Unattended Civil Services Dying Fast
By Ansar Abbasi
Once considered a pride for the educated youth, the Central Superior Services (CSS) have lost their attraction beyond anyone’s imagination and the situation has become so bad that there is no competition left for the civil services of the country.
The latest result of the CSS 2016 exam, announced on Wednesday by the Federal Public Service Commission, revealed that for 199 available vacancies in different occupational groups and cadres, the candidates who simply passed the exam were just 202. It means there is no competition as almost all those who passed the exam will be getting the jobs.
“The CSS is no longer a competition of the brightest of the brightest, but a competition of mediocrity,” a senior bureaucrat lamented, disclosing that as per the FPSC result all those who passed the written CSS exam got through the interview too.
Practically, the CSS result showed that 202 candidates are competing for 199 jobs. According to the results, 9,643 candidates had appeared in the written examination of the year 2016, out of them only 202 managed to pass the examination. All of them qualified in the interview as well.
It means 202 candidates are aspiring for 199 civil service jobs. These facts are shocking for most of the serving bureaucrats, who say that in the past there used to be a great competition between the successful candidates.
“In my batch of 1990, almost 10,000 appeared for the CSS exam out of which almost 1,000 passed the exam (written and interview),” a senior bureaucrat said, adding that such was the competition between successful candidates that out of 1,000 successful candidates, only 126 got selected in 12 occupational groups against the available vacancies.
It means that almost nine to ten successful candidates were competing for one post. Today for one post, there is hardly one successful candidate available and thus there is no competition. A clerical staff in the federal secretariat insists that today there is more competition for even the post of peon and clerk than the CSS posts.
According to a senior bureaucrat, the successful candidates who got the allocations in his batch in different services groups included 72 doctors and engineers and 29 foreign graduates. The bureaucrats are really concerned over this situation. They see the civil services fast dying but no attention is being paid by anyone to this important pillar of the government.
“For us — the government, parliament, political parties, media and even judiciary — the issues like Dawn Leaks, Panama case, Bani Gala encroachments, etc, are more important than attending to the fast failing administrative structure of the state,” a government servant mourned.
Just two per cent of the total candidates who had appeared for the CSS exam 2016 could pass. Media reports quote the FPSC officials showing their concern for such a decline in the CSS competition. It is said that during the past few years, the CSS had been showing poor results. 3.3 per cent students cleared the exam in 2014, 3.1 per cent in 2015 and 2.09 per cent in 2016.
The FPSC officials attribute poor education standard in the country for the CSS decline. However, the Higher Education Commission Chairperson Dr Mukhtar Ahmed is reported to have denied this. “I do agree there are issues in the quality of education and we are conducting audit of universities; secondly, I think there is a gap between assessment of students and the subjects they are being taught in universities,” he is quoted to have said.
As against the views of FPSC officials and the HEC chairperson, senior bureaucrats believe that the 2002-03 devolution plan of General (retd) Musharraf had made the civil services less attractive for the educated youth of the country.
They said that politicisation of bureaucracy, non-security of tenure and posting and transfers of civil servants on whims and wishes of influential individuals have contributed to the disrespect and disrepute of the civil service. In such conditions, educated youth prefer to join the private sector rather than trying their luck in the Central Superior Services.
The story was originally published in The News