There more than three thousand graduates that appear for the highly competitive Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) conducted by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) each year.
According to RCSC, the civil service is still the largest employer in Bhutan. However, RCSC can take in only a limited number of graduates based on the annual requirement in the agencies in the civil service.
RCSC has a mission to have a small, compact and efficient civil service that is merit based.
“Some graduates opt for other opportunities outside the civil service. Therefore, it is the individual career choice. The RCSC would always want to attract the best and the brightest,” said a RCSC official.
There were 3,256 graduates who sat for the first stage of BCSE called the Preliminary Examination (PE) in 2019. Of which only 1,748 graduates (818 females and 930 males) made it to the second stage, the Main Examination (ME).
Only those that score 50 percent and above in ME are then selected for the limited number of civil service job opening. 2019 saw 1,259 BCSE qualified graduates for just around 889 job vacancies in professional and management category. There is also a mandatory drug test for all graduates before their appointment into the civil service.
Choeing Dema, 19, studying in her 2nd year in Sherubtse College, said that she has no interest in taking the BCSE after graduating from the college.
“BCSE is not a priority for me because I have my career plans directed toward opening my own business. Also, even if we get through BCSE, there is very less chance to get a job since there is less (job) slots open.”
She is also not worried about the issue of youth unemployment. She said it is not a major problem because there are jobs everywhere. It is just that people are selective.
A 3rd year Computer Science Engineering student in Chitkara University, India, Lalit Pokrel, 20, wants to sit for the BCSE as a back up plan.
He said, “I may appear for the BCSE but that will be my second choice. First, I want to work in the private sector. That way, I will also get to work and gain experience to build different projects.”
“Youth unemployment is a problem, but I believe unemployment has its positive impact as well. When people are fed up with trying to look for jobs, they may instead create jobs for others, and become entrepreneurs. You get enough time to think about business ideas, and there are plenty of investors, pitch them your business ideas and they might as well invest in your idea,” he added.
Sangay Tenzin Tshering, a graduate from College of Science and Technology (CST) had taken the BCSE in 2019 and got through as well.
He said, “I can’t tell if it was actually worth working but it does test one’s knowledge regarding their own stuff. It also tests one’s patience on certain grounds since there isn’t much of preparation time.”
Regarding youth unemployment, he said, “There are jobs everywhere if properly searched, but since we , Bhutanese, have this stereotypical view of thinking that government jobs are the best and any other are just not good. I guess such mindset leads to failure.”
Ugyen Phuntsho Rabgay, another graduate of 2019, pursued BA Journalism and Mass Communication from Jagran Lake City University School of Media and Communication in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. He is now a filmmaker in the country.
Rabgay said, “I don’t want to sit for BCSE because I believe in creating jobs rather than finding a job that is already there.”
Another 2019 graduate of Royal Thimphu College, Rinzin Dorji, who pursued BA Developmental Economics, says that RCSC is not only the gate for the future and there are many other gates of opportunity that everyone must try to open.
A student of Royal Thimphu College, Jamyang Gyeltshen, who is currently pursuing BA Developmental Economics, aims to become a social worker than sitting for BCSE.