Differentiate between aptitude and intelligence. Examine their role in the life of a civil servant.

Difference between Intelligence and Aptitude

  • While intelligence is the ability of an individual to gain knowledge and understand cumbersome situations, aptitude can be defined as the capacity to apply the same knowledge. For example, a person may be intelligent enough to gain knowledge about military, navy, and air force or defense related matters; but may not possess an aptitude to practice the same effectively in his/her real life.
  • While intelligence measures the general mental ability of an individual, aptitude measures the abilities and capacities related to specific fields. For example, an intelligent person may have knowledge related to diverse fields like engineering, medicine, administration, politics, etc; but he/she may have the capacity to practice only one of the fields effectively in the real life.
IntelligenceAptitude
Intelligence is General mental abilityAptitude is Specific ability of a person
The knowledge of intelligence of an individual we can predict his success in a number of situations involving mental function or activityThe knowledge of Aptitude, on other hand, acquaints us with the specific abilities and capacities of an individual to succeed in a particular field of activity.
Wide scopeNarrow scope
It refers to present abilityIt refers to future potentiality
It usually measured by how much a person knows and can do certain areasIt usually measured by how well a person can perform certain task

Importance of Aptitude and Intelligence in life of civil servants

For a civil servant the Intelligence and aptitude forms the supporting pillars in his task of serving the people effectively. Recently a civil servant narrated an incident on how he dealt with a politician who was pressuring him to favour his supporters in a procurement process.

He narrated the provisions of prevention of corruption act and the potential of the right to information act to the politician and convinced him that flaunting of rules will be detrimental to both civil servant and the politician.

Incidents like this are a common phenomenon of the Indian society. Knowing the intricacies of the prevention of corruption act and right to information was the indication of the intelligence of the civil servant. The ability to use these provisions to persuade the politician is the hallmark of his aptitude. Aptitude helped him to use the acquired knowledge to set the things in order according to rule of law without getting into confrontation.

Aptitude and intelligence are not binary opposites. Aptitude comes with interest and passion for a subject, while intelligence is the mental capacity to understand and gain the knowledge.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Differentiate between aptitude and intelligence. Examine their role in the life of a civil servant. {150 words, 10 Marks}

Published: April 20, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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