The current affairs orientation of the FPSC

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umerkhan
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The current affairs orientation of the FPSC

Post by umerkhan » Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:50 pm

The question paper of the year 2012 divulges at least two patterns: first, redundant topics, and secondly, trite topics The Federal Service Commission (FPSC) is obligated to recruit candidates every year from all over Pakistan on grade 17 posts through a competitive examination called the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. In the compulsory paper of current affairs, the CSS candidates are not only required to express adequate knowledge of the subject but they are also supposed to show their ability in critical analysis of a given situation. Horizontally, the question paper of the year 2012 divulges at least two patterns: first, redundant topics, and secondly, trite topics.Regarding the first pattern of outmoded topics, one can cite question number four asked in the paper of 2012 displayed on the website of the FPSC: “Substantiate Pakistan’s role in Common Wealth.” Is this a question? Is this a way to frame a question? The word ‘Commonwealth’ should take the definite article ‘the’ before it. What is the relevance of the word ‘substantiate’ to the ‘role of Pakistan’ in the Commonwealth? The point is why is it necessary for CSS candidates to know about the Commonwealth and not about the World Trade Organisation (WTO)? It is the WTO that is prodding Pakistan and India into opening mutual trade avenues under its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) proviso.Regarding the second pattern of commonplace topics, one can cite question numbers five and seven asked in the paper of 2012: “How can the energy crisis of Pakistan be resolved?” and “How can the corruption be managed in Pakistan?” The point is how can the examiner judge the critical analytical abilities of CSS candidates from the answers to these questions? What about the causes? What was the problem in framing the question number five in this way: ‘Why has the energy crisis engulfed Pakistan? How can Pakistan survive this onslaught?’ Question number seven disappoints in at least two ways: first, the definite article ‘the’ should not be used here with the word ‘corruption’ and secondly the word ‘manage’ implies a controlled presence. Apparently, the question means that corruption cannot be eradicated and, therefore, it should be managed. The same point also means that Pakistani society has lost its psychological battle against corruption and that corruption has been rationalised. The next question is this: if corruption can be managed in society, what is the touchstone to judge whether it has been managed or not? Above all, both are trite topics (or questions). All CSS candidates must have attempted these two questions. It means more than 8,000 candidates wrote answers to these questions. How can the answers help the head examiner (who is also the paper setter) and his/her team to differentiate (qualitatively) between the candidates who have been working hard for the past one year for instance, and those who have made just a guest appearance?Vertically, the question paper of the year 2012 reveals at least another two patterns: first, the existence of mistakes in the English language, and secondly, an effort to obscure questions to confound CSS candidates. Regarding the first pattern depicting the English language mistakes, one can cite question number two, three, four, six, seven and eight asked in the paper of 2012 displayed on the website of the FPSC. All these questions are rife with the mistakes of the definite article ‘the’. The rectified versions of these questions are these: “Evaluate the significance of [the] water conflict between India and Pakistan in [the] global perspective of climate change.” “Discuss the impact of foreign aid on Pakistan in [the] post-9/11 scenario.” “Substantiate Pakistan’s role in [the] Commonwealth.” “Discuss issues in the higher educational (sic) system vis-à-vis [the] 18th Amendment in Pakistan.” “How can the (sic) corruption be managed in Pakistan?” and “Discuss [the] impact of economic development of China on [the] World Order.” Only question number five escaped any article mistake.Regarding the second pattern of obscure questions, one can cite question number six in which the word ‘vis-à-vis’ is used. Instead of that, the phrase ‘in the light of’ should have been used to convey the message clearly, as the word ‘vis-à-vis’ also conveys the meaning of ‘in comparison with’. The question should have been framed in this way: In the light of the 18th Amendment, discuss the issues being faced by the higher education system in Pakistan. Why can the questions not be framed properly and made intelligible?Generally speaking, the paper setter has promoted two trends: first, commit the English language mistakes and get away with them, and secondly, instead of reading national and international English dailies and magazines of repute, make the examination preparation from books being churned out by publishing houses abundant in, for instance, Urdu Bazaar, Lahore.It seems that either the FPSC relies totally on the paper setter and sends him/her no instructions to follow or the discretion enjoyed by the paper setter to select the topics and the way of framing questions overrules the FPSC’s advice. For the past three years, no full question has been asked on the Balochistan issue. In 2010, only a short question was asked about the Balochistan package against ten marks. Does the issue of Balochistan deserve such little attention? Is it not sheer intellectual dishonesty to neglect such an important topic? If CSS candidates are not supposed to know about the Balochistan issue, who else should know about that? The same is the problem with handling the issues of ethnicity, sectarianism and provincialism ravaging Pakistan.Similarly, for the past three years, no question has been asked on the local bodies, the seventh NFC Award, the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2009, Pakistan’s foreign policy challenges, the role of the services sector in Pakistan’s economy, the impact of the Arab Spring on Pakistani society, the US-India nuclear energy deal, Pak-India trade, etc. When an ignorant lot is inducted through the FPSC, what solutions they can come up with during their service tenure is anybody’s guess.The writer is a freelance columnist and can be reached at qaisarrashid@yahoo.comThe column is published in the daily times on wednesday. everybody is requested to share his/her views


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