Posts tagged ‘Civil service’


China raises wages for govt workers at least 31 percent – document | Reuters

(Reuters) – China has raised the wages of government workers by at least 31 percent, according to a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday, as part of efforts to combat corruption and lift the spending power of millions as the country seeks to increase consumption.

The basic salaries of some civil servants would be almost tripled, according to the document distributed to China’s cabinet and dated Jan. 12. It said the increases would be effective from Oct. 1, 2014.

The change is part of a broad effort by Beijing to reform the compensation levels of government workers to improve efficiency, reduce graft and hold officials more accountable for their own performance.

Executives at some Chinese state-owned companies, notorious for their inefficiency, suffered pay cuts this month.

“The pay hike indicates Beijing’s goal of improving the quality of life for the average Chinese,” Nomura economists said in a note. They said it was the first wage rise in eight years for central government workers.

via China raises wages for govt workers at least 31 percent – document | Reuters.


Class divide puts English to the test in India’s civil services

Indian students in recent weeks have protested the use of English in the country’s difficult civil service examinations. The students, usually from Hindi-speaking regions of India, say that the exams reflect a class divide: if you speak and write English well, you are seen as part of the educated, urban elite. If you do not, it’s because you are one of the disadvantaged, usually from smaller towns or villages.

English is a tricky subject in India. A language imposed by colonists who exploited the people and resources of the land for centuries, it also was the one language that people seeking independence from the British could use to speak to one another. It remains one of two official languages across India, though many people do not speak it well or at all. I spoke to some of the civil service aspirants who have complained about the language requirement and the structure of the exams, and learned about the role that they hope the exam will play in their lives.

Ashutosh Sharma is a 25-year-old psychology graduate from Basti district of Uttar Pradesh, who has been camping in Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar neighbourhood for the past two years, hoping that he will crack the examination one day.

“The entire protest is presented as a language issue. It’s much more than that. It’s about how a group of elite people in the country want to govern the things. How they cannot digest that a villager, who doesn’t match their lavish lifestyle, rises to the ranks on the basis of his knowledge and hard work,” he said.

Ashutosh said he comes from a village, and is better acquainted with the problems the country faces in these places. “When I was in the village primary school, I remember that the teacher would hardly come to take classes. There was no accountability. As a district magistrate, I would know better how the problem can be fixed and I can deal with the problem regardless of whether I speak English or not.”

via India Insight.


Key questions that have been lost in the din of protests against the civil services exam

In the midst of protests against the new format of the civil services examination, several key issues have gone unaddressed. An opportunity for meaningful debate about the exam has quickly turned into a slanging match.

The matter has assumed an unnecessarily adversarial tone, with English pitted against other Indian languages. But the issues are far more complex and far less binary than politicians believe. Here are some key questions that have got lost in the din.

Should the Civil Services Aptitude Test be scrapped altogether?

The answer is a clear no. The CSAT gauges logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, analytical abilities, basic numeracy and English proficiency up to class 10 level. To argue that an administrator can do without any of these skills is unrealistic. An administrator has to deal with huge amounts of quantitative and qualitative information and any deficiency in these skills would mean a sub-par performance on the job.

Does the CSAT discriminate against students doing the exam in Hindi or regional languages?

No, but it does employ very poor translation software. The Union Public Service Commission, which conducts the exam, must acquire competent translators or purchase translation software that is up to the mark. This should do the trick.

Is there a grain of truth in what the protestors are alleging?

At the heart of the uproar lies the allegation that the exam is biased towards those who take the exam in English. Since the revised format came into force in 2011, the number of students who take the exam in Hindi has steadily fallen. (However, to really judge whether this is significant, one would have to look not at the absolute numbers of successful candidates who do the exam in Hindi, but the percentage of such candidates out of all those who take the exam in Hindi. But data about the number of test takers in each language is not available).

There may be a kernel of truth to this claim. But the blame lies to a large extent with the coaching and publishing industry. There is simply not enough study material available in Hindi and other regional languages. It is this paucity of study material that hurts students from vernacular backgrounds in the long run.

Surely, pelting stones and burning vehicles is not acceptable behaviour?

