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Special CSS examination

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Central Superior Services (CSS) examination remains favourite destination for majority of young graduates throughout the country. Every year thousands of candidates appear in the exam and only two to three hundred make it and join the prestigious superior services of Pakistan. However, every year, ratio of candidates is increasing but the passing ratio is declining. For instance, in CSS 2018, 11,887 candidates appeared in the exam, out of which 569 passed written part and at the end only 281 were allocated groups and services. Similarly, in CSS 2019, 14,521 candidates appeared and 372 cleared written part. The trend towards CSS is increasing every year like in CSS 2020, roughly, 40,000 candidates applied. But, the results are no more satisfactory.
The debate on CSS examination has always been on surface on various aspects of the exam. It is alleged that the very reason behind declining performance of candidates in CSS is ‘flawed education system’, however, fingers are also pointed towards FPSC for strict assessment policy. Whatever, the causes may be, whether it is standard education or FPSC’s strict checking criteria. But in this scenario, FPSC cannot be blamed, however, our substandard and unequal education system can be.
Undoubtedly, education is never equal of all. Punjab with good literacy rate also does well in the exam and great majority of those who qualify the exam belong to Punjab. Contrarily, candidates form less-developed areas i.e. Sindh Rural, Balochistan, ex-FATA, find it difficult to qualify due to various reasons. Resultantly, owing to least passing ratio in backward or less developed areas of the country, a great number of allocated quota-wise seats remain unfulfilled each year. Thus, every year, the number of carried over seats increase.
In order to fill this vacuum, Special Assistant of Prime Minister (SAPM) on Establishment, Shehzad Arbab, on May 04, 2020, on a live telephone call in a talk show of a private TV channel announced that Prime Minister had approved ‘Special CSS Exam’ for less developed areas of the country, in order to fill the outstanding vacancies in federal services. Arbab further said that probably the exam would be conducted in November or December this year (2020) if the situation normalised. On the same day, SAPM Arbab also tweeted the details of vacancies for which special exam would be conducted. The announcement regarding special exam was welcomed and such decision was appreciated by the aspiring candidates of the concerned areas.
The decision of conducting ‘Special CSS Exam’ is both wise and need of the hour. Indeed this exam would provide the aspiring candidates an opportunity in the midst of Covid-19 which has disturbed young graduates owing to absence of job opportunities.
Since the announcement (unofficial) by the SAPM has been made, there is panic and anxiety among the aspiring candidates as no official announcement has been made so far. The candidates are asking a number of questions regarding the rules and criteria for the announced ‘Special CSS Exam’. This author has also seen a number of questions being surfaced on social media platforms after the announcement.
The nature of questions being asked is same, for example: will the exam really be conducted? Is it true about the special CSS exam? What will be the age limit? Will the age relaxation be granted? Will the ‘special CSS exam’ attempt be counted in the annual CSS exam? Will the nature and rules of the examination be same as of mainstream CSS? Above all, the question being asked is, will the qualified officers be labelled “CSPs”? In the light of these questions, one can imagine how much anxiety is prevailing in the aspiring candidates. Hundreds of thousands of young graduates, since the announcement, are now waiting for official announcement or notification regarding the conduct of the special exam.
No doubt, the decision is admirable as it would soothe the sufferings of the youth of backward areas. But there is dire need for the authorities concerned to make an official announcement regarding conduct of special CSS exam, as soon as possible in order to provide relief to the aspiring candidates from the backward areas of the country.