NTS Hiring Issues
The National Testing Service (NTS) and Balochistan Testing Service (BTS) were thrust into the spotlight for claims of fraudulent behavior by a parliamentary panel on communication in 2016, according to The Express Tribune.
The representative of the Senate standing committee, Senator Muhammad Daud Khan Achakzai, questioned how much of the hiring responsibilities have been forced onto the NTS by the Establishment Division, rather than remaining with the differing government branches who need employees. Senators agreed that charging unemployed people a large fee was concerning.
Senator Achakzai said the hiring process has become NTS’s responsibility and all the government organizations do is advertise jobs. He notes that many applicants who pay the fees are told they did not qualify when they follow up with the NTS, says The Express Tribune.
The NTS is not meant to shepherd employees through the hiring process, but only provide a test to show they are qualified.
Another senator, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, noted that the NTS collects the fee, of Rs1,000 or a little more, but did not call candidates for interviews or testing. A huge discrepancy between collected fees and available job posts plagues the NTS. At one point, 22,000 applicants applied for the same set of jobs, not knowing there were only four open positions.
Senator Kulsom Parveen is blunter. He says, “NTS is a fraud.”, and the public doesn’t know who created, or regulates, the NTS.
A letter to the editor discusses similar issues as the senators mentioned above, but gives some possible solutions. With many testing services being implemented, such as the Pakistan Testing Service (PTS) and Open Testing Service (OTS), they may not be as helpful as expected because of a lack of transparency and objectiveness. For the millions of unemployed people these tests may be unaffordable and keep them from gaining employment.
Like Senator Kulsom Parveen the author of the letter says a system of checks and balances needs to be put in place by the state. Rather than rely on an outside source to administer these tests, the government should pair with the Higher Education Commission to create its own system. Furthermore, financial help from the government for the unemployed may help a lot of people get back in the workforce, increase productivity of Pakistan, and over time, reduce strain on the government.
While the government figures out these issues, here are some ways these tests can help companies find good applicants.
The OTS is useful for looking beyond the paper application to real-world job skills. While applicants may be academically gifted it can be harder to measure critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so these areas are targeted by the OTS.
Change is slow, but with better tracking these tests can be used to improve the Pakistan workforce and education system.