MoESD Minister Jai Bir Rai

Questions over the need and subjects of RCSC’s PE

Many candidates, particularly those with non-STEM backgrounds or who studied abroad, are finding it challenging to cope with the heavy emphasis on mathematics in Preliminary Examination (PE) conducted by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

One such individual is a dedicated history teacher from a private school in Thimphu. While initially excited about the increased civil servant slots, and the recent pay revisions for civil servants, however, the teacher expressed his disappointment at the requirement to appear for the PE. With his expertise in history, the mathematical and data analysis components of the exam seemed unfamiliar and discouraging to him.

He stated, “PE comes once a year, and dissatisfaction comes when major content is out of the field of our expertise. It would have been better if RCSC could look more into the experiences rather than PE.”

Similarly, a 23-year-old graduate from the College of Language and Cultural Studies (CLCS) highlighted the challenges faced in the PE due to a lack of mathematical preparation in his curriculum. The PE heavily relies on mathematical content, comprising 50 percent of the exam. This discrepancy leaves individuals who have not studied mathematics for years feeling incompetent and disadvantaged.

He stated, “Our curriculum does not include modules covering mathematics, and the heavy focus on maths in the PE puts us at a significant disadvantage.”

Another concern comes from a teacher at one of the high schools in Thimphu, who believes that the current situation of acute staff shortages in crucial sectors, like education, renders the RCSC exam unnecessary.

The teacher argued that the need for RCSC arises when there is high demand from individuals seeking civil service positions, exceeding the available slots. In the present circumstances, where staff shortages are widespread, focusing on filling these gaps should take priority over strict adherence to the PE.

Additionally, a teacher from Sarpang expressed his dissatisfaction on the mandatory PE. He highlighted the inappropriateness of a Dzongkha teacher or a History teacher, specializing in the national language and History, being required to appear for the mathematics intensive PE. The teacher stressed the importance of addressing the shortages in various fields rather than burdening candidates with exams unrelated to their field of expertise. He suggested that exceptions be made for certain candidates, considering the current acute shortage of teachers in the country.

A graduate from India shared her views regarding the need to appear PE and the hurdle faced to appear, mainly Dzongkha, which she has not been in touch with for years. She shared that Dzongkha is not any issue, however, going into depth, as an entrance examination to RCSC, is challenging.

In a recent Question and Answer session at the National Assembly on 23 June, the Member of the Khamaed-Lunana Constituency, Yeshey Dem, raised a pertinent question to the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Jai Bir Rai, regarding the requirement for graduates from the College of Language and Cultural Studies, Shedra, and Institute of Science of Mind to sit for mathematics exams that seem unrelated to their fields of study.

Education Minister responded by bringing in the historical context, explaining that in the past, there was no requirement for examinations to qualify for government jobs. However, due to the RCSE’s allocation of a specific number of seats for government positions due to the increasing number of graduates, the need arises to select candidates accordingly.

Minister Jai Bir Rai also acknowledged the challenges faced by candidates whose studies primarily focus on Dzongkha, such as graduates of Taktse.

To address this issue, RCSE is considering on conducting the examinations twice a year, instead of the current once-a-year practice. He also suggested that mathematics should be taught to students in institutes and colleges like the College of Language and Cultural Studies, Shedra, and the Institute of Science of Mind.

He explained that the requirement for statistical knowledge in civil service exams is founded on the need to consider the country’s manpower. The rules set by RCSE aim to strike a balance between the number of candidates and the available positions, ensuring efficiency in recruitment processes.

The Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering in his monthly meeting with BCCI shared that they consulted with RCSC to do away with PE for nursing and teachers as there has been growing shortage of teachers and health staffs.

However, RCSC being autonomous have their own regulations to follow and abide with. Even dedicated Dzongkha teachers from Shedras who have done PGDE from Samtse also requested to do away with the PE, as they are ready for the main exam with any level of questions related to their field of expertise.

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