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What’s wrong with the BCS exam?

  • Published at 11:59 pm April 18th, 2019
We need a better system
We need a better system / BIGSTOCK

Candidates who memorize the most aren’t necessarily good at analytical thought

“Sir, almost 100 copies were sold in the last two hours. Yes, here is the exclusive ‘10 tips for memorizing the BCS’ book from where you can easily memorize all the questions and answers you will get in common; if you don’t get them, the money will be given back!” 

This was what my book-seller told me a few days back at Nilkhet. 

This is a situation that is relatable to all, and the BCS examination is knocking at the door. Along with book-sellers, nowadays even social media has begun to apply these sorts of methods to make profits. 

In some situations, the questions might look the same as the so-called “best book.” And the people lap it up as holding the secret to their success. But the standards of those books are questionable indeed. However, my primary concern is not about the selling policy of the sellers.

The procedure of the BCS examination is such that most people are bound to memorize selected topics from the books. Some see this as a sign of how “dedicated” they are to the cause of working in the government, but I will leave determining the exact nobility of this endeavour up to you.

The BCS dream

Obviously, the BCS consists of the most powerful professions in the country, with which one can serve society with dignity. Also, in our society, everyone respects a member of the civil service. 

In the socio-economic context of Bangladesh, a job in the public sector is still considered to be one of the most prestigious jobs. With the job, the amount of facilities available is clearly greater than what it is for other service holders. 

Loopholes in the recruitment process

It is said that recruitment is free and fair. But how much of this is true? 

According to the Articles 137 to 141 of the constitution of Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC), an independent commission having a quasi-judicial body, should conduct the recruitment process fairly. 

Although, according to the constitutional obligations, the commission is only responsible to the parliament of Bangladesh for its actions, the recommendations and the decisions of the commission can only be reviewed or replaced by the president of Bangladesh.

However, this doesn’t come into effect whenever political sympathy and the power of other influential groups are considered to be the conditions for appointment, where qualification is out of consideration, and thus, the quality of public service is seriously affected in Bangladesh.

Voluntary unemployment

Interestingly, graduates normally wait several years in preparation for the BCS exam, and do not do anything in the meantime. This is because the system ties them down, and they cannot even think about any supplementary sources of income except memorizing from BCS guide books. Thus, this voluntary unemployment affects our economy.

The question pattern

We raise the quota issue quite a bit, but how many of us think about the BCS recruitment exam? My main concern remains regarding the question pattern. 

Every country has its own recruitment system for the civil services, and they are conducive to the requirements of that country. In our country, the current examination procedure is a form of academic examination, where merit is not treated as a prime consideration. 

Start thinking about reform

Hence, it is the high time we start thinking about reforming the BCS recruitment exam. The exam should be designed in such a way that candidates do not have to memorize from another so-called “best guide book.”

It should include questions that are analytical, which can be a better way to select the candidates on the basis of their merits. 

It should be noted that civil service reforms evolved in different ways in different countries, and some have taken numerous decades to be fully realized. 

Bangladesh is no exception. But the starting of the reformation process should be given utmost priority. Otherwise, only those who memorize successfully will keep getting rewarded. 

Shahriar Bin Wares is a student of law, North South University.