FPSC to cut CSS waiting period | NUST inks MoUs

FPSC trying to cut waiting period for CSS boys
Islamabad, May 12, 2008: The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) Chairman, Lt-Gen (retd) Shahid Hamid, says his organisation is trying to cut down the long wait successful CSS candidates have to undergo between their written examination and the actual start of their career.

"The Civil Service Academy Lahore (CSA) is one year behind schedule because of which successful candidates have to wait for, at least, one year to join it for training," the FPSC chief said, expressing his inability to do anything to eliminate the agony of this needless wait the candidates have to suffer for no fault of their own.

Shahid Hamid said the CSA was not in his domain, but promised that he would write to them to dispense with the one year pointless delay that the successful Central Superior Service (CSS) candidates had to face to join the academy.

However, successful Central Superior Service (CSS) candidates say they have to wait over four years to appear in the examination. "With at least 6 months of preparation, around 15 days to a month for written examination and another 6 months for the result, the last year's result came out in September and the interviews ended by February 2008, which adds up another 6 months. The medical examination was finalised in April this year, augmenting another 3 months," said one candidate and added that after which the final allocations were announced.

Taking a total time of one year and 10 months, now after 6 months of official waiting as stated by FPSC, the training will start by October 2008. But looking at the reality, the last batch of 2006 was supposed to start training in October 2007, which began in January 2008. This means that if the same pattern is followed for the next batch of successful CSS candidates and the training starts in January, 2009 with 10 months to one year of CTP (Common Training Programme), the aggregate is 4 years and 7 months to actually enter the practical life.

"Is this much time justified for a society like ours where employment and earning is a major problem with majority coming from poor backgrounds and in need of money, stuck with nowhere to go as sitting idle for this extended time is not possible?" another candidate asked.

He said that when the Punjab University could announce results in only three months of bachelor examination with over 10 times more students, why the FPSC cannot reduce the written examination results time.

However, Shahid Hamid said the FPSC had always been extremely careful in marking the papers and compiling results. He said at times unexpected things happened, including the inability of a paper checker to finish his job within the given timeframe. He said such checkers were duly punished.

Yet another successful CSS candidate said that pregnant women (successful CSS candidates) are faced with a nightmare. They are deferred in the medical test because of weight increase. They are told to lose weight immediately after delivery and come for medical test again. Isn'tit discrimination? The option left with girls is not to marry if they are to join the Civil Service. If by chance she gets married, she should not even think of becoming pregnant. This system actually leaves them between the devil and the deep blue sea with nowhere to go. In other words for girls it is better not to even think of joining the civil service.

He said that the female candidates were actually being discouraged by the system because in the society, certain norms had to be followed. Parents or even the in-laws are not willing to wait for such a long time. Where girls get married after giving CSS examination and cannot join the service because of the time it takes, majority of husbands are not willing to give such a long time to them.

Another candidate said that such course requires hectic preparation and is time consuming. This leads the candidates to the third problem. Time required to prepare for the Civil Superior Services examination generally takes 6 months to one year depending upon the abilities of a student. It requires tough study and thorough knowledge.

Additionally, conducting examination by FPSC in various cities and making centers in local schools makes another issue. Referring to the example of a school where the last year's examination was conducted, the preparation for the Sports Day in the institution was going on with drum beats and lots of noise. Such an environment for a CSS examination is highly undesirable and augments the sufferings of the students with inadequate furniture provided to the students, where while writing on the desk, many a desks fell down and had to be assembled again, resulting in wastage of time, which students are already short of which adds to the anxiety and pressure that candidate already undertakes. The crossed leg desks also force the students to sit with open legs further stretching their muscles."

The candidate said a person giving examination in FPSC's building in Islamabad in a peaceful environment cannot be compared with the one sitting in a government school, having a ramshackle building.

The operating procedures of the examination also vary from center to center where the FPSC's invigilators follow strict rules and do not allow the students to have the answer sheet before the first 30 minutes allocated for MCQ's only, many local school invigilators give the answer sheets whenever the students ask for it.

"These differences need to be removed and it is important for FPSC to invest in some central buildings in major cities for examination because the examination of the caliber of CSS has to maintain prestige and this will in turn be an investment in state machinery and future of Pakistan.

Proper furniture and peaceful environment should be given to students. This will add many a potential candidates who have to leave because of unbearable physical conditions," the candidate said adding that the system of two papers a day also needs to be revised and one paper a day should be taken to give proper time to students so that examination should be taken for the capability of the student and not of his physiques.

Shahid Hamid said when the CSS examination was under way, the FPSC offices are closed to oversee the exercise. If the examination is spread over more days than the present timeframe, the closure of the FPSC office would increase. However, he conceded that it was too taxing for candidates to appear in two papers of three hours each in a day.

The candidate said the system of two papers in a day with two hours gap is very hectic and alternate papers leaves the student exhausted and fatigued. When the second paper ends at 5.00 p.m., it leaves no time for the next day's two papers as there are physical and human limitations as well and at least 6 hours sleep would be taken to revive energy. "This actually adds to the previously tremendous pressure of the paper revision and preparation. The end of examination is, in fact, a beginning of an interminable wait."

The candidate said that the time factor needs to be reduced to maintain the attraction of the civil services and also to encourage more and more people to join this service. "The salary structure is in dire need of reforms and requires revision and attention of the high ups. With tremendous increase in prices, the salary that a 17 grade officer and even others get is not by any means sufficient to run a family. People with either strong background or other sources of income can survive not the ones' who are in need money to take up the responsibility of their family and this is why the system itself forces the fresh officers to indulge corruption to make both ends meet."

Shahid Hamid admitted that the CSS has lost appeal because of hefty salary structure being offered by the corporate sector. This is very worrying for the FPSC as well as the government and a debate is constantly going how to revive the interest of the young boys and girls in the civil service, he said.

The candidate said that for boys too, the system is cruel. Being the bread earners of their family they are left in a dilemma of either choosing part time jobs or applying here and there while waiting for their induction in the service.

He suggested that the interviews should be held immediately after the written examination results and allocations can be announced within 2 weeks or so. "A maximum of 5-6 months should be taken in this procedure and the training should start. Also the training should be made comprehensive but both STP and CTP should take a total of 10 months to one year and not more than that. As we all would agree that on job training is also an effective way of teaching for the fresh officers for operating procedures. Also the examination taken in local schools need attention as this is a very important issue." The News

Your Comments
"The above mentioned analysis is quite correct. To make civil service ucrative, salary package should be increased while efforts should be made to curtail wastage of time. (A css qualified candidate)."
Name: hina pervaiz
Email: hina_pervaiz@yahoo.com
City, Country: lahore, Pakistan

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