Training Institutions

Training Institutions the institutions, both public and private, which provide training to its employees at times referred to as participants in training programmes. These participants in case of public organisations, usually belong to government ministries/departments and other government offices. These offices nominate their officers and staff to relevant training institutions for training in their respective fields of operation. The purpose is to make these officers more productive in terms of output and management. The object of training is also to reorient the participants to desired directions under changed conditions. For example, the typewriter generation of operators can be oriented to computer generation by training.

Training as a means of improving performance may be understood or approached in a variety of ways. One of such ways is a systems approach using such variables as 'inputs', 'throughputs' and 'outputs', ie participants, processes and products are the three crucial elements involved in training interventions. Training specialists have referred to three phases in the training process: (i) pre-training (realisation calling for more effective performance); (ii) training (acquiring or increasing knowledge, skills and values to perform more effectively on the job); (iii) post-training (going back on the job to perform as expected). These processes may be conceptualised as independent variables (organisations, participants), intervening variables (training institutions) and dependent variables (different participant behaviour) and expected organisational effectiveness.

The training institutions are supposed to provide needed inputs of knowledge, skills and values. If properly imparted, these inputs are most likely to lead to different participant behaviours being modified into expected participant behaviour upon return to work. Whether or not, all these suppositions actually lead to improved performance by participants (ie, trained human resource) is a matter to be verified.

There were attempts at training government officials in ancient civilisations like Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian (c 100 AD). The scribes in the Egyptian empire (3100-2200 BC) were trained by civil servants. The Chinese philosopher Confucius (c 551-479 BC), the Greek philosopher Plato (428-347 BC) and the Indian Kautilya (c 324-248 BC) underscored the crucial aspects of educating public officials including aim of life, primary duties, purpose of education, subjects/curricula and training methods. In modern India, Governor General lord wellesley (1798-1805) for the first time introduced the system of training for the members of the civil service.

The system of training for the civil servants as developed under the British had continued down to the end of British rule and subsequently to Pakistan and even to Bangladesh times. The Civil Services Academy in Lahore appeared as the central training institute for Pakistan. In the 1960s, two rural academies, one at Comilla and the other at Peshawar, and three National Institutes of Public Administration (NIPA) in Dhaka, Lahore and Karachi were set up with USAID assistance.

With the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971, training received a further fillip as large number of government officers had to be employed and trained to meet growing needs of a new administration. The Gazetted Officers' Training Academy (GOTA) of the then East Pakistan was developed into Civil Officers' Training Academy (COTA). NIPA in Dhaka was kept with more diversification of its activities. An Administrative Staff College was added to the training system in 1977. In 1984, all these three training institutions ie COTA, NIPA, and the Staff College were combined into bangladesh public administration training centre (BPATC) at Savar, Dhaka. In addition, four Regional Public Administration Training Centres were created at the then four divisional headquarters at Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshahi for non-class I officers and staff.

BPATC is responsible for three levels of training, such as (i) Foundation course at junior level (eg assistant secretary); (ii) Advanced course on administration and development at mid level (eg deputy secretary); (iii) Senior staff course at senior level (eg joint secretary). Attendance on the foundation course is a pre-condition for promotion to mid level. Training in these courses is imparted primarily through the lecture method. More participatory approaches are relatively rare.

Although there are training institutions for non-officers or staff, the thrust of all training institutions seems to be on the training of officers, not staff or non-officers. There are about 325 public administration training institutions in Bangladesh of which only 25 are identified as key institutions. These are Academy for Planning and Development, bangladesh academy for rural development, bangladesh civil service administration academy, Bangladesh Cooperative Academy, Bangladesh Custom Excise and VAT Training Academy, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, Central Extension Resources Development Institute, Directorate of Training Academy, Financial Management Academy, Food Department Training Institute, Foreign Services Academy, Judicial Administration Training Institute, Land Administration Training Centre, Livestock Officers Training Institute, National Academy for Education Management, National Academy for Primary Education, National Institute of Mass Education, National Institute of Population Research and Training, National Institute of Preventive of Social Medicine, National Social Services Academy, Police Academy, Postal Academy, Railway Training Academy, Rural Development Academy and Telecommunication Staff College.

Foundation course' This course is a required course for all class I officers, viz the BCS officers of the 29 cadres. Usually, the BCS officers, after selection into their respective cadres like education, health, and administration are supposed to undergo the foundation course at BPATC. For administrative reasons, all newly appointed BCS officers could not be sent to BPATC immediately after their joining the service. But all such officers are required to attend the foundation course before they take up their first posting. The foundation course is composed of subjects on which officers should have adequate understanding before they begin their career.

Advanced course on administration and development (ACAD) This is a mid career level course intended for deputy secretaries and equivalent officers. Like the foundation course, ACAD too is a residential months long course and held at BPATC campus. The curriculum is of two and a half months organised on three modules, ie public administration; development economics; and miscellaneous subjects including English, computer training and extension lectures.

Senior staff course (SSC) This is intended for joint secretary and equivalent levels. Like the foundation and ACAD, all courses including the SSC are residential and a course of 2.5 months. Each senior staff course is framed on a particular theme of national importance. Each participant prepares a paper on agreed concern which is presented to the entire class with two more senior officers (additional secretary/ secretary level) grading it.

The key training institutions are supposed to use a variety of training methods including exercises, case studies, field visits and role-plays. The overwhelming majority of training, however, is delivered through lectures. Of the 140 or so sessions on the foundation course, 116 were lectures. 32 days of 58-day ACAD were taken up by lectures. The senior staff course brochure does not give any figure for lectures, but calls it substantial. However, after each lecture, some questions and comments are allowed, although briefly, giving the sessions a participatory look.

A large number of participant trainees are represented by primary teacher training institutions. Other institutions provide extension training and workshop facilities for members of the public involved in socio-economic projects. So the non-key institutions also serve key functions ie training non-officer members of the public. So training should not only be given to officers, but also to members of the public who are increasingly being involved in government sponsored projects throughout the country. The project committee is an example in point. There is then, a case for 'training for all' including especially members of the family, male and female. It is important that these institutions be classified according to the functional ministries/divisions/or functional areas.

As the largest number of training institutions is represented by the primary teacher institutes, it would be reasonable to assume that the government attaches most attention to primary level training. This is most understandable that in view of the educational backwardness of Bangladesh, the proper place to put the training emphasis is the primary education. If the primary education has the best-trained teachers, it would most likely be able to produce the best students. This emphasis would need to be not only continued, but improved in quality and quantity.

NGO training institutions' All NGO projects, when launched, give some kind of training to their field staff. The permanent staff also receive training. BRAC is now the largest organisation for giving training to NGO staff. Training about non-formal education and poverty alleviation constitute the major areas for NGO training. [M Anisuzzaman]