With the advent of the welfare state the nature and scope of functions of public administration in various countries have undergone a phenomenal change. The overall philosophy of governance has transformed towards some sort of collaboration among the governmental agencies, private market and the civil society organisations. The civil servants today are not expected to be the “provider” of goods and services rather they have to play a “facilitative and enabling” role in creating an environment in which various state and non-state actors could provide these services to the citizens. In developing countries citizens are slowly getting empowered and becoming active partners in governance. In such a scenario the role of civil servants is to “serve” the citizens and not “rule” them as was the case when they were ruled by the foreign powers.
The civil servants in these countries were once a means to perpetuate the interests of colonial powers but now they are expected to be “change agents” who have to be accountable, responsive and transparent in their functioning. It is not that the civil servants face a formidable task in developing countries only. In developed countries also they face lot of challenges, the biggest being to sustain the momentum of growth which these countries have maintained over a period of time. The recent global economic financial crisis demonstrates that no country in world, howsoever developed it may be, could afford to bear any kind of laxity in regulatory administration. Even in developed countries after this crisis unemployment has posed a serious danger before the administration. Other challenges such as global warming and rapidly depleting energy resources demonstrate that the public administrations of different countries, whether developed or developing, have to be geared up in terms of augmenting its capabilities for strategic planning and implementation to face these challenges in future. For this to happen capacity building of civil servants has to be done through proper training.
Meaning of Training
Training is defined as the “process” of developing skills, habits, knowledge and attitudes in employees for the purpose of increasing the effectiveness of employees in their present government positions as well as preparing them for further positions. Thus training augments the competence of the employees thus helping the organisation in pursuing its objectives. Training is a continuous process and does not end at the time of induction training. The civil servants are to be trained from time to time to keep them equipped with latest skill, knowledge and moulding their attitude in tune with the changing needs of the organisation.
Objectives of Training
According to Nigro “The function of training is to help employees grow, not only from the standpoint of mechanical efficiency but also in terms of the broad outlook and perspective which public servants need”. Training equips civil servants for higher positions in government where greater competence is needed. The British Committee on the Training of Civil Servants, 1944, mentions five main aims of training:
- Attainment of precision and clarity in the transaction of business
- Adjustment to the changing socio-economic needs of country
- Developing broader vision of administration instead of departmental parochialism
- Understanding the new task and preparing for the future challenge
- Making the routine tasks more interesting
The National Training Policy, 1996 of India mentions the following objectives of training :
- Enhancing professional knowledge and skills needed for better performance of individuals and organisations
- Sensitisation to professional, socio-economic and political environment in which work is performed
- Bringing about right attitudinal change in the civil servants
The above analysis makes it clear that the training of civil servants should focus on :
- Responsiveness to the challenging democratic needs
- Commitment to democratic values, concept of partnership and participative decision making
- Awareness of technological, economic and social developments
- Accountability to ensure high performance in every professional field Principles of Training
The following principles should be the basis of a sound training programme :
- Designed to achieve pre-determined objectives
- Developed for all classes of employees
- Pre-planned and well organised
- According to size, nature and financial position of the concern
- Conducted by an experienced supervisor
- Coverage of theoretical as well as practical aspects
- Interests of executives and employees
- More than one method
- Training followed by reward
- Sufficient time for practice
Types of Training
Training can be of many types. Factors such as target group of training whether it is individual or a group, place of training whether on the job or off the job and nature whether specialized or general are some of the deciding issues in deciding the type of training. There are following types of training:
- Formal Training – It consists of classroom lectures, seminars, debates and discussions. Formal training can be full time or part, pre-entry or post entry in nature.
- Pre-entry Training – Educational qualifications which make a candidate eligible to apply for civil services is called pre-entry training. It prepares the individual for subsequent public service. Detailed pre-entry training programmes exist in countries such as USA in the form of internships before actually taking a job.
- Orientation Training – It is exposure of the newly recruited candidates to the organisation and its environment. The candidates are told about the job content and are geared up to take the new assignments.
- In service Training – It is the training which a serving civil servant has to undergo. It may be either formal or informal in content.
There exist following types of techniques of training :
- Lecture Method – It is one of the most traditional methods of training. Post lecture debates, discussion, seminars etc. make this type of training more effective.
- Syndicate Method – In this system topics are assigned to various small groups and are asked to study those topics in detail under the guidance of some supervisors.
- Case Study Method – Experienced persons tell the actual working conditions in field along with the problems involved to the trainees. Discussions and debates also take place on the cases presented.
- Incidence Method – It is a problem solving approach which seeks to develop decision making skills in the trainees. Trainees are asked to write the solutions & debate over it when some problems are assigned to them. This enhances the problem solving skills of trainees.
- Role Play and Management Games – It is a demonstrative training in which trainees are asked to play roles related to their jobs. After this trainees are required to do discussion about the various roles played by them.
- Sensitivity Training – It enable “attitude conditioning” of civil servants to mould their behaviour according to the changing socio-economic conditions. It makes them aware of their character traits while behaving with others. It results in self analysis and improvement of the trainees.
Agencies for Training
As already mentioned the effectiveness of the civil services of a country depends upon the quality of its human resources which in turn depends upon the kind of training they are receiving. Thus the agencies which impart training to the civil servants have to be extra cautious in their approach. Following different types of channels can give training to the civil servants:
- Senior officers may train their juniors
- Specialised institutes may conduct training
- Civil servants may be sent to the outside domestic or foreign institutes for training
In India the Department of Personnel and Training is responsible for the training of IAS officers and conducting the Foundation Course of All India and Central Civil Services. Different Ministries also have their own set ups for training the civil servants which work under them. The various training institutes responsible for training in India are Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie; National Police Academy, Hyderabad; National Academy of Direct Taxes, Nagpur; Foreign Service
Weaknesses Related to the Training Programmes of Civil Servants
- Lack of Awareness about Training Programmes – Many a times the senior officers those in charge of the various departments are not aware of the needs of suitable training programmes for the civil servants. Due to this proper training programmes are not devised. Even if they are devised the civil servants at lower positions do not know about them.
- Lack of Training Facilities – The number of standard training institutes is quite less in large countries like India. Further good training facilities are available for some of the services at higher level but those at the lower levels do not have much training infrastructure.
- Lack of qualified trainers – There is a dearth of trainers in the training institutes. A good trainer should have relevant knowledge, skills, experience of actual working in field and good communication skills. However to get all these qualities at one place becomes a very difficult task.
- Lack of good Training Material – Good quality training materials consisting of audio-visual equipments, material for case studies, role playing situations etc are in short supply. Lack of training material could drastically reduce the effectiveness of training programmes.
- Sometimes training programmes reflect archaic mindsets which do not reflect ground realities. For example in India despite the rapid technological and scientific advancement there is no emphasis on building domain expertise in the training programmes of IAS.
- In mid-career training programmes, often there is no performance evaluation. They are taken simply as “paid holidays”.
- A large number of civil servants perform quasi-judicial functions in countries like India, still “administrative law” does not get due emphasis in the training programmes.
- Academic institutes are not always able to devise training programmes with academic and practical inputs. Theoretical knowledge has to be told in the context of practical realities.
- Often monitoring the effectiveness of various training programmes is not done. For example, in India though National Training Policy has been laid down in 1996 still there is no mechanism to monitor whether its various points are being adhered to or not.
- Often the cutting edge level bureaucracy remains untouched by training. Even if some avenues exist there is no incentive in doing it.