Some protestors, by resorting to violence, have demonstrated their unsuitability for the job. It is safe to say that many students have spent hundreds of hours preparing for the exam in its current format. What about their efforts? Do they count for nothing? By taking to the streets and letting political players into the mix, the protestors have probably done more harm than good.

Does the civil services exam in its current format select the best and the brightest?

Opinions differ considerably. An IAS probationer who did not want to be named told this writer: “The civil service exams, in its existing format, put less emphasis on rote learning and that is a good thing. The less this examination focuses on retention of information, the better.”

The civil services exam in its current format has three key components. The prelims, the mains and the interview. The first stage of the exam is the prelims, which has two parts, of which the second is the dreaded CSAT. As argued earlier, however, the CSAT is essential for ensuring that only candidates who possess minimum competencies and skill sets make it through to the far more difficult second round, the mains.

The Union Public Service Commission, with its recent revision in format for the mains, has reduced much of the burden on students. Earlier, a student had to master two subjects of their choice (neither of which he or she may have studied before). But now a student just has to choose just one subject of his or her choice. By emphasising general studies and critical thinking, the UPSC has levelled the playing field to a large degree.

How about allowing lateral entry?

The UPSC could also perhaps increase the number of vacancies in the civil services. It is a fact that we don’t have enough administrators for the population. According to various media reports, Right to Information applications and 2011 census figures, India has slightly more than 1,600 government servants for every 100,000 residents, which many studies say is a low ratio.

If quality of candidates is an issue, then the UPSC could look into the lateral entry of specialists, and even pay them market wages, a system used in the developed world. India’s political establishment must separate policy functions from service delivery and stop interference in operational matters. Simultaneously, the political class must establish uniform standards and guidelines across the country.

via – News. Politics. Culture..


Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

The number of applicants for civil service jobs has dropped in most places so far this year, according to information released by provincial-level governments.

Sixteen of the 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that released employment information on Thursday saw a decrease in applicants year-on-year.

The number of applicants in Zhejiang province was down 37 percent from 360,000 last year to 227,000 this year, according to the human resources and social security department.

Most other provinces saw a decrease of between 10 and 30 percent this year, the Beijing News reported.

Only Shaanxi province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region have seen increases in the number of applicants this year.

Meanwhile, 15 provincial-level governments have cut the number of civil service positions available. The number of posts in Zhejiang province, for example, is about 1,500 less than last year.

Civil service jobs have long been deemed ideal for many college graduates. The central authorities, provincial-level governments and city governments respectively recruit civil servants once a year.

In 2013, for example, 1.52 million graduates took the national civil service exam. On average, about 77 applicants competed for each available position. The most desirable posts saw a competitive ratio of 7,192 to 1.

Gu Ruocun, a graduate from Shandong Normal University who works for a private company, said that more than half of his classmates applied for positions in the provincial government last year.

“In my opinion, civil service is a decent job with decent pay,” he said, adding that he is preparing for this year’s application exam after failing a year ago.

Xu Yaotong, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the central government has begun reforms to streamline public agencies. Local governments will tend to follow suit to decrease the number of new civil posts, Xu said.

The decrease in applicants this year shows that the public has been changing its attitude toward such jobs, he said, adding that it is good news that more young people want to work outside of the government.

via Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

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Nearly 1 mln sit Chinese national civil servant exam – Xinhua |

As many as 990,000 candidates took the National Public Servant Exam on Sunday, a decrease of 130,000 from last year, according to the State Administration of Civil Service.

China\’s central authority, their affiliated public institutions and local branches will recruit over 19,000 civil servants in 2014, a slight drop from 2013, according to a statement from the administration.

One out of 51 exam takers will succeed in gaining a post this year, according to the statement.

The annual exam includes an aptitude test and a written policy essay, and those who pass the written exam will make it to the interview round.

The popularity of the exam has been attributed to mounting pressures in finding employment, fairness of the test, and the attractiveness of civil servant jobs, which are stable and respected.

Statistics from the administration showed that there were 7.089 million civil servants in China by the end of 2012.

via Nearly 1 mln sit national civil servant exam – Xinhua |

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