Getting a permanent job is like a dream turning into reality. Whenever the smartphone pops up with a notification regarding advertisement for any post, the heart fills with hope. Years ago, like many others, I was preparing to sit in the PG entrance examination of some well known universities. During the same time, one day while reading the newspaper I found a selection list published in it. Surprisingly, my name also figured in it. I was so busy with my studies that I had even forgotten that I had applied for the job. I decided to not join the job. But my family learnt about it and, the lower middle class family that we were, I was pushed to join. I was told that this was a God sent opportunity for me.
I was motivated by elders that within a short period of time there will be promotion, and so on. The job I was about to join was completely alien to me. I had no clue of what actually it was until I joined. It was a Class IV post.
As the JKSSB has recently advertised thousands of Class IV posts, like me there will be hundreds with similar kind of economic backgrounds who would apply for them, without knowing what the job actually is.
Let me be frank. This job demands work of any nature – from personal to office work. Anything can be asked to be done. Apart from this, the pay scale is at the bottom of the hierarchy. Even prospects of promotion are not certain. I was told by many educated people that this job will serve as a launching pad for me to do something better, but I always found it to be otherwise. All dreams, in fact, die and one even forgets to dream of doing something better.
I vividly remember the first week of my joining. Throughout I had been a good student, almost topping every time. Within the first few days, though, I started to face questions like, who helped you get this job? Are you a relative of any minister or MLA? These kinds of questions kept raining on me. The situation turned stranger when one young gazetted officer on meeting me for the first time asked the same question – on whose recommendation you secured this appointment? The officer continued asking questions. Finally, I replied that I was a meritorious student from school to graduation level. The officer was shocked. He was so impressed that whenever I would visit his office, he would share his own experience to motivate me.
Why I brought merit in the discussion here? There is a reason. Before a decade, Class IVs were usually appointed on random basis, without any proper recruitment. The perception has not changed even though the procedure for recruiting has changed completely. It was this perception of recommendation based appointment that was in vogue a decade or two ago that led various employees to ask me questions like who helped you. In the past many years the recruitment of Class IVs is being done on merit obtained in Class 10 and 12 exams. Meritorious students scoring above 85% in board exams are shortlisted for viva. Recently, the procedure has changed to written examination mode.
Coming to the new mode of recruitment for Class IV, first of all the notified syllabus is a surprise: History, culture, and so on. It seems as if it is recruitment for a gazetted post. Surely candidates will study day and night to crack it. This new procedure will bring even more meritorious students in this dead job. The meritorious students capable of serving the nation will be caught in Class IV level posts that don’t require any special kind of skill.
Due to rising unemployment, there exist unemployed educated persons in every home. Many a time I have heard elders say to students to secure a government job quickly, or else after studying too much they will be left unemployed like their other siblings/ cousins. However, one should choose this job only if one has failed in getting a job over past many years, or if one has lost interest/ confidence in higher studies, or if one sees this job as the last option available to support one’s family.
However, there should be a mechanism to prevent good students from getting caught at this level. For this a specific percentage can be fixed, like 50 % or 60 %, and students securing above this can be restricted. Second, the government should offer incentives in the form of scholarships to meritorious students, whose families are in poor economic situation, to carry on their education rather than offering them jobs at such low levels. Third, if the same recruiting procedure continues, then the government should enhance the promotion avenues. The level of expected quality can be maintained by letting them face exams at every stage of promotion, so that they can prove their worth before being promoted.
There is no guarantee that a candidate who has performed well academically at various stages will pursue something big, but it is certain that most of those who have actually accomplished something big have usually shown good performance academically at various stages. The best asset of the nation lies in its talented human resource. What good students need is a chance to serve to the best of their abilities. To every parent I would say, believe in your child if he/ she aspires big. To every meritorious student I would say, if you are ready to face any kind of challenge to fulfil your dream, let such kinds of jobs go. To the administration I would say, save your bright human resource today so that tomorrow they can serve better with greater skills and knowledge.