Bangladesh Public Service Commission
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A teacher in the history department at Dhaka College got promoted to associate professor eight years ago. He did not get any promotion in all these years as there is no vacant post of professor.

Allegations are there that other than a few cadres including administration, police and foreign affairs, officers of other cadres are not promoted on time. The main reason for this is that these cadres are not promoted if there is no vacancy in upper posts. But the public administration and some other sector officials get promotions even if there are no vacant posts.

According to Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC), there are 26 cadres in Bangladesh Civil Service. There is discrimination in terms of promotion and other facilities among the cadres.

BCS health and education cadres have the highest number of cadres. Currently, there is a total of 15,774 posts in the education cadre and 3,531 posts are vacant. Most of the officials of the education cadre are teaching at government colleges and a few are working in different education-related government offices.

An assistant professor of the physics department in Dhaka College who was recruited through 26th BCS in 2006, on condition of anonymity, told Prothom Alo that a college lecturer is supposed to qualify for promotion to assistant professor provided his record in departmental examinations and Annual Confidential Report (ACR) is good. But the teacher said their batch got its first promotion in 2014, eight years after the recruitment. An assistant professor is supposed to get promoted to associate professor in three years, but the Dhaka College teacher said they did not get the promotion in around eight years.

The Dhaka College teacher now gets his salary in sixth grade (Tk 35,500 as basic salary) on the national pay scale while the officials from some other cadres who were recruited in 27th BCS get salary in fifth grade (Tk 43,000 as basic salary).

The officials of the education cadre could once get promoted up to the third grade. But they can now be promoted up to fourth grade as per the national pay scale of 2015. As a result, directorate of secondary and higher education (DSHE) director general Nehal Ahmed gets a salary in fourth grade while the associate professors of the government colleges are also in the same grade.

The DSHE DG’s post was made grade one. But as the education cadre officials cannot be promoted beyond grade four, it is almost impossible for an official to get promoted up to grade one. None of the last three DGs of the DSHE could reach up to grade one.

Meanwhile, the authorities in last June took a decision to upgrade the principal posts of 95 large government colleges to grade three. The promotion would be made through Superior Selection Board. But the meeting of the board is yet to take place.

DSHE director (college and administration) and BCS general education association’s president Shahedul Khabir Chowdhury said batch-wise promotion and creation of posts can lessen the crisis of teachers.

Promotion woes of health cadre officials

The health cadre officials are also suffering from a promotion backlog. There are a total of around  28 thousand physicians in the health cadre right now. Dhaka Medical College’s principal Md Titu Mia told Prothom Alo that in some cadres such as administration and police, promotions are made considering their BCS batch but that doesn’t happen in the health cadre. The health cadres get promotions according to posts.

He however said the promotion has become a bit faster in comparison with the past. The meetings of the Superior Selection Board (SSB) or Departmental Promotion Committee (DPS) do not be held regularly. He also added that there should be coordination in terms of subject-wise posts.

The physicians could get promotions up to third grade. Only DG posts of health directorate and medical education directorate are of first grade. Physicians said there should be a uniformity of promotion in all cadres. Otherwise, inter-cadre inequality would continue to rise.

An assistant professor of Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital, on condition of anonymity, told Prothom Alo that he got promoted in around seven years but it takes more time for many others. Normally a physician is supposed to get a promotion to sixth grade in five years upon fulfilling the conditions of the job but they do not get a promotion on time as the number of posts is few in sixth grade.

'Competence should determine promotion in all cadres' 

Prokichi, an association of engineers, agriculturists and physicians often become vocal on inter-cadre disparity. BCS coordination committee, an organisation comprising officials of different cadres, also hold programmes on the issue some time.  They hold demonstrations in 2016 demanding reinstating of timescale and selection grade and eliminating discrimination between cadre and non-cadre services.

Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center’s (BPATC) former rector AKM Abdul Awal Majumdar told Prothom Alo that only competent and brilliant officials should get promotions in all cadres only upon vacancy of posts.

He said some demands of the officials of cadres other than admin and police are justified while some others are unjustified.

But the ministries sometimes don’t give due importance to even justifiedl proposals of different cadres, he added.