CSS fiasco

THE result of CSS (Central Superior Services) examination, for the last several years, has been conveying dismaying signals but the state of affairs for 2016 examination was all the more frustrating. Out of 20717 candidates, who applied for, only 9643 appeared and just 202 or 2.09% passed the first stage i.e. written part of the recruiting process.
Some media reports suggest that the FPSC is going to consult Higher Education Commission and academies in a bid to diagnose the problem and how to proceed further. The causes are, however, well known but there seems to be lack of realization on the part of all the stakeholders – FPSC, Federal and Provincial Governments, HEC, universities, parents and students. The standard of education in the country is to a great extent reflected in the outcome of CSS examination and the poor result should not come as a surprise when none of Pakistani universities is included in top 500 universities of the world. Our universities are poorly funded, lack modern facilities including research, syllabus is outdated, teachers are not properly trained and methodology of both teaching and testing is redundant as it encourages memorization than sharpening creativity of students. There are also reasons to believe that genuinely talented and motivated youth is not attracted to the civil service because of its falling standards, politicization, culture of sifarish and dishonesty that has crept into promotion process and poor pay structure. But it would be unfair to put all the blame on educational system and standards and unattractive nature of the service as the FPSC too has failed to respond to the situation in an innovative manner. After decades, the Commission changed syllabus and introduced new combination of subjects but instead of improvement it led to degeneration. This is because the much-needed change should have reflected modern day realities but the Commission has unnecessarily added to be burden of the candidates by unrealistic reforms and limiting choices for them. There are also legitimate complaints about transparency of the entire exercise as candidates with ordinary background hardly make to the choiced groups because of jaundiced marking in interviews, inordinate delays in recruitment process despite out-sourcing of marking and non-cooperative attitude of the FPSC staff.

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