The Central Superior Services examination has a considerable potential for attracting a major portion of educated youths. The significance of this examination cannot be denied. The question is whether or not this examination is technically the best model. There appears numerous fissures in the very structure of the CSS examination. Prerequisite for such an examination to be fair is its ability to maintain a single standard for all contestants. Unfortunately, this requirement is not materialised.

Answer copies are assessed by different professors and subject specialists. A professor of sociology, for instance, who is by generous, may be lavish, if not extravagant, in awarding marks to a candidate of mediocre level whereas the answer paper of a more intelligent and knowledgeably candidate for the same subject checked by a strict expert is likely to get fewer marks. In this backdrop a candidate is left with the only option of praying for his answer copy to be checked by a benevolent expert. Doesn’t it mean then that a candidate must be lucky? This is, then, injustice done to a more intelligent candidate and puts a question mark over the entire examination process. Another flaw that can render the examination process vulnerable to being unjust is socio-psycho in nature and called ‘difference of approach’, in sociological terms. A conformist or non-conformist approach to an idea, thought or a viewpoint of an assessor, more particularly in subjects of the social sciences, history and language other than in natural sciences, sometimes proves critical for candidates. If an expert finds himself in line with the analytical reasoning put forward by a candidate, he is most likely to award marks, whereas the same idea propounded by other candidate may make another expert to disagree outrightly. Hence, the concept of uniformity in paper assessment remains thoroughly unpredictable. The FPSC cannot deny that any survey, test or examination which involves luck, chance and human factors, including prejudice, emotional attachment, personal bias, conformist or nonconformist approach, can fairly be error-free and its results accurate.

Maintaining impartiality and objectivity, controlling all variables, providing consummate equality for all contestants and ensuring unprejudiced and uninfluenced approaches usher in scientifically accurate results, and this is what ‘objectivity’ is and why theoretic conclusions are valueless without it. Considering the above-mentioned reservations and internal and external examination procedure pitfalls, the FPSC must come out with a sustainable plan to work on the CSS examination and reforms should be introduced to ensure strict uniformity, universal applicability and equality at all levels to make the examination fault-free, thereby reducing the concept of luck factor.

SAHITO ZAHEER

Khairpur, May 8.