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History of SCC, Bhopal

History

Selection Centre Bhopal was established in October 1975 by relocating 20 SSB & 33 SSB which was earlier located at Jabalpur and was raised on 15 Nov 1960 & 01 Jun 1966 respectively. Subsequently 22 SSB which was first raised and located at Meerut in Nov 1962, and subsequently re-raised at Roorkee in Apr 1971 moved to Bhopal in Mar 1976. The Centre functioned with three Boards till 01 Jun 2003 when a new board, 21 SSB was raised.

The Selection Centre Central is located in the area of Sultania Infantry Lines, Bhopal Military Station which is in close proximity to both Bhopal Junction railway station as well as Raja Bhoj Airport. The Centre is housed in the new KLP accommodation and stands out due to the imposing architectural design of the main building. The Selection Centre today boasts of a completely new infrastructure with modern facilities for the conduct of testing, accommodation, dining and recreational facilities for the candidates.

Organisation

Selection Centre Central, Bhopal comprises of 20, 21, 22 & 33 (Navy) Services Selection Boards. It is headed by an officer of the rank of Major General who is the Commandant of the Centre as also the President of 22 SSB. The boards are posted with Interviewing Officers, Group Testing Officers, Technical Officers and civilian Psychologists from DIPR who carry out holistic assessment of the candidates. Due to an increase in the number of candidates additional assessors are also posted. Currently a new board is being raised in Bhopal which will subsequently be moved to Ropar in Punjab where the new Selection Centre North is planned to be raised.

The General Routine

The routine in the Selection Centre is unique in the sense that the SSBs function without any weekend breaks or holidays in between batches. A selection board will typically function for about twenty five days i.e. five batches at a stretch and thereafter have a break for five or six days. This break is termed as the Board break wherein the missed Sundays and holidays are adjusted. Service officers carry out assessment in civil clothing except for the conference day when uniform is worn.

Reporting of Candidates

The Selection Centre issues detailed joining instructions to the candidates in the form of a ‘call up’ letter. This letter is sent both by post and email. Where mobile numbers are available, candidates are also intimated basic details through SMS. The batches are planned based on total number of applications received from the Recruiting Directorate as also directly through online applications in certain cases of technical entries. The meticulous planning of batches and the calling up of individual candidates is complicated and involves a colossal effort by a team of dedicated staff of the ‘Call Up Office’ at the Selection Centre.

The Schedule of Events

The reporting and dispatch cycle works continuously. The Army bus which carries candidates back to the railway station on completion of a batch also receives and brings back a fresh batch. Arriving candidates are directed to report to the MCO office at the railway station by mid-noon on reaching Bhopal.

The Arrival

On arrival candidates are provided with refreshments, allotted chest numbers and briefed in detail. This is followed by basic documentation.

The Assessment

The Initial Screening

Candidates are put through a screening process which is also known as the Stage I Tests. This practice has been introduced due to substantial increase in number of candidates reporting for SSB. The Stage I Tests include an intelligence or logic test, a picture perception test and an individual narration cum group discussion test. The test ensures that all candidates are given a fair chance to project their capabilities. Those who fulfill the required standards are retained for further assessment.

Psychological Assessment

The SSB schedule commences with the administration of the Psychological tests. Candidates are put through situation reaction, thematic perception, word association and self-description tests which lasts for approximately four hours. The tests are conducted through a computer based process which projects the requirements based on a timed programme.

Group Assessment

The GTO test series are conducted over a period of two days. The tests include group tasks, command tasks, lecture, group discussions, group planning exercise and other outdoor exercises.

The Interview

Each Candidate faces one interview which lasts for approximately forty five minutes. Interview is carried out on any one of the three days.

Conference - The Final Frontier

The final decision regarding selection of the candidate is made during the conference. The conference is carried out on the final day i.e. the fifth day. The candidate having been tested by individual assessors is now evaluated in greater depth. His overall personality profile emerges clearly with the inputs from all three assessors. The result is conveyed to candidates after the conference.

Facilities for the Candidates

For most of the candidates, the SSB is the first contact with the armed forces and life in the uniform. It is therefore the endeavour of the Selection Centre to make it comfortable, interesting and a memorable life time experience. Towards this end many facilities have been made available for the convenience and recreation of candidates. Apart from keeping them engaged, it also helps in de-stressing.

Messing and Accomodation

The candidate Mess is akin to a modern Cadets’ Mess in any premier training institute and attempts at exposing the candidates to norms of collective dining and Mess etiquettes. The Mess has the capacity for 150 candidates dining at any one time. They are authorized full officers’ scale of Army rations.

The cook house has been semi-automated with an automatic roti making machine, potato peeler, wet and masala grinder, atta kneading machine and various other appliances.

Billets

The candidates are accommodated in modern well furnished rooms. It is ensured the candidates have a safe and conducive environment to reside which caters for their essential administrative needs.

Rooms are airy, well lit and fully furnished. They offer a well deserved haven to the candidates after a hectic day of testing.

Staying connected

The candidates are given Internet, printing and telephone facilities to enable them to stay updated and connected to the outside world.

Motivating Young Minds

The motivation hall at the Selection Centre is very informative and especially designed to inspire candidates. Separate displays pertaining to the three services find a place of pride in the motivation hall. Display panels on the wars fought by the country as well as information on gallantry award winners is particularly noteworthy.

The Selection Process

The assessment is based on selected personality traits and qualities designated as officer like qualities (OLQs). These have evolved over a period of time.

Prior to WWII, selection of officers was merely by written exams and interview boards. During the war, written tests were dropped and only interview by the then Central Interview Board was carried out.

The Brief History of evolution of the selection process is as follows:--

Year 1943:- Experimental board set up in Dehradun on line of War Office Selection Boards in the UK. This worked alongside the Central Interview Board and administered intelligence, aptitude, personality tests & practical group situation tests

Year 1948:- Ghosh Committee was appointed to check validity of selection system. It recommended continuation with few improvements with introduction of a research organization. This gave birth to the Psychological & Research Wing (PRW). PRW later developed into the present Directorate of Psychological Research (DIPR).

Year 1950:- Officer quality rating scale was developed by the PRW. Opinions obtained from 167 officers, 38 members of selection boards & members of PRW were analysed & pooled into 187 categories, thereafter condensed into 29 qualities

Year 1956:- Based on more studies, OLQ further condensed to 15 qualities. They have now been grouped into four factors depending upon their inter correlation.

The Philosophy of Assessment

Manasa, vaacha, karmana are three Sanskrit words. The word manasa refers to the mind, vaachaa refers to speech, and karmanaa refers to actions. These three words are together used to describe a state of consistency expected of an individual. Manasa, Vaacha, Karmana is usually invoked to imply that one should strive to achieve the state where one's thoughts, speech and the actions coincide.

It is in accordance with this principle that three different assessors using three different techniques, namely the Psychology (manasa), Interview (vaacha) and GTO (karmana) assess candidates on their qualities. The assessors gauge a candidates present level and thereafter give him a predictive level which he is likely to attain on completion of military training. Those who come up to the required standards based on a rating scale are recommended.

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