Sehrish Sultan who got distinction in National Testing Service exams was arrested along with her uncle for lodging protest against nepotism near PM Secretariat in the capital city of Azad Kashmir. She topped in NTS exams for the position of a teacher but they selected a candidate who was on number 8 in the merit list, later on; it came into notice that a well known political personality allegedly involved in the selection due to his self affiliation and this is all being done to suite political agenda. It is not the first time in history that a girl reportedly arrested on raising her voice against the same issue however; this incident has raised many questions on the role of Public Service Commission and other civil testing service agencies due to their fragile recruitment process. Is their recruitment system precise and according to the rules? Can the son of a poor be able to get a better job, despite getting the first position in the examination under these institutions? No, but only the luckiest one; and the main reason of their boldness is that we do not raise our voice despite being on the right and the Government has also kept them loose.
The principles for recruitment of candidates must sets out on three major points Merit, Fairness and open/public job advertisement. Our testing authorities are offering jobs through public advertisement but their selection process is based on bias, bribe and nepotism due to which our competent and shining youngsters are forced to work at tea stalls and selling “Haleem rice” on handcarts. Other than that, the quality of evaluating a candidate and the qualification of their own examiners is a question mark. They don’t have any proper channel to recruit a competent person for a suitable position and they prefer those with political background. Their examination process is very complicated and you will find many irrelevant questions in the exams. Even though, Former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani formulated two senate Committees (One on FPSC “Federal Public Service Commission” report of 2015 and other one to revise Civil Servants act 1973), we were hopeful to see some changes in “outmoded bureaucratic system” but felt disappointed over the negative outcome.
Last year, i sat for an exam under a federal testing institution. I had been asked to answer 30 pure religious questions & 17 were based on irrelevant political stories. If you are going to apply for the job relevant to computer technology you will get prepared for the computer exams and not for Islamic studies or politics. Now i have a question from their officials as we will never find the word “only for Muslims” in the job advertisements and there could be the non Muslims attending such exams. Will a non-Muslim be able to compete in such test? “Father of nation” Muhammad Ali Jinnah urged the bureaucrats to serve without any political bias but what these institutions wanted to prove by asking such unresponsive political questions in such an important exams? These are the small things that must be considered in these examinations.
Furthermore, a recruiting/testing institute cannot be a standard testing service provider due to its low passing criteria but it would get rank due to its strict and genuine scale of measuring the eligibility of a candidate. In competition for a single job, the best candidate must be offered to sit and if he/she turns it down it should then be offered to the other candidates on merit orders. When such testing service providers are running campaign through advertisement to recruit a large number of staff, it may be impractical to wait until the end of the competition and offer jobs in a strict merit order. In this case, they may offer jobs out of strict merit order; but in doing so they must ensure that the individuals appointed are clearly towards the top of the likely merit list. Candidates who are likely to be further down the list must have to wait until the end of the process before an appointment can be confirmed. This must be ensure that the most meritorious candidates should be appointed by the end of the competition which looks difficult in current scenario. The Pti Government always emphasized to restore merit. Now while they are in power, they should start merit reforms from these testing/ recruiting institutions.
The writer is a journalist and he tweets @stopsellingedu