Dechen Dolkar

This year’s Bhutan Civil Service Examination (BCSE) saw a notable dip in the pass percentage, falling by 7.64 percent compared to the previous year.

The pass rate stands at 71.94 percent, with 2,014 graduates attempting the exam, contrasting with last year’s 94.03 percent where 1,800 graduates participated.

The Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) cited lower graduate performance as a contributing factor to this decline. Despite the reduction in pass rates, RCSC will recruit 678 new civil servants from January 1, 2024 across various agencies, slightly exceeding the 651 recruited at the start of this year. The results were announced on the RCSC website.

Among the new recruits, 245 graduates will undertake an 18-month Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE). A mandatory pre-employment drug test for eligible graduates will be conducted from December 13 to 15, influencing the selection and appointment process scheduled for December 19.

Candidates securing a rank in the examination must undergo testing at nearby dzongkhag administration, thromde administration offices, or RCSC Secretariat in Tashichhodzong premises. Pre-arranged drug test kits will be available at Nu 300 per kit, payable to the dealing officer before the test.

Failure to produce a negative drug test certificate during the selection and appointment process will result in the position being offered to the next eligible candidate.

RCSC also introduced changes in the categorization of BCSE toppers for a more comprehensive representation of graduates’ performance.

Yeshey Pelden, 23, from Paro, who studied at the College of Natural Resources, topped the administrative services category. She said that she didn’t expect to top the category. However, she was optimistic about passing the exam and being selected. “From my side, I tried my best.”

Sangay Lhendup, 24, from Mongar, who studied at Gedu College of Business Studies, topped the finance services category.

“My dream was to serve as a civil servant from a young age. My dream is fulfilled now,” he said.

Kusal Khandal, 22, from Gelephu, who studied Physics (Honours) at the University of Texas at El Paso, topped the PGDE category. Despite being an overall topper from high school and university and having to appear for exams in different subjects, he wasn’t confident that he would top the category.

Dependra Chapagai, 25, from Tsirang, who studied at AIIMS, New Delhi, topped the technical (MBBS) category. He said that he prepared well for the exam and expressed satisfaction with his performance.

Jamyang Loday, 21, from Trashiyantse, who studied BA in Language and Literature at the College of Language and Cultural Studies, topped the Dzongkha category. Currently serving as a substitute teacher in one of the schools in Thimphu, He said that the result was unexpected for him.

A total of 3,370 graduates registered for the preliminary exam this year, with 2,048 graduates qualified for the main exam.

RCSC also mentioned that Law graduates are eligible for selection and placement into the civil service and judiciary subject upon passing the Preliminary Examination, BCSE 2023 and securing 50 percent and above in both the written examinations and viva voce.

The Royal Court of Justice, the Judiciary of Bhutan, and the RCSC will jointly conduct the selection and placement as per the merit ranking of the common examination.