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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 15:24
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Renew the training and fostering activities for cadres and civil servants in Vietnam today

(LLCT) - To enhance the quality and efficiency of training and fostering activities for cadres and civil servants in Vietnam today - in order to train a clean, strong, professional, and modern contingent of cadres and civil servants - it is necessary to continue to research the comprehensive and synchronous renewal of our country and review the awareness, procedures, program content, training, and fostering methods we use. We must also review the organizational structure of the training, keeping in mind the recent changes including: consolidation, re-organization of the system of training and fostering facilities, and decentralization of management. Important steps that still need to be taken include building up of a contingent of lecturers, a review of mechanisms of financial management, and prioritizing international cooperation in the training and fostering of cadres and civil servants.

Keywords: training, training cadres, civil servants.  

Currently, Vietnam is striving to “Continuing to renovate and restructure the political system apparatus for effective and efficient operation in conformity with the socialist-oriented market economy institutions with the aim of enhancing the Party’s leadership, raising the effectiveness and efficiency of the State’s management and operational quality of the Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, and promoting the people’s role as masters. Combine staff reduction with restructuring and improving the quality and effectively using the contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees, cutting down current expenditures and reforming salary policy”(1). In this context, it is necessary to do research on the comprehensive renewal of training and retraining activities for cadres and civil servants.

1. Renew the awareness on the functions of training and fostering for cadres and civil servants

We must renew our awareness of the function of training and fostering of cadres and civil servants, changing our core message from “for the purpose of human management” to “for work and quality and the effectiveness of public service”. Training and fostering cadres and civil servants is not only for meeting the standards set by managers (although these standards are partly for work), but also for enhancing the capacity in the performance of their assigned duties and tasks. Accordingly, it is necessary to separate the function of “training” and “fostering”, as shown in the Decree No. 101/ND-CP dated September 1, 2017 of the Government. Training cadres and civil servants for academic degrees should be done only for those who are highly qualified and are in accordance with human resource development planning. Fostering good party members is the regular task of organizations, and the participation in fostering courses to improve the capacity of task performance is the right and responsibility of cadres and civil servants. Fostering activities focus on updating new knowledge and equipping cadres with skills and methods to perform tasks and public duties. Thus, there are often short-term fostering courses done in a positive way that keeps learners and their work at the center.

Attention should be paid to the professional skills and the civil service ethics of cadres and civil servants. Ethics are the determining factor of the dedication of cadres and civil servants to both organizations and people. In designing and developing the program, there should be courses on civil service ethics which are specifically designed to be independent or integrated with other courses, which will diversify the methods of fostering civil service ethics.

Autonomy should be assigned to the heads of agencies, units, and localities directly managing and employing cadres and civil servants to ensure the active, timely, and adaptive characteristics of cadres and civil servants in the changes of the civil service. Agencies, units, and localities will decide on the content of the training program for cadres and civil servants based on the needs of fostering civil service performance skills of cadres and civil servants. In addition to the generally applied program, depending on each ministry, branch, and locality, their training facilities will develop their own modules suitable for their practical situations.

We must create mechanisms and conditions for cadres and civil servants to be active in selecting training programs suitable to their current work needs; this can be accomplished by diversifying training programs for different subjects giving more choice to students. These different programs should include: induction training programs for cadres and civil servants who are newly recruited or transferred to new working environments, allowing them to get acquainted with their work; basic fostering programs for cadres and civil servants to adapt to their work; supplementary advanced programs helping cadres and civil servants to have their best performance as possible at work; extended fostering programs facilitating cadres and civil servants to undertake tasks beyond their regular tasks and duties and to enable them to do relevant work when necessary; and continued fostering programs not only relevant to the current work of cadres and civil servants but that enhance their capacity for the future.

2. Renewing procedures of training and fostering for cadres and civil servants

The development of training and fostering procedures in a scientific manner is of great significance, contributing to directly ensuring the quality and efficiency of training and fostering. If the appropriate and suitable procedures and the quality and efficiency of the training and fostering will be improved, and vice versa, the quality and efficiency of this task will not be guaranteed if the procedures are inappropriate. Scientific fostering procedures require the 4 following components: 1) identification of training and fostering needs; 2) development of a training and fostering plan; 3) Implementation of the training and fostering plan; and 4) Evaluation of the training and fostering.

We must identify training needs to answer key questions such as: what knowledge and skills are needed for job positions? What necessary knowledge and skills do cadres and civil servants currently have? What necessary knowledge and skills do cadres and civil servants lack? In order to do this evaluation, it is necessary to be aware of the needs of learners before developing programs and materials; even when programs and materials are compiled in accordance with surveyed needs, lecturers, during their lectures, need to further understand learners’ needs in order to direct the discussions and exchanges towards the set goal of “filling the gaps” in learners’ capacity.

