The French Civil Service: Bureaucracy in Transition

By Walter Rice Sharp | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V THE PROCEDURE OF EXAMINATION AND APPOINTMENT

" QueenElizabeth required all heads of colleges at Oxford and Cambridge to make an annual report to her of youths under their supervision who should appear to be fitted for the service of the state; and it was well said, by one of that extraordinary constellation of dramatists of her day, before whom almost any statesmen but hers would hide their diminished heads--

'The world is not contracted in a man
'With more proportion and expression
'Than in her court her kingdom.'"
--SIR HENRY TAYLOR, The Statesman.

It is not enough for a country to establish sound general educational pre-requisites for the manning of its public services. The schools may develop fine powers of cultural expression and appreciation, or even scientific abilities, without producing administrative talent. Moreover, whatever potential administrative talent there is may not be effectively discovered by the State as an employer; or, even if discovered, it may not be adequately attracted to government careers. Or, again, the process of selecting this talent may let the mediocre slip in along with the competent. It may even waste talent by demanding a competence disproportionate to the task. The highly important and complex problem of how civil service manpower is to be selected and fitted for specific types of employment, therefore, must now engage our attention. We muss survey critically the whole process of examination, appointment, and probationary training. Such is the province of the present and the two succeeding chapters.

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