By Merit Alone

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Instilling spirit of competitiveness among Goan youth is necessary

Only under 17 percent of the candidates who appeared for the Computer based Recruitment Test conducted by the Goa Public Service Commission to fill 208 posts existing in various government departments managed to clear the test. The GPSC had received 1,667 applications for the 208 positions that were advertised. However, 1,075 candidates appeared for the examination, of whom 182 qualified for the interview. Though this is by far the best performance by candidates in past several years, no one qualified for the interview for 48 posts for the posts of geologist (mines), assistant agricultural officer, assistant director social welfare, assistant director (education), assistant professors in geography, Marathi, Hindi, botany, mathematics, physics, fine art, etc. The GPSC tests candidates for writing English comprehension, general knowledge, reasoning ability and subject core (domain area concerned). It is a matter of concern that no candidate qualified for several posts. Till last year the passing percentage of the candidates was in single digit. In the tests held in September a meagre 2.5 percent candidates qualified for interviews.

It is disappointing to see that despite thousands of students clearing graduate and postgraduate courses every year from Goa University, some with very high percentages of marks, many posts in the public offices remain unfilled because there are either no takers for the advertised posts for which competitive skills are required or those who apply and answer the tests fail to qualify, which indicates that Goans lack competitive skills or shy away from opting for posts with higher responsibility. For nearly two decades only one Goan has made it to the Indian Administrative Service directly. Though hundreds appear for qualifying exams for recruitment to the various central services, no one has made the grade since Ashutosh Apa Teli Pednekar excelled in the Union Public Service Commission exam and stood 13th in the merit list in the year 2002. Forget qualifying for all-India Services, Goans have failed to even qualify for appointment as junior scale officers of Goa Civil Service in the tests conducted by GPSC on several occasions.

Though thousands of vacancies are filled in various government departments every year, it is not the merit that counts for qualifying for the posts. It has been a practice of politicians in power to ensure selection of those recommended by them. With no importance being given to merit most youth prefer to hang around with politicians and even serve as party workers to earn their goodwill. These practices have killed the spirit of competition among Goan youth, which is very debilitating to the Goan society. Though the government has created a body for subordinate staff selection it has not been given the responsibility of selection yet. The recruitment process, which has been put on hold for long, is likely to be set in motion early next year. It remains to be seen whether the government would hand over the responsibility of selection to the newly formed entity. The government should ensure selection of subordinate staff through merit.

The state government seems to have finally woken up to the reality and decided to introduce two different types of coaching classes to help Goans to develop their skills to make the grade in competitive examinations. The directorate of higher education is going to conduct programmes that will provide coaching to Goan youth desirous of answering competitive examinations for higher posts in the bureaucracy and technical fields. While the first type of the coaching will be for training candidates for answering academics-related examinations, the second one will be for training them for appearing for employment-related exams. In order to conduct the programmes the directorate has invited proposals for empanelment of institutes to impart comprehensive coaching for students, graduates and postgraduates, pertaining to aptitude-based competitive examinations. Though similar announcements were made in the past they failed to fructify. Let us hope that the proposal is taken to its fruition and a spirit of competitiveness is instilled among Goan youth, so that they excel not only in the tests conducted by the GPSC but also by UPSC and others. That is the only way to make sure that merit alone will count for selection of government employees.