Rajib Ahsan's (not real name) dream of getting a government job fades fast.
He missed his last chance, thanks to Covid-19 pandemic, to chase the dream of becoming a Class-1 officer as he went past, in April last, the age limit (30 years) set for the entry into public services.
A severe session jam in his college under the national university ate up his three valuable years while the novel coronavirus outbreak in March took away his last chance as no government job circular was issued since then.
There are thousands of jobseekers, like Rajib, who have also been hit badly either by the coronavirus or the serious session jam in their institutions.
More than 32 lakh students study under-graduation and post-graduation courses under the National University that produces about five lakh graduates and post-graduates every year.
All of them are victims of session jams. Besides, some students from public universities also face session jams. They also lose much time and are now unable to apply for government jobs.
Against this backdrop, the voices for increasing the age limit for the entry into government jobs from 30 years to at least 32 years have become louder.
As per the existing rules, jobseekers are allowed to apply for a government job until 30 years although the maximum age for children or grandchildren of freedom fighters is 32 years.
Besides, candidates from specially-able and ethnic minority groups enjoy concessions to the age ceiling too.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Chhatra Parishad and Bangladesh General Chhatra Parishad have been demanding, since 2012, an increase in the age limit to job entry to 35 years.
They say many students are losing their academic times due to session jams and other socio-economic problems. So, a good number of students are not able to prepare themselves for the most competitive government jobs.
Md Al Amin, founder president of Chhatra Parishad, told The Business Standard that the students from the graduation level are worst affected by the session jam. Even, the students of seven affiliated colleges with Dhaka University are now facing at least a three-year session jam. Now, coronavirus will waste more times.
He said, "The age limit for entry into government jobs is above 35 in 160 countries. Even in some states of India, it is more than 35 years. Why is it limited to 30 years in Bangladesh?
"In fact, students in Bangladesh have to face more challenges than those in other countries."
Amirul Islam Selim, who graduated from Dhaka College, told this correspondent that it is the government's ethical responsibility to enhance the job age limit.
"We are deprived of the opportunity to compete for new jobs. So, the government should consider it," he said, adding that he lost 18 days, due to coronavirus, from his opportunity to apply for public jobs.
Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) recruits Class I and II officers for public services. The government offices under respective ministries issue circulars and appoint employees for Class III and IV posts.
For the last time, the BPSC issued a job circular on December 31, 2019. It advertised for the 41st Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) on November 27 but the preliminary test is yet to be held.
The constitutional organisation has recently published results of the 38th BCS and some partial results for a few recruitment tests after December 31 but most of the exams have been put on the back burner.
Under the present circumstances, it will take time to complete the recruitment process for the posts advertised earlier. So, the government is considering the jobseekers' issue.
Farhad Hossain, state minister for the public administration ministry, told The Business Standard that many jobseekers' age has already ended.
"We will request the prime minister to grant a chance for those who have lost scopes to attend the government job tests whose circulars were scheduled from March to December this year," he said.
"We will relax the age restriction for the job aspirants who are victims of coronavirus but we will not increase the age limit for the entry into government jobs," he added.