close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 
May 9, 2021

CSS results

 
May 9, 2021

With less than two percent candidates passing the Central Superior Services (CSS) Exam 2021, it has once again become clear that there is something seriously wrong with both our education system and with the way the CSS exams are developed and conducted. The statement announcing the results highlights the fact that just 1.96 percent candidates were able to pass the competitive exam. Over 18,500 candidates appeared for the exam and only 376 of them cleared the written exam – 226 men and 138 women. This year’s results are even worse than the previous year when the passing ratio stood at three percent. This decline has been going on for years, if not decades, and has only accelerated in recent years.

The question is: why is this rapid descent of our educational standards not slowing down, and what is the state doing about it? First, the education system. We have seen very slow progress in our educational indicators. The literacy rate in the country has been dismally low for many decades now. After nearly 74 years of independence, just 60 percent of the people in Pakistan can claim to be literate. Independent observers say that this figure may be even less. Even those who are literate can hardly compose a single legible paragraph in any language. The proficiency levels in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are even lower. Social sciences education is suffering from an overdose of nationalism sandwiched in Pakistan Studies textbooks. Then there is increasing sectarianism that has tarnished the thinking abilities of our youth. The condition of most government schools is pathetic with little room for innovative thinking and experimentation. All this points to an unstoppable decline that has further amplified during the past three years.

Coming to the CSS exam itself, we still see written exams that are mired in controversy. There are set patterns of questions and rote learning is glorified .If you write anything that goes against the dominant narrative in the country, you are doomed. A student who is intelligent and loves to raise questions is an anathema to our CSS system – and then we wonder why the quality of government officials is much below international standards. The entire CSS system needs an overhaul – with innovative approaches to assessments of learning rather than the age-old pattern of past papers. There are also numerous so-called ‘academies’ that claim to prepare candidates for CSS exams. Most of these academies are money-minting setups that hire mediocre teachers with substandard material to impart ‘knowledge and skills’ to pass CSS exams. There is a need to have a thorough review of the educational systems itself that is suffering from another jolt in the shape of a new SNC. The time is also ripe for reassessing and redesigning the CSS system.