Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre

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Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre the chief administrative training institution located at Savar, about 28 kilometers to the north of the capital city, Dhaka. It is primarily responsible for imparting public administration training to civil servants of various levels. The Ministry of Establishment is in overall charge of supervising the activities of the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre (BPATC).

Established in 1984 as an autonomous organisation under provisions made in Ordinance No XXVI of 1984, the BPATC in effect provides for an integrated national training institution in the field of public administration and management. It is headed by a senior secretary to the government who is officially designated as Rector. Immediately below him are five Members Directing Staff holding the rank of joint secretary to the government, each of whom is responsible to look after one of the five functional divisions, namely management and public administration, programme and studies, development and economics, research and consultancy, and projects. The Rector as chief executive has adequate powers to make decisions on day-to-day financial and administrative matters. However, the 12-member Board of Governors, chaired by a minister, provides general policy directions.

The BPATC's charter of duties requires it to perform a wide range of functions. In particular, this training organisation at the national level is specifically assigned the task of equipping public and private sector officials with requisite knowledge and skills in the field of public management and development. To that end the BPATC is constantly engaged in organising programmes to provide foundation training to the fresh recruits of the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) cadres as well as to impart in-service training to mid-level and senior government officials, including those of the public corporations, local authorities and private sector organisations. Its other functions include activities to conduct research on public administration, management and development; to advise the government on specific problems of administration and development; to publish books/periodicals and reports on administration and development; to establish and maintain libraries and reading rooms; and to carry out similar other functions envisaged in the Ordinance. However, the government also may ask the Centre to perform other functions related to training and research in public administration.

The clientele of the BPATC comprise government officials belonging to both cadre and non-cadre services. Their level ranges from the fresh BCS cadre recruits to the top policy managers. The executives of both public and private sectors are also encouraged to participate in its training programmes. Currently, the NGO executives are also showing keen interest in training programmes of the BPATC. Each year the Centre prepares a comprehensive plan for organising training courses, workshops and seminars. The plan is revised every year to incorporate new courses and seminars/workshops in response to the needs of the clientele and the rapidly changing work environment. Its training programmes are classified into two broad types: core courses and short specialised courses. Core courses usually range from 10-16 weeks, while short specialised courses range from 1-4 weeks. The focus of the core courses is on the development of a conceptual and technical base, whereas short specialised courses stress on the development of skills of specific clientele groups. The core courses are designed within the framework of Foundation Training Course, Advanced Course on Administration and Development, and Senior Staff Course.

Four regional centres called Regional Public Administration Training Centres operate under the overall administrative supervision of the BPATC, each at the divisional headquarters of Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna. These centres usually organise skill-based training courses for the support staffs as well as for Class I and Class II officers. Training courses and seminars/workshops for senior officers are organised occasionally at the regional centres. Every year an annual training plan for each of the Regional centres is prepared and distributed to the clientele organisations.

The training functions of the BPATC also include an activity to organise seminars and workshops on both national and international issues. Each participant in the Senior Staff Course and Advanced Course is required to prepare a seminar paper on a specific topic. Similarly, the participants of the foundation courses are also encouraged to prepare and present seminar papers while on training at the BPATC. The faculty members and trainers of the BPATC are always encouraged to undertake research and to conduct case studies in such fields as public administration, management and development economics. Necessary financial and other logistic support is provided to them to carry out these activities. Each year roughly 8 to 10 research works and case studies are conducted by its faculty members. Need-based curricula, empirical reading materials, instructional cases and training methods are developed out of these research and case studies.

Since its inception the BPATC has been pursuing a policy of sending faculty members on deputation for overseas training to many countries, namely the US, UK, Netherlands, France, Germany, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, India, and Pakistan. The specialised areas of such overseas training include public administration, business administration, development economics, human resource management, environment management, project management, financial management, disaster management, rural development, management information systems, geographic information systems, policy analysis, etc. The BPATC also arranges training courses, seminars/workshops and various research programmes in collaboration with both the national and international agencies, including the escap, undp, unicef, ids, iipp, wfp, ilo, and the apdc (Malaysia). Till the mid-1990s foreign study tours by participants in the Senior Staff Course and Advanced Course were organised in collaboration with the slida (Sri Lanka), intan (Malaysia), LAN (Indonesia), PASC (Pakistan), NASC (Nepal), and the IIPA in India. [Syed Naquib Muslim]