Lagging CSS

(Dr.Zeeshan Khan, )

After passing the Central Superior Services Examinations, recruitment process in civil bureaucracy is completed but, how many graduates in Pakistan are able to pass this exam. This year’s CSS result fetch an insult for our education system again. Nearly 23,403 candidates applied for CSS but 14,521 candidates appeared in CSS Exams 2019. The passing percentage is just 2.57% which comprises of 372 passing candidates. On the other hand, last four years collective passing ratio is 3.17%. Every year one subject is ground and what’s logic behind it is still unknown.

The major problem is the sub-standard education system being provided by educational institutes of Pakistan. State owned educational institutes are on down fall trajectory constantly. There are more than four education systems in Pakistan. There is no uniform education system. Students fail in CSS because of some basic reasons including misconceptions about Academic Exam vs. CSS Exam, CSS is an evolutionary process instead of revolutionary, lack of coherence and relevancy, deficiency of smart work, unavailability of authentic material, gap in coaching and guidance and most importantly the fear of English. It’s also about the ability and capacity of a candidate. To pass CSS Exams,q follow the 3 P’s for success including planning, preparation,practice and focus more on writing than just reading. It is a game of nerves, and time is of the essence; time for preparation and relaxation to ease off the stress and pressure associated with this crucial exam. The civil service exam is one of the toughest exams. Individuals who want to clear these exams have to work hard throughout the year in order to one day be able to do something for the nation.

The examinations require brainstorming, and sharp and fast writing skills to secure good marks. I think it is shameful that the CSS paper gets leaked hours before the examination is supposed to take place and sold to hopeful candidates. For me, this exposes working of the Federal Public Service Commission for what they really are — not honest.

They say that the FPSC is known for their meritocracy and transparency. But the leaks are unfair to candidates. It shatters their confidence. But its investigation brought out nothing.

Knowledge is key, but It’s not a strictly theoretical exam. It’s all very analytical, general and insightful.From recruitment to training of CSP officers, but now everything is obsolete. It is the officers who make or break a system; they motivate the subordinates to give their best, to be on their best behavior and, if officers are found lacking, there is not much of a disciplined force left — which is exactly what has happened with the bureaucracy in Pakistan.Sadly, suggestions for reforming the bureaucracy are always focused on assuming the power that the task force entails rather than truly reforming it.

Currently, This system is ill-suited to officer recruitment given the fact that bureaucracy is a job that requires a certain aptitude and specific training.Majority joins it for social prestige, security, safety and impunity — yes, the impunity to do whatever they feel like. A confession of sorts in this regard.

Not only is the recruitment criterion is faultybut useless. These insufficiently trained officers are handicapped; they are mere tools in the hands of the junior ranks.

First and foremost, the PTI government was expected to break the status quo, do away with red tape and come up with ­solutions that are pertinent to the modern world, but what they actually have come up with is nothing new. A task force that is slow, and perhaps looking to implement a whole new system with Ishrat Hussain who did nothing since Musharraf’s era and just wasted money and time and future seems dark too— when the modern concept of reform is to introduce incremental changes, one at a time so that they can be adopted quickly as well as easily and can be assessed for their effectiveness. The real problem lies in the very composition of the task force.

There is a general resentment towards the Pakistan Administrative Service among the various service groups of the civil service as it usurps the rights of other service groups. The so-called task force has 19 members — and out of those 13 are either serving or retired PAS officers or their nominees. This should be enough to kill any notions of reform.
Engineers and doctors badly need a service structure and a say in policymaking for health and infrastructure, but there is no engineer and only one doctor in the said task force. Academics and lawyers are also members of the task force.

The young officers in the field are the eyes and ears of the government, and are the ones who form the first line of response for good governance. But they face ­challenges everyday due to a non-responsive civil service structure marred by hierarchy. They are the ones who know, perhaps better than most, what kind of reforms are required to improve governance.But no young officer is on the reforms task force.

There are five mandatory training programmes for civil servants during various stages of their career.However, Civil servants are trained to be servile to the so called VIPs, be it the service boss, a political head, or an individual who by hook or by crook has achieved a social status worthy of the tag. Add a bit of sycophancy to this scheme of things and one gets to be the perfect civil servant — your most obedient servant.

Lastly, Bureaucrats must lessen their distance from common man and quota system must be finished as it is against the rules and moreover, there is no quota in India. Uniform and standard education is solution for all shortcomings. By doing so, the performance of aspirants may become exponentially better.

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