Protest erupts over BCS results

Angry students went in for a road blockade in Dhaka on Wednesday, blaming the government of 'manipulations' in the 34th Bangladesh Civil Services (BCS) exams.

Shahidul Islambdnews24.com
Published : 10 July 2013, 01:49 AM
Updated : 10 July 2013, 10:45 AM

The blockade at Shahbagh intersection caused traffic snarls for a while.

The students said that though they had failed to get through though they were confident of securing more than 90 percent marks. The protests at Dhaka University's TSC area followed the publication of the results on Monday.

The agitating students wanted the results cancelled and fresh tests held.

Public Service Commission officials refused to comment on the issue.

On Wednesday morning, Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman AT Ahmedul Hoque Chowdhury, Secretary Mohammad Babul Hassan, examination Controller (Cadre) AIM Nesar Uddin and Joint Secretary Mohammad Yusuf Ali were contacted by bdnews24.com but they were not willing to speak.

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However, a PSC official on condition of strict anonymity told bdnews24.com that the results of the 34th BCS exams were finalised after factoring in the various quotas. “Thus many of the bright candidates may have been screened out.”
Another official, also seeking anonymity, told bdnews24.com that it took five meetings to finalise the results.
“PSC officials went in for long discussions at least four times. But since a solution could not be found, the officials decided on a special method in the fifth meeting,” the official said.
“Even our office is abuzz with rumours about this result. But I cannot tell everything. I too work here.”
Though the results were supposed to be out within a month of the examinations, it took the PSC a fortnight more to publish it on Monday. All other previous BCS preliminary results have been published within a month.
12,033 came out successful in the tests -- a mere 5.43 percent of the total 221,575 candidates who sat for the examinations.
This contrasts to the success rate in 33rd BCS preliminary tests (14.98 percent), 32nd BCS preliminary ( 44 percent) and for the 31st (6.24 percent)
Mahtab (name changed) was one such unsuccessful candidate in the 34th BCS preliminary examinations. “I am confident that I got 93. But my friend got selected with 64 marks,” he told bdnews24.com.
Shuvo, Arif and Zakia (all names changed) alleged that this time the results were published with ‘special considerations’ -- so even those who might have got more than 90 percent marks may have been left out.
PSC advertised for the 34th examinations with preliminary results to come out within a month followed by a written test and finally a viva voce. But the rule was not maintained.
Despite appearing for the viva voce in the 31st and 33rd BCS examinations, Nur did not pass the written test of the 34th.
“I got 89 out of 100 and still did not qualify in the preliminary. I think the results were not right. I heard that the preliminary results this year were based on the quota system. Why would it take so long to publish the results?” he told bdnews24.com.
Although Somir got through in the 31st BCS exams, he took the 34th BCS test to improve his scores and get the cadre he wanted.
“My friends who took part in this BCS exam also said there was some problem in this year’s results. I think so too. We want a solution for this.” he told bdnews24.com.
Previously, quotas were considered after the written and oral tests.
However, since 32nd BCS exams, candidates had to select a quota they belong to in the preliminary stage.
PSC never announces the grades in the preliminary tests, so aspirants cannot challenge the results.

A total of 12,033 candidates among the 221,575 cleared the initial hurdle this year.

A day after the preliminary exam results came out, PSC Member Liakat Ali Khan told reporters: “Candidates have been selected from the preliminary level this time based on the vacancies under quota.”

He rejected the claim that because of the quota system many candidates qualified for the top-grade government services with lower marks than many of their competitors who failed to secure the jobs.

The agitating candidates on Tuesday took out a protest procession against the quota system in government jobs and went for a blockade programme on Wednesday.

bdnews24.com could not reach any high official of PSC by phone from morning to noon for comments on the protest.

Later Sobhan Sikder talked to bdnews24.com at noon and said the government had issued no directive regarding the quota system and “as an independent institution PSC itself can make any decision”.

Agitation at Shahbagh

Angry students, who could not come out successful in the preliminary exams, blocked Shahbagh on Wednesday protesting the quota system, triggering traffic snarls.

The protestors, gathering under the banner ‘deprived students’ said they had failed to get through though they were confident of securing more than 90 percent marks.

The agitating students, mostly from the Dhaka University, wanted the results cancelled and fresh tests held.

Dhaka University Proctor Prof Amzad Ali went to Shahbagh hearing the news of the protest and expressed solidarity with the agitators.

He said: “Someone will fail after getting 80 marks and someone will pass with 50 marks – this discrimination cannot be allowed to continue.”

He said some overenthusiastic people at PSC prepared the preliminary exam results to invite troubles for the government.

One protester, Mahbub Rahman, told bdnews24.com: “In this (34th) BCS exams ordinary candidates could not come out successful despite securing 78-79 marks whereas candidates under quotas got chance with only 60-61 marks.”

Many children of freedom fighters, who enjoy a big quota, also joined the protest as they believe things have stretched a bit too far.

Dhaka University student Shahedul Islam, whose father was a freedom fighter, said: “Quota should be within the tolerable limit. It (quota) has reached such level that the nation will be meritless.”

The agitators held a press conference in the afternoon where Dhaka University’s student of mass communication and journalism Shaheen Alam raised demands on their behalf.

They asked for cancellation of the 34th BCS preliminary exam results, a re-evaluation and revision of quota system.

Alam said they would stay at Shahbagh intersection until 10pm on Wednesday and again start the protest at 11am on Thursday.

No revision of quota system

However, Sobhan Sikder said the government has made no decision to reform the quota system in the public service.

He said the PSC Secretary told him that this year’s preliminary exam results had been prepared and published in the previous system.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher