RCSC faces criticism as graduates demand transparency in exam evaluation

Concerns raised over grading and neglect of Arts graduates in the job market

In a recent movement of discontentment among graduate students who appeared for the Bhutan Civil Service Examination, concerns have been raised over the evaluation process. Graduates are expressing dissatisfaction with their results, pointing to what they perceive as inconsistencies in grading and a disregard for Arts graduates in the demand of the job market.

In response to the student’s concerns, the  Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC)  emphasised that the examination process follows established protocols outlined in the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2018. RCSC states that the exam is conducted based on the principles of meritocracy and transparency. Independent examiners and assessors from reputable institutions are employed to ensure the integrity of the marking process.

RCSC further highlights the importance of following instructions during the examination. Graduates are given 15 minutes to read the question paper and understand the guidelines, including the requirement to correctly number and label answers. RCSC asserts that marking is done following these guidelines and any deviation may result in non-evaluation.

One of the RCSC officials said, “Some graduates this year did not follow instructions, and marking was done following guidelines.”

Graduates demand paper viewing and re-evaluation

Despite the RCSC’s assurances, graduates are calling for further transparency and accountability in the evaluation process. Many argue that a simple recount is not sufficient, and they are seeking for an opportunity to view their exam papers to understand how marks were allocated. Some graduates’ expressed disbelief in the evaluation process, questioning the competency and seriousness of the evaluators.

In a statement, a 27-year-old graduate from Samtse College of Education emphasized on the need for fairness and justice, stating, “We don’t want recount systems; we want our papers to be re-corrected, or else we want to see how marks were given. All because to have satisfaction and trust in our abilities.”

He further added, “I got just 19 marks from General Knowledge, but I wrote the answers so well that I could easily get 9 marks from the essay alone. Where did I lose the other marks? I want to see my paper and understand how they awarded the marks.”

Another 24-year-old graduate, who scored 14 in the written exams out of 70, questioned the credibility of the evaluation process, stating, “Is it possible for a person to score just 6.7 marks from 100? It’s irrational and unbelievable. I could have easily scored more, especially in Dzongkha essay and General Knowledge.”

He insisted, “If RCSC is following the concept of transparency, they must allow us to see our paper, and understand where and how we lost the marks. Recounting doesn’t satisfy our hard work.”

Arts graduates feel neglected in the job market

The discontentment extends beyond the examination results, with Arts graduates highlighting perceived neglect in the job market. Questions are being raised about the alignment of education with the demands of the job market, especially for students with the Arts background. Some graduates argue that the current system favors Science and Commerce students, leaving Arts graduates struggling to secure employment.

A 25-year-old graduate from CLCS said, “Before introducing courses, policymakers should have researched on how it is going to benefit in the present and long run. Why are Arts subjects seen as failures now? Thousands of students are struggling in the job market. If Arts subjects were introduced with good motives, why are arts students being considered failures without finding a solution?”

In response to questions about the negligence of Arts graduates, RCSC asserts that the examination policy aims to attract and select the most qualified and competent graduates, with no discrimination based on qualifications. The commission suggests that the category of examination determines the qualification requirement.

As the controversy continues, graduates are urging RCSC to collaborate with policymakers to address the apparent mismatch between education and the evolving needs of the job market.

In light of the concerns raised by graduates, there is a growing demand for RCSC to take concrete steps to improve the transparency and fairness of the examination evaluation process. Graduates are seeking more than just a recount system, calling for support mechanisms and avenues to address their concerns beyond the current procedures.

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