The end of quota
The final results of the 38th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations under the Public Service Commission (PSC) were published yesterday.
Some 2,204 candidates have been recommended provisionally for appointment to different cadres, said PSC officials. Of them, 613 were recommended for general cadres.
With this exam, the quota system in BCS came to an end -- a demand for which students staged a massive protest in 2018.
PSC officials told The Daily Star that there was a full commission meeting around 3:00pm yesterday, led by PSC Chairman Mohammad Sadiq. The final results of the 38th BCS were approved at that meeting.
After that, the PSC in a circular said it had recommended 306 candidates of the 38th BCS for appointment to the administration cadre and 100 to the police.
In total, 613 candidates were recommended for general cadres, 239 for agriculture extension officers, 220 for assistant surgeons, 71 as dental surgeons, 532 in some technical cadres, and 768 for education cadres. On the other hand, 6,173 candidates did not get any cadre and will have to wait for non-cadre jobs.
PSC Chairman Mohammad Sadiq said, "We were preparing to publish the results by the end of March or the first week of April. But the coronavirus has changed everything. We started working after the lockdown. Finally, we are successful. I have to thank PSC members and officials who have worked a lot for this "
The selection process for the 38th BCS began following a Ministry of Public Administration requisition to the PSC on March 5, 2017, for the recruitment of 2,024 cadre officers.
The preliminary exam of the 38th BCS, involving over 3.5 lakh candidates, was held on December 29, 2017. The preliminary exam results were published on February 18, 2018, with 16,000 passing it.
The written test ended on August 13, 2018, and the results were published on July 1, 2019 -- a new record for delayed publishing of the written results. The PSC then took a viva test of over 9,000 successful candidates till February this year. But due to Covid-19, the final results were delayed.
PSC officials said it was often seen in the past that many competent candidates got low marks in the written test as there was evaluation negligence. To avoid this in the 38th BCS, the PSC decided for the first time that two examiners will evaluate the written papers and an average will be taken.
But in many cases the markings of the two examiners so widely varied that they had to send it to a third examiner. As a result, it took a year to publish the written results. That was the main reason for the delay.
END OF QUOTA SYSTEM
The PSC confirmed that the 38th is the last BCS for the quota system. As there were no qualified candidates in the quota, more than 6,000 posts remained vacant in different cadres from the 28th to 37th BCS.
Even though meritorious applicants passed, they did not get jobs; on the other hand, hundreds of posts remained vacant. In particular, candidates in technical cadres like doctors, engineers and agricultural officers were most deprived.
There were strong protests from February to July 2018, demanding reforms in the quota system. It rapidly attained popularity among college and university students, forcing the government to announce changes in its policy.
In the wake of the movement, the government in October 2018 issued a circular dismissing the quota system for recruitment in the ninth to thirteenth grades (formerly known as first and second class jobs).
On July 30, 2019, the government announced that there is no quota in recruitment in 1st and 2nd class posts (9th to 13th grade) at present; the quota for the post of 3rd and 4th class posts (14th to 20th grade) is still in force, but if no candidate of the relevant quota is found, it has to be filled from the merit list of the general candidates.
In addition to clarifying the previous circular on quotas issued on January 20 this year, the cabinet also approved a proposal provided by the Ministry of Public Administration to cancel quotas on direct appointments to eighth or higher-grade posts in government jobs.
But there was confusion about the 40th BCS as the circular of this BCS was published on September 11, 2018, just one month before the abolition of the quota system. But the PSC said the quota system will not be applied for that BCS.
PSC Chairman Mohammad Sadiq said last night, "The 38th is the last BCS exam where the quota system has been applied. Though the circular of 40th BCS was published before the abolition of the quota system but we said that we will follow the government's last order regarding quota.
"As the government has issued a circular abolishing the quota system there is no scope for quota in the 40th BCS. So you can say the era of the quota system has ended with the 38th BCS."