I still remember the twinkle in my dad’s eyes, like two honey glazed donuts, when he proposed the idea to me about how I’d like to prepare and sit for the BCS exams. I was dumbfounded at the lack of his notion about my future plans but furthermore because I lacked proper knowledge on why it brought such great hopes and excitement in the pitch of his voice. After I had declined his unsolicited suggestion, I was intrigued and had to look up at what the hype was about. However, like any other story, this had its own demerits too but it was heartbreaking to know that the demerits lied in no place else, but in the guarded minds of the population, the nation and us.
Bangladesh Civil Service also well renowned by the acronym BCS is a qualification that an individual acquires when they want to serve in governmental sectors or are looking for jobs in said area. Although, it brings light into the probable darkest minds of some, BCS has become quite notorious as it gives way to anticipated awry and stress. The exam consists of three consecutive but highly competitive stages and takes place nationwide. It takes about 2 years for the lucky individual to complete the whole, excruciating chain of 3 exams, however one can only apply after they have completed their under graduation.
Even though, the examination itself has a shiny exterior, there happens to be a lot of negativity circulating, regarding how much of hope and future it withholds in an individual’s life. On an average about 225,000 candidates apply every year for this examination, out of which most of the time 90% show up. After the prolonged 3 sequential process, the final success rate stands at about 0.02% for all the candidates and at a 0.005% for the general cadres.
On top of which the country’s quota system on BCS has been highly controversial for the past 6-7 years. This heavily puts a setback in one’s life. After a thorough study process of 2 years, if a candidate unfortunately fails, what would s/he lose? Well, the answer to that is simple – valuable time, respect from his/her parents, hopes for the future and a demolished plan of their career. It doesn’t only put a stop to one’s well built goals but also frustrates their mental peace and principles of life.
At a span of 21-30 years, this is where most candidates face mid life crisis. Well, now that the level of competitive scenario has been explained, it is well understood why in today’s culture, BCS is put up in highest of clouds, however, when one does not reach that significant level, the fall is bound to be drastic. Is this why now, potential marriage proposals especially from men are only deemed worthy if they are within that percentage? Are other career holders and achievers in other field of interests – just another degrade? This is also where the individual drenches himself in self loathing due to feeling unaccepted in the over glorified BCS society.
Where in 2 years, a CA graduate could start up his own firm, a BCS candidate could either power through their way and ace the exams or fail dramatically. It is upon us to choose which is better and which serves higher percentage of optimized opportunity, however, whichever we choose it is never in one’s good notion to be demoralizing either of the choices.
To convert BCS dream into reality it takes up a chunk of elements, however in the socio-economic context, a job in public sector is always labeled prestigious and with pride. It also brings in various facilities which are greater than most. The preparation period alone may take more than 2 years for some, during which the candidates actually remain unemployed and this is because of the books, copies and the system that pins them down. What is the moral reason of such fall out? It is because of the intensity of jitters that the preparation stage of BCS delivers and the nerve wrecking competition served in the minds of a candidate. A successful BCS candidate does not presume his qualifications to turn his life into a fairy tale, nor does he do so to be socially accepted. Why is it then, that not succeeding in BCS exam puts the individual, his/her parents, nosy relatives, agitated fiancé and mocking friends through existential crisis?
A current candidate of BCS examinations, Natasha Karim, poured in some insights and scoops on the sufferings, motivation and structure that any BCS candidate would face during the process or afterwards.
“BCS solely provides a form of job security, power and pride. It gives an individual the access and ability to contribute to the community and country all in one go; hence the craze of such power blinds the general population. However, BCS demands long term commitment as even after passing the preliminary and other exams, on average it could take about 2-3 years to finally ace a job and thus, when one fails after such a prolonged period of commitment, they are bound to face clinical depression and feel at a loss of time, money and future.”
When further asked about how the older portion of the entire pie chart feels about BCS and why they feel that way, she explained,
“When it comes to prospects of marriage, parents always want their offspring to be settled and have security, that alone is the reason why marrying a BCS cadre is the cherry on top for many. In this country and culture, professions that aren’t in the circumference of doctors, engineers or lawyers are deemed less worthy which eventually gives way to lesser and lesser opportunity for those wanting to work in other creative or non creative field thus, making it harder to start over again when one fails.”
When asked about any suggestions that she would like to bestow upon the future and current candidates, Natasha advised, “Potential candidates must never fear what it withholds. If they plan on obtaining this qualification they must stand their ground, not get distracted and set a definite goal.”
In this society, it’s been falsely labeled that dignity, pride, honor and prestige lies within the acceptance and qualification of BCS, but if it was every other individuals’ ability to build through all the mathematical, science, international affairs and mental ability exams, we all would be living the notorious fairy tale that isn’t fit for all. How many of us would be happy knowing we are only acquainted and affiliated because of the degree that defines us? Isn’t that alone, enough to have an identity crisis?