…Reforms open doors for multiple attempts in Bhutan Civil Service Examinations, expanding talent pool and empowering aspiring youth
By Phurpa Wangmo
In a significant development, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) announced amendments to certain sections of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2018 during its 183rd Commission Meeting held on May 23, 2023.
According to the revised Section 18.104.22.168, candidates will now be permitted to appear for the Preliminary Examination (PE) multiple times, provided they meet the age requirement outlined in Section 22.214.171.124. Similarly, Section 126.96.36.199 states that candidates can participate in the Main Examination (ME) multiple times, again as long as they fulfill the age requirement specified in Section 188.8.131.52.
The age requirement, as mentioned in Section 184.108.40.206, states that candidates must be at least 18 years old and not older than 35 years for pre-service candidates, and 45 years for in-service candidates, as of the last date of online registration.
One of the key changes resulting from these amendments is the removal of the quota for the Bhutan Civil Service Examinations (BCSE). This decision aims to provide opportunities to graduates and expand the talent pool, enabling the RCSC to select the best and brightest candidates.
Singye Wangdi, a 33-year-old, expressed his optimism about the new rules, stating, “I have appeared for the preliminary examination three times but did not pass the BCSE. With the implementation of the new rules, I believe it offers a good opportunity for people like us who cannot afford to study abroad.”
Tshering, 32, said, “I think the government should have abolished the quota earlier. It seems they changed the rules when everyone is leaving abroad. Therefore, I have no plans to retake the PE, as I would only have a few years to work in the civil service. Instead, I would prefer to work abroad for five years to accumulate a fund amount equivalent to what I would earn in over 20 years of civil service.”
Kuenzang Choden, the Human Resource Officer of RCSC, explained, “The Commission has been closely monitoring the attrition trend and strategizing ways to fill in the gap created by such attrition. Entry to Civil Service is through BCSE, and as per our assessment, 1900 have reached the PE quota limit of three times and 299 have exceeded their ME quota of two times. These graduates might be interested to sit for BCSE, therefore, the quota to appear for the BCSE has been done away to offer opportunity to the graduates and increase the talent pool for the RCSC to choose the best and the brightest”.
HRO also said, “The decision to permit eligible graduates to take the BCSE multiple times will increase competitiveness as the applicant pool expands. This move aligns with the Royal Civil Service Commission’s broader goals of attracting a larger talent pool for civil service positions”.
While this change allows applicants to sit for the exams repeatedly, it does bring additional costs to the government. The annual expenses, on average, amount to 14 million, which can vary based on the number of applicants.
Sonam Choden, 29 year-old, a graduate student from Sherubtse College expressed her support for the civil service path, stating, “It is always a favorable option for us to work in the civil service. I will keep trying until I succeed in the BCSE, as we feel more secure in government jobs compared to the private sector. The salary in the private sector is lower, and job security is a concern.”
Kuenzang Choden, expressing her delight, emphasized the positive impact of the new notification on aspiring youth aiming to pursue a career in the civil service. She shared her belief that the opportunity to secure a government job would be preferred by many young individuals over incurring significant loans to pursue higher education abroad.
This notification regarding the amendments will be implemented with immediate effect, allowing eligible graduates to take the BCSE multiple times and fostering a more competitive selection process.