Youths demand change in govt recruitment rulesMohiuddin Alamgir
Young people looking for government jobs are frustrated at the government being firm on not revising the age limit and not cancelling the quota in public service recruitment.
Job seekers were rallying for an increase the age limit for jobs with government offices, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies and corporations to 35 years from the existing 30 years and the cancellation of the quota system which gobbles 56 per cent of the jobs amid at least 2.4 lakh posts that are vacant.
A section of job seekers said that the government should increase the age limit for public service as students needed to spend years more than the courses need them to and also in keeping with the government decision to increase the retirement age from 57 years to 59 years.
Some of the youths said that 56 per cent of the total recruitment in the civil service was accomplished following the quota system, resulting in many qualified people not being in the public service and many positions under quota in the civil service examinations not being filled in.
The government was, meanwhile, saying that it had no plans to reform the quota system or to extend age limit although the Public Service Commission in its annual reports earlier recommended such reforms in the civil service examinations and the parliamentary standing committee on the public administration ministry suggested that the maximum age should be 32 years public service instead of the existing 30 years.
The commission in its annual reports of 2009 and
2011 recommended the reforms saying that the quota policy was complicated and difficult to implement.
The prime minister’s public administration adviser HT Imam told New Age that ‘the government has no plans to reform the existing quota system in the civil service exams.’
‘We have discussed the matter in the cabinet and made the decision,’ Imam said.
The public administration secretary, Abdus Sobhan Sikder, told New Age that the ministry had no plans to increase the age limit to 35 from from 30 years to be eligible to apply for public service.
The country is facing an unemployment problem and it needs to create 2.3 million jobs each year against the total unemployed people of 25 million and more than 1.8 million young people are landing the job market during the period, the finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, said in Dhaka on August 5, 2012.
According to the University Grants Commission, in 2011, about 3.78 lakh students passed bachelor and master’s courses and became eligible for applying for government jobs.
There had been 2.4 lakh positions vacant in the civil service out of about 12 lakh sanctioned in government offices till November 2012.
Of about 12 lakh government officers and employees, 40,000, with 2,000 being officers, retire each year on an average, officials said.
Against this backdrop, former Dhaka College student Kamal Hossain, also an activist of the Bangladesh General Students Council, a platform demanding extension to the age limit, set himself on fire during a protest on Wednesday night in the Shahbagh crossing.
Imtiaj Hossain, president of the platform, said that the age-limit for applying for public services must be increased as the students complete their university education at the age of 26/27 and they get only two or three years for the preparations for government jobs.
The age limit of job seekers is 35 years in many countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and India, council activists said..
The students said that the age limit for entry in public services should be increased as the government had already increased the retirement age for public servants to 59 years from 57 years.
Public universities are facing an academic life delayed by one to four years.
On September 2, 2012 the parliamentary standing committee on the public administration ministry suggested that the maximum age should be 32 years, instead of the existing 30 years, to be eligible to apply for public services.
The then speaker Abdul Hamid in the parliament session on January 31, 2012 urged the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to increase the maximum age for seeking government jobs.
Under the current system of the civil service examinations, 30 per cent of the seats are reserved for children of freedom fighters and 10 per cent for women. A further 10 per cent is reserved for districts, 5 per cent for national minorities and 1 per cent for people with disabilities.
The job seekers on demonstrations said that 56 per cent of the total number of seats go to the quota system and many meritorious and qualified people do not get government jobs for this.
In the 21st, the 22nd and the 25th BCS exams, only 10.8 per cent, 2.2 per cent and 5.2 per cent positions under quotas were filled.
A total of 813 positions under different quotas remained vacant in the 28th BSC exams, 792 in the 29th exams, 784 in the 30th and 773 in the 31st as an adequate number of qualified candidates were not found.
Akbar Ali Khan, also a former cabinet secretary, favoured the quota system reforms. ‘The appointment should be done on the basis of merit.’
‘Quota was introduced in Bangladesh for unprivileged and backward people… but these days, quota hardly benefits them,’ he said.
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