Questions are constantly raised about our civil bureaucracy's efficiency. It is only natural for quality to suffer when only 44 percent of Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) entrants are selected based on merit alone. The rest 56 percent come from the various quotas. The net effect of keeping more than half the seats, in what is supposed to be a competitive examination that recruits people to run the wheels of the government, apart from quality, is that the number of vacancies keep growing also.
Under this condition, when the number of aspirants is ten times the vacancy, we are left with the impossible scenario of 194 candidates vying for each seat on merit as opposed to 23 candidates for each seat under the quota system. Ironically, the reserved-seat quota remains unfulfilled since there is no system that allows for these to be opened up for merit-based competition.
Other countries have quota system too, which allows people from backward segments of society to get extra points at the beginning, but then they have to compete with the rest to qualify for a position based on merit. The “merit” part is sadly missing from our system, and that needs to be rationalised.
The Public Service Commission has over the years made recommendations to reform the current system of intake that leaves the bureaucracy stuck with people below par qualification while the vast majority of qualified candidates are left with impossible odds to ever enter the service. Sadly, the political will to change this outdated method of recruitment has been lacking, but ultimately, it is the nation that loses out because it is not recruiting the best our society has to offer.