Setting a standard for mediocrity

Dear Editor,

There is an embarrassing representation of non-knowledge of the subject contained in the vapid advertisement on page XXXI1 of The Chronicle Pepperpot of April 16, 2017.

The heading reads as follows:

“Ministry of Presidency

Department of the Public Service

Bertram Collins College of Public Service

Career Opportunity”.

Dr. Collins, who was my senior at Queen’s College, would have properly enquired of the misconception that a one year programme, of whatever structure, could be the foundation for 17-20 year olds with basic six CXC subjects becoming Permanent Secretaries by age 40? He would quickly recognise this as setting a standard for mediocrity.

It must demand a quantum leap to imagine these minimal academic achievers developing the management capacity of a Permanent Secretary in, say, another twenty years.

In the same breadth, it must challenge the yet unemployed applicants to evaluate the quality of their own interpersonal skills, while distinguishing these from communication skills (incidentally not evident in the very invitation), and so convince a panel of interviewers, like myself.

Notwithstanding, the imagination is teased into enquiring into the number of Permanent Secretaries and Regional Executive Officers that can be absorbed into the Public Service twenty years from now, as there is no indication yet of the envisaged annual intake into the College.

Meanwhile, it is not too early to contemplate how likely failures of the course will be disposed of.

On the other hand, a little logic would enquire also of the criteria to be used to identify candidates for the high level public service positions referred to, over the next 20 years.

Presumably also, consideration has already been given to the number of vacancies available to absorb ‘College’ graduates from 2018 onwards, and into what positions/grades into the service. Surely one enticement would be the starting pay grade, together with the prospect of timely upward movement that would satisfy career expectations by age 40, as promised.

I really do not mind missing this ‘Career opportunity’ – offered by who must be the only ‘Senior’ Executive Director in the country.

Yours faithfully,

E.B. John