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Tuesday, 25 October 2016 17:09
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Cooperation between Vietnam and Laos on training leadership and management officials

(LLCT) - Throughout Vietnam’s history of international relations, the country has maintained a particularly unique connection with Laos, a loyal, clear, and effective alliance between two nations struggling for independence, freedom, and social progress. Over the course of this relationship, Vietnam and Laos have achieved significant results on cooperation in training leadership and management officials. However, a number of problems must still be overcome.    

1. Considering the mechanism of cooperation on training leadership and management officials

In observing the cooperation between Vietnam and Laos’s training programs for leadership and management officials, it is clear that the demand for training overshadows the programs’ capacity. Although Vietnam and Laos have signed cooperative documents demonstrating clear guidelines and policies, difficulties have arisen concerning perspectives on training cooperation, the progress in setting up projects and programs, and concrete plans for action. At the moment, Vietnam and Laos have not yet formulated a mechanism for coordination between the two Parties and the two Party Organization Commissions, which would provide training courses in leadership and management for officials and determine the objectives, requirements, and profession skills necessary for training and studying. The coordination mechanism is not yet clear in such issues as policies and guidelines, objectives, and cooperative protocols. Therefore, coming to an agreement between the two sides on a number of technical problems is necessary to expand the scale and improve the quality of cooperative training programs, a necessity compounded by the demands of stakeholders to produce assessments of progress over each period of training.

Besides, inefficient enrolment process has negatively impacted the leadership and management training programs for Vietnamese and Laotian officials. For instance, the short deadline period or late information may be a burden for both officials in preparing their curriculum vitae and necessary documents and agencies in making decisions about approving officials to join training courses. Enrolment has a direct influence on the efficiency of training cooperation between officials of Vietnam and Laos. If the enrolling process is efficient, agencies and organizations may consider and nominate officials who have good qualities, abilities, and potentials for appropriate training courses in a timely fashion. The organizations announcing recruitment opportunities, and particularly officials in charge of recruitment, should be experts in training cooperation and officials in leadership and management between Vietnam and Laos so that their candidates may feel confident in related procedures and policies.

2. Regarding training programs

The training programs for Laotian officials use standard Vietnamese practices as they have yet developed their own training materials. This causes a number of difficulties in the process of teaching practical knowledge specific to Laos. Moreover, the socio-economic situations of the two countries differ greatly, so a common theory in Vietnam may have lead to wildly different applications in Laos. If a training program for Laotian officials can be formulated, it will offer greater opportunities for students in their studies and works in the future.

In addition, field trips for Laotian students are not well prepared, especially with weaknesses in the selection of appropriate reference sites, leading to ineffective programs. Field trip activities are more inclined to sightseeing than exchange or immersion activities. Currently, experience-based lessons drawn from reality, value models, and practical activities have not yet been designed for Laos.

It should be understood that field trips allow students to have a thorough grasp of politics, socio-economy, security, and social order as well as the lines and policies of the Party and laws of the State in different localities. Therefore, students can be made aware of strong and weak points of policies implemented in grassroots levels and how local officials generally deal with problems of putting a theory into practice.

Field trip activities should be diversified; for instance, collaboration with localities and arranging students to attend conferences or workshops held by local organizations. In addition, it is important to make full use of local support during field trips, without which it is impossible for training organizations to realize their objectives with ever-increasing demand. Therefore, research content should be discussed with local leaders before the field trip so they may carefully prepare training courses and reports.

3. Regarding the policies for officials attending the training courses

In general, preferential treatments for officials attending training courses in the Vietnam - Laos cooperation program have not been sufficient enough to attract a large number of officials from the two countries.

On the side of Vietnam, there is no specific policy for its officials attending training courses in Laos; participants join the programs in Laos through separated directives, and the total number of participants is relatively small in comparison with ones attending programs in other South East Asian countries. Regulations on preferential treatment play an important role for officials attending training courses in Laos and create a motivation for them to study. Only by improving studying conditions and ensuring their living, through suitable policies can the officials in these training courses overcome their personal difficulties, their dependence on their family’s economic support, and focus fully on their studies.

Suitable and effective policies for officials attending training courses in Laos are prime contributors to the success of training officials in leadership and management. Studying throughout one’s life, and indeed, studying as an entire society plays an indispensable role in the development of each individual, family, and community. As for civil servants, consistent study should be considered compulsory, particularly in the current process of national industrialization, modernization, and international integration. However, reality has shown that many officials are not qualified for their posts and tend to be resisted to study or study without motivation for improvement. This situation, and these attitudes, stem from many causes, one being the current unsatisfactory policies regarding training programs for officials.    

There are few policies that support Vietnamese students studying in Laos, all of which have fallen short of the demand for studies and accommodation in Laos and have negatively influenced training results. Although there have been some recent improvements in policies, there remain many real obstacles for officials. Formulating and implementing effective policies to assist eligible officials and civil servants to fulfil their duties, including those of study and skill improvement, must be a priority for legislature. Relevant agencies, industries, and organizations should make timely analysis, adjustment and supplemental policies that help officials meet the requirements of study.

On the side of Laos, policies and regulations about accommodations and travel allowances for officials have not yet met the demand of present studies. Officials who are working for the political system and sent to study overseas, particularly young and potential leaders, have a very low salary and cannot support themselves, let alone their families, on top of their studies. Therefore, amendments to policies related to the allowances of officials and leaders are necessary. Additionally, officials may be encouraged and motivated in their studies by using incentives, including rewards and promotions, based on study records as a reference of performance assessments.

4. Regarding determinations of the training demand and evaluating the results of training programs

Training demand is the need to improve individuals’ and organizations’ skill and knowledge. Such demand can be fulfilled by education and training. Thus, the training demand for leadership and management officials in the political system is attached to training objectives in order to meet the standards, skills, and professionalism expected of dutiful officials. Determining the training demand is to analyze the differences and gaps between officials’ current capabilities and desired ones as the requisites of their titles and positions, in order to find out appropriate training curriculum and methods. Also, the training demand is closely related to personnel planning and management, as well as the demand for officials in agencies.

Effective programs should, lastly, carry out assessments of the training methods used on its participants and of the participants themselves. The content of these assessments should include evaluations of each student in accordance with objective criteria. Study records should be taken of basic knowledge on administration, politics and science, leadership science, prediction capability, and strategic vision. Spirit, morality and the capacity to apply theory to reality should be measured in some form. Additionally, the suitability of the training program in meeting the demands of its students must be identified.

There is currently no survey to evaluate the efficiency of training programs or the success of participants after graduation. Surveys are invaluable tools to assess quality and efficiency, which may produce positive effects on the training of leadership and management and the cooperation between Vietnamese and Laotian officials. Without these feedback mechanisms, it is difficult to make adjustments to leadership and management training programs in accordance with practical requirements.

The purpose of surveying and evaluating post-training programs is to enhance the quality of training and observe its success. This is considered an essential component of managing these programs and is also a way to determine the level of demands met by the training programs, offering valuable feedback necessary to improve the quality and efficiency of training activities.

 

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Dinh Ngoc Giang

MA. Le Thi Minh Ha

Institute of Party Building

Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics

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