Wednesday, 25 May, 2022

Doctors and Engineers Opt for Administrative Cadre: Not a Good Sign

In the 38th BCS examination 82 candidates from BUET, 64 from KUET, 59 from RUET and 55 from CUET embraced jobs under administrative cadre. And in the recently published 40th BCS examination result, only engineers were found occupying the positions in all the three covetable cadres such as administration, foreign and police, a fact that has sparked criticism from the sensible citizens.  40th BCS is the first batch that sees the selection of candidates based only on merit abolishing all sorts of quota system. After the results, a debate has been in the air whether the engineers should be the administrator, diplomats or police and will they be able to play desired role wearing the dress of exclusive professional garb. Some put arguments that the country spends 15 to 20 lakh taka to make an engineer, with the expectation that they would serve the nation with their technical expertise, knowledge and skills they have gained. Sacrificing their professionalism they tend to tilt towards BCS administration in a large scale. This does not bear a good sign. This group advocates in favour of their being as engineers not in other fields as they are a thriving force to take a country to the pinnacle of success that we see in case of Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea. It is heard that among every 20 people one is an engineer in Japan who contribute a lot to sustain Japan’s enviable economy. Our engineers on the other hand want to be administrators, bureaucrats or police.

Why our engineers want to be administrators leaving their line of specialized education? The answer is: We see that the BCS officers of administrative cadre are held in high esteem in the society which is several times greater than that of any engineer, doctor, agriculturist or even a PhD degree holder from a foreign university. In the presence of this reality, our specialized graduates will definitely try to show their worth in the administration by virtue of their merit. The society and country will of course be deprived of their specialized service as doctors, engineers and agriculturists. It is also true, on the other hand, that we have to depend on foreign engineers for developing a culvert, building, test soil and water. Our doctors and engineers prefer the administration cadre burying their professional skills. Now, if we ask, can an official of admin cadre earn more than a doctor in an honest way? Of course not, a doctor can earn more in an honest way than a magistrate. Not only that, when he works in a hospital, government or private, where patients are coming with their pains and suffering, a doctor directly gets opportunity to serve them, to understand the mystery of God and His creation and its significance. It’s quite a different world.

Similarly, an engineer gets the opportunity to mix his thoughts with his earned skills and designs and constructs a big building and structure. He must have a different and creative world whose interest and feeling remains unknown to others. Is the charm and grandeur of an administrative cadre official more valuable than this world? Of course not. Still they are giving choice to become administrators that cannot be said a usual course of action of the society. We know that a doctor can become maximum Director General of the directorate of Health Service in the existing cadre service system .The secretary of the ministry might be a student from Political Science or Bangla or English because of his working in the administrative cadre. Considering this point, some doctors and engineers’ choice of admin cadre retains merit. Now, they will have the opportunity to be secretary of Health Ministry or Local Government. The students who study in the International Relations or Political Science have critically read and discussed foreign affairs. Necessarily they have enough scope to apply their knowledge in foreign affairs cadre. Another group supports and appreciates the idea of engineers’ coming to administrative cadre as they think several engineers who have proved their worth in this line, so they deserve this position. The admin cadre needs these brilliant guys who will be able to give better service to the nation by virtue of their merit. And out of many engineers only a few of them are coming to administration that will not exert any serious effect on this profession. Moreover, many of our engineers go abroad for higher education or for jobs and hardly get back to the country but those who have opted for administration cadre will at least serve the nation for thirty years.

Inter cadre disparity and deprivation of facilities is the other cause for which doctors and engineers are taking the occupation in the administrative cadre. The question is - should we allow it to continue and follow the British devised system of administration that this territory witnessed about 300 years ago? To really carry the progress of the country forward the dedication and sincere service of the professionals such as doctors, engineers, agriculturists and other technical people is a must. Their sincere work and contribution must be ensured by creating congenial atmosphere and alienating the gap surfacing among cadres and professionals. The admin cadre and its surface pomp and grandeur cannot contribute to true national development. So it must not allure the specialized professionals. In the district and divisional level, equally important and with same status officials of several other cadres should be made equal to admin cadre officials for ensuring smooth development of the country and mutual honour, trust and cooperative environment must be created. Just to coordinate the works of district, one coordinator can be selected from either of the cadres considering his/her length of service or age. Nobody seems important in a district except a DC. And the situation has become so worse that doctors are leaving their professions to become DC, engineers are leaving their profession to become the same and agriculturists are vying for the position in the police cadre. That does not talk about a sound administration.

 Bangladesh Civil Service consists of 26 cadres along with having sub cadres in some of them. Examples can be given of education cadre which has several sub cadres and under it around fifty subjects accommodate many teachers having BCS Education Cadre tag. Employment principles and rules are although the same but their posting, promotion and facilities don’t prove equal in all the cadres that create disparity and dissatisfaction among the cadre service holders. Suppose, English teachers get promotion slowly whereas the teachers of other subjects get promotion quickly and become senior. Today we observe that our agriculturists serve the nation much more than that of other professions. Their research and the results of research give direct benefit to the nation. Now we see varieties of rice, fruits and vegetables as a result of their untiring research but they are hardly given any credit for that. Still many agriculturists work in the administrative cadre and police cadre. What extra service they give to the nation at the cost of leaving their professional career? Just like other bureaucrats they also do the same. I don’t know how much benefit the people or country obtain from them?

The writer is the Country Director, Volunteers Association for Bangladesh (VAB).

Email: [email protected]

Source: Sun Editorial