RCSC defers date for PE exam

RCSC Introduces General Awareness Parameter for BCSE

Starting from the 2024 Preliminary Examination (PE), the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) has announced a significant change to the Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE). General Awareness/Current Affairs will now be included as an additional parameter, aiming to assess the competencies required in the civil service to keep abreast of political and economic trends and developments both regionally and globally.

According to Karma Wangdi, Policy and Planning Services Officer at RCSC, this inclusion is designed to evaluate the additional competencies necessary for the civil service, particularly the ability to stay informed about geopolitical issues and Bhutan’s strategic position in the changing world order. The new parameter will consist of 20 marks, making it one of the six parameters that candidates will be evaluated on. The existing parameters include English communication skills, Dzongkha communication skills, problem-solving, logical and analytical ability, and data interpretation ability.

“For a decade since 2010, the four parameters evaluated the specific academic or technical skills of the graduates. The growing need for competency in the public service due to fast-changing trends and complex issues requires system-wide thinking, agility, resilience, and intelligence in all spheres,” said Karma Wangdi. “With this inclusion, we aim to give a competitive edge to candidates who are well-rounded and capable of comprehending the challenges and opportunities for Bhutan.”

To ensure unbiased and relevant assessment, the new parameter’s questions will cover a range of topics from national and regional to global levels. “The questions will test how abreast our graduates are with current realities and their application of analytical reasoning,” the planning officer added. Previously, these topics were included under other thematic papers, but starting from BCSE 2024, they will be assessed separately.

This change is in line with the Bhutan Civil Service Rules (BCSR) 2023 and reflects the modifications incorporated thereafter. Unlike the BCSR 2018, the previous rules did not include this parameter.

Additionally, last year the RCSC abolished the quota system for the BCSE, allowing graduates to sit for the exam multiple times. This overturned the previous limitations of two attempts for the Main Examination (ME) and three for the PE. The new rule aims to attract the best and brightest candidates, although it acknowledges the potential for increased government expenses. Candidates must still be at least 18 years old and no older than 35 years for pre-service candidates, and 45 years for in-service candidates as of the last date of online registration.

The commission’s decision to remove the quota system responds to the attrition trend in the civil service, where 1,900 graduates had reached the preliminary examination quota limit of three times, and 299 had exceeded their main examination quota of two times. By eliminating the quota system, the commission hopes to offer more opportunities to these graduates and expand the talent pool for selecting the best candidates.

The addition of General Awareness/Current Affairs as a separate parameter is expected to enhance graduates’ understanding of global trends and developments, as well as their critical and analytical thinking abilities. This change will provide a competitive edge to candidates who are well-versed in current events and possess strong analytical skills, thus improving their chances of securing a position in the civil service.

Under the new format, the question pattern will feature 20 questions each for English communication skills, Dzongkha communication skills, problem-solving, logical and analytical ability, data interpretation ability, and general awareness/current affairs, with each section carrying 20 marks.

By Nidup Lhamo, Thimphu