Social prestige attracts youths to govt jobs

Prajakta Joshi
Saturday, 27 April 2019

The recently declared results of UPSC examination revealed several trends. In a four-part series, Sakal Times explores the changing dynamics of competitive examinations

PUNE: “We grow up looking at and interacting with several administrative officers up close. We are fascinated seeing the respect that they receive,” Nachiket Shelke, who has recently cleared the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination with 167th rank said. 

While Shelke prepared for the examination in Pune, he is from Pimple Khalcha, a village in Shirur taluka.

While the civil services promise a lucrative career opportunity, the results of the competitive examinations have time and again showed that the candidates, aspiring as well as successful, mostly hail from the rural areas. Attraction towards the stability of government jobs and the social prestige associated with them are two of the main reasons behind this.

“The administrative services promise a permanent government job. In villages, from a young age, these candidates see the respect as well as power associated with these jobs, thus attracting them towards it,” Executive Director of Shyamchi Aai Foundation Sheetal Bapat told Sakal Times.

The foundation has been conducting aptitude and interest tests for the students of Std X (state board) for the past few years.

However, Bapat further added that in present situation, the students need to think twice before making the decision. “The number of jobs has not been on par with the number of aspirants that has been rapidly increasing. This leaves many candidates struggling for years together. There is a need for the students in rural areas as well to check whether they are really passionate about it, before entering administrative services,” Bapat said.

“I have seen many cases where the students aspire to take up UPSC or Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examinations because they wish to improve the socio-economic condition of their own village,” Nilima Apte of Jnana Prabodhini’s centre of aptitude testing and career counselling said.

Manohar Bhole of Unique Academy, one of the popular coaching classes in the state, said, “Apart from hailing from rural areas, I would like to add that a large number of the candidates are poor as well. A job in civil services is an opportunity for them to improve their lives.”

With this aim in mind, Bhole said, these candidates do not mind leading a life of struggle for three-four years.

Living in the cities while pursuing the studies and classes for the competitive examinations is sometimes gruesome, said Shelke.

“It takes a lot of investment, in coaching, hostels, food, etc. Moreover, we are away from home and parents. There is a lot of stress. It’s the passion that gets us through,” he added.

He also said that despite maximum number of students being from the rural areas, the best eco-system for preparation lies in the cities only.

“Urban areas have exposure to the 21st century career options. While there is still a reasonable size of urban students aspiring for UPSC/MPSC, the number is still smaller,” Bapat said.

Career counsellor Apte also added that with Engineering and Medicine being two of the major career choices amongst the students as well as parents, the number of these wishing to go abroad is huge.

For 2019 UPSC prelim exam in June, the Pune centre was filled within a few days and candidates have been asked to choose from Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Thane and Nagpur centres.

“In villages, the administrative services have a huge respect. Whenever a candidate clears the competitive examination, the villagers felicitate them. This encourages hundreds of more children,” Mahesh Bade who is aspiring to clear Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination said.

“Clearing competitive examinations requires consistent hard work. I feel that apart from the parental background and living conditions, the students have the natural inclination to work hard,” S nehal Dhaigude from Bori village in Satara district, who has recently become IAS officer, said.

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