line with UPSC. Is it really in line with UPSC? Here is the proof:

CSE Mains – 2018 Question

Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects? (15 Marks)

In the above question interlinking is done. First part of the question is static and second part is current. That is it’s a mix of Dimensions 1 and 2 (Static) and Dimensions 2 and 3 (current) under the topic used for demonstration above. Manifest-11 initiative has manifested after research at length to prepare for UPSC. Recent years papers have time and again proved that static and current should not be studied separately and disciplines should not be studied in isolation.

NOTE:Please do not skip Reading Newspaper.