Friday, April 11, 2008

Quota or Merit?

With tangible development in quality of education and immense increase in the number of students at all levels of education leading to an unbelievably huge number of competent candidates in job market, a fierce competition comes as no surprise. Keeping in mind the fast-evolving nature of the current world which requires veritable competence in order to survive as a dignified nation, we can't afford compromise with the quality of public administration, a crucial organ of the state.

Needless to say, our country achieved independence through the nine-month long liberation war and the supreme sacrifice of the sons of the soil, the freedom fighters. Hence our valiant fighters, no doubt, must be duly honoured. With a view to repaying our debt, they along with their offspring have been privileged to enjoy a quota in many sectors. With due respect to them, it's time to say that the quota system in BCS exams warrants a thorough revision.

We are now in a situation to make a fair trade-off. Reducing the current 55% quota boils down to reducing 30% quota for freedom fighters to an acceptable extent resulting in a fair overall quota of, say, at most 15%. Many have opposed this in a derogatory manner trying to tag a 'mercy' flavour with the issue. This kind of attitude is utterly reprehensible. Our freedom fighters, who could risk their own lives during the liberation war, were not so narrow-minded as to insist on recruiting their children, if incompetent, into government service through an unfair quota system that has reportedly been exploited by the past ruling parties to place their party men in the administration.

We can't expect good prospect of our country if we further indulge in wholesale rejection of competent candidates in one of the most important state organs at a time when the country is already plagued by innumerable inefficiency problems in various sectors. Now is the time to ensure quality at all levels of administration by giving the deserving candidates a real chance to prove their worth.

[ This post was published as a letter in The Daily Star on March 21, 2008. ]