Change in time calls for significant changes in the working just like how it is happening for the selection process of officers. Indian armed forces are going to opt for a new system of selection for SSB, keeping in mind the requirement of modern military skills. Once approved, the new system of selection will be taken into practice by 2019 which will focus on assessing the new generation better.
The existing Service Selection Board (SSB) has been in action since 1948. This process is a five-day long procedure that involves the selection of the officers via levels of- an interview, group testing and psychological testing of the aspirants.
Candidate, in case, have not passed a UPSC written exam and are still called for the SSB have to take a screening test on the first day and they mandatorily have to qualify in order to move ahead for other tests.
Designed by DRDO’s Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) lab for over five years, the new ‘De Novo Selection System’ will get through the SSB check in three days. Going simultaneously with the existing test, the new system is also going under trail at SSB Bangalore for two years.
The trials in the first year are more likely to focus on sub-systems and then proceed to integration checks in the second year, according to DRDO.
A senior DRDO official informed,“The SSB testing is personality based and not intelligence based. Our aim with the new tests is to reduce the gap between technological development and human skill development. Formal education is not as important for a military officer of the future as the ability to adapt, learn, unlearn and relearn repeatedly and comprehensively. It is about the modern mind, not the traditional mindset”.
“We realise that the period of generational change has shrunk and the type of aspirants now changes dramatically within a decade, unlike earlier. The post-1990 generation is a post-globalisation generation, whose analytical and cognitive abilities have gone up. The level of intellectual propensity is different, so are their expectations, not to forget the changes in the value system,” he added.
A DRDO official who has been part of the development of the new ‘De Novo Selection System’ gave an insight of the reason behind the emergence of a new testing process which happened after a detailed review of the existing selection system.
DIPR carried out the review and analysed its working decade wise for both the assessed and the assesses. The data was used to observe the long-term profile of every officer in his service, which was then compared to the entry-level profile identified during the selection process.
The new system will not only shorten the SSB testing period to three days but will also allow a great number of candidates to participate that will make up for the shortage of around 9,000 officers in the Indian army as per Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar’s reply last month in the Lok Sabha.
According to the senior DRDO official, “New techniques of behavioural testing are now available globally which are being used to automate and refine our system. The proposal has been discussed threadbare with the three services over the last five years when it first went to the Chiefs of Staff Committee for consideration of the three service chiefs. The armed forces have been very supportive and provided constructive feedback for the new system”
DIPR has already designed group testing and psychological testing prototype tests for the interview while developments of more subtests for various entries, training of assessors and creation of infrastructure to be going along are still in progress.
A senior army official told The Indian Express, “It has been ensured that there is no compromise on the quality of candidates being selected and the new selection system if approved by all three services, would help in screening more candidates. This will increase the capacity of SSBs, thereby reducing the deficiencies in the officer cadre and enhancing the satisfaction level”.
The ‘De Novo Selection System’ is subjected to be implemented at all SSBs in 2019 on the basis of the outcome of the trails taken during a parallel run of DIPR’s data will also require the acceptance by the three Defence Services.