The External Examiner to the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Professor Emmanuel Dandaura of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), has disclosed that the shift in the content of the promotion examination questions for staff of the Institute was informed by the counsel received from Management and other relevant stakeholders as well as the need for officers to be acquainted with rules and ethics of the federal civil service.
Prof. Dandaura who spoke to NICO News in a telephone interview at the end of the exercise on Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, said that unlike previous years where candidates were tested on communication skills and general knowledge, the 2018 promotion examination was based strictly on Public Service Rules and professional questions.
In his words, this time around, we thought we should concentrate purely on public service questions and also professional questions, based on the counsel from management and stakeholders. Particularly for those who are going to enter the directorate cadre, it has become necessary for us to test their knowledge of government policies as well as public service rules because anybody who aspires to be a director ought to be very conversant with them”.
“Also being in the directorate cadre means you are in the pool and you need to know a little about virtually every section, so we deliberately focused on those two areas, particularly for the directorate cadre. So as you belong to the family of the federal civil service, you should equally know those rules because ethics have become more important these days so these are among the few factors that informed the slight adjustment”.
According him, the civil service in Nigeria is currently structured with top priority placed on professionalism, which explains the need to focus the attention of NICO staff on professional issues where they would be well grounded. This is not just in the area of culture but also in their various professions to ascertain the level of their competitiveness with their colleagues in the other organizations.
Speaking further, Prof. Dandaura gave assurance over the integrity of the entire examination process which took place simultaneously in seven (7) centres across the federation. He said in terms of preparation, security and sanctity of examination materials, there was no influence from the establishment to determine the kind of questions to be asked as it has always been the tradition.
“Talking about integrity, we are assured of it. The question papers were sent to the coordinators in the morning of the examination day at about 7am. So there was no possibility of anybody having access to any of the ccoordinators' e-mail addresses in other to access the questions, to circulate them to possible candidates. At our own end, it is not a process that involves too many people. I personally oversee the entire process of setting the examination questions. The same applies to the marking. So again, it is water-tight as far as that aspect of the process is concerned”.
Similarly speaking, the representative of the Office of Head of Service of the Federation (OHSF), Mr. Nebo Innocent, who witnessed the conduct of the exercise at the Institute’s Head Office in Abuja-FCT, observed that the indeed the exam was made up of three components ranging from Public Service Rules, professional aspect and general knowledge. He attested to the fact that the issues raised by candidates last year were addressed. The examination inclined more on the public service.
In his words, “From my observations last year, I made the examiner to understand the areas he is supposed to dwell on and I think they have met the standard this time. This exam is a test of the knowledge of what you do in the office everyday”.
On whether there should have been areas of focus for the candidates to concentrate their preparation ahead of the exam, Mr. Nebo said promotion examinations in the federal civil service have standards such that it will not be possible to let the candidates know the areas the questions will come from.
Media Assistant to Ag. ES