During the current renovation of the training and fostering process, attention should be paid to the evaluation of the training and fostering quality, which is the identification of the level that the training and fostering goal set previously, helping managers of training and fostering facilities to make appropriate decisions on improving the training and fostering work. Quality assessments of the fostering helps to answer the following basic questions: 1) how have training and fostering activities provided, supplemented, and enhanced the knowledge and skills related to the work of cadres and civil servants? 2) How have training and fostering activities made changes to the attitude and behavior of cadres and civil servants in their work? 3) Have training and fostering activities helped cadres and civil servant improve their capacity and efficiency during work? The answers to these questions will help managers and training facilities to make appropriate adjustments to continuously enhance the quality and efficiency of training and fostering.

3. Renew the program content of training and fostering for cadres and civil servants

It is necessary to clearly identify two levels of renovating training and fostering program: 1) Renew the system of training programs and 2) Renew the structure and content of each training program for each specific subject. Accordingly, we must renovate the program in a selective, practical, and appropriate manner in terms of subjects and targets of the training program and also minimize common knowledge and classical knowledge while increasing the guidance on new skills, experience, and knowledge. We must design and build the training program for cadres and civil servants in an integral and connected manner between fostering programs. In this way, cadres and civil servants are given maximum opportunities to study all their lives along with their promotion process. Specifically, they are able to attend orientation and initial training, basic training, enhanced training, expanded training, and updated training. Depending on the grades they earn, all of these 5 training stages have different program designs but still have close connections between each other, with latter stages supplementing former ones. Training courses should be designed and integrated with practical credits at workplaces such as government offices, enterprises, NGOs or overseas training credits.  

There should be regulations on the activities of training facilities in terms of training and fostering programs for leaders and managers. Facilities assigned with the task of training leaders and managers should meet standard conditions of modernly-equipped material facilities; the contingent of lecturers should have good qualifications and senior experiences in leadership and management; training programs should be highly competitive with certified quality and ranked by highly-credited independent organizations.

The renewal of training programs should ensure the connection between programs, avoiding any overlap between programs and of courses within each program. We must organize research and compile information about fostering programs on public service morality and professional morality, closely integrating this information with each type of public service activity. We must also enhance compilation of short-term fostering programs to update and increase knowledge and skills based on demands and on-the-job training programs.

Renewal of training and fostering programs should be accompanied by clearly identified subjects based on the research to build appropriate content and programs as well as to meet new requirements. It is particularly practical for the system of training programs on political theories today. The problem is together with identifying the role of training programs on mid-level and high-level political theories, it is necessary to research, compile, and supplement a system of fostering programs according to the standards of cadres and civil servants’ job titles as stipulated in Decree No. 101/2017/ND-CP dated September, 1st 2017 by the Government.

We must define the “content” of knowledge that cadres and civil servants need to know. This information can be classified into 3 groups: 1) Knowledge that “should be known” is supplemental knowledge which learners can study on their own or should have learned before training programs begin; 2) Knowledge that “needs to be known” is what lecturers can recommend and introduce to learners for research to expand their understanding as well as more effectively supporting their public service; 3) Knowledge that “has to be known” is what has to be included in courses of training and fostering for cadres and civil servants. This is essential knowledge and skills needed to carry out assigned tasks in a precise, adequate, and effective manner.

Program content should be updated and practical, finding a balance between theory and practice and integrating all lessons with practical jobs assigned to learners fitting the jobs they are expected to take up in the near future. We should develop a plan of training and fostering by following these four steps: study the reality; evaluate the demand of training and fostering; build training content; and organize the implementation. Meeting the training and fostering demand of each cadre and civil servant should be appropriate and connected with the development goals of their agencies and units. From training and fostering goals, select training content appropriately.

Defining the previously-mentioned knowledge and skills aims: First, to reduce the workload for training programs for cadres and civil servants, conducting short-term fostering programs and focusing on practical and essential contents for learners; Second, to match the training to the professional characteristics of cadres and civil servants; Third, to ensure flexibility in compiling and conducting fostering programs. 

4. Renew methods of training and fostering cadres and civil servants

The currently-used training method in courses for cadres and civil servants was theoretically revamped in recent years, but a much more serious review and renewal is needed. Renewing training methods for cadres and civil servants should focus on the following solutions:

Use active and advanced training methods for each subject, moving towards: less “academic” teaching, so as to make training more closely connected with practice; using theories to solve problems posed by reality; teaching methods of handling typical problems, creating conditions for learners to pro-actively relate and practice problem solving in a dynamic and creative manner; and increasing time allotments for field trips and practical experience sharing.

Renew training methods of political theories and professions according to active teaching methods and learner-centeredness. Research and apply new and modern training methods of the world, such as on-the-job training and rotating positions of cadres and civil servants.

Apply the method of exchanging cadres and civil servants that are being used in advanced countries in different forms such as sending cadres and civil servants to overseas central agencies or local governments to research; receiving foreign civil servants or experts for sharing experiences. This is one of the very effective methods to foster civil servants with knowledge and skills of handling situations related to international issues.

5. Consolidate and re-organize the system of training and fostering facilities for cadres and civil servants

The arrangement of the organization apparatus should be conducted in a roadmap in accordance with current practical conditions with selected and received experiences from other countries.

Research and arrange the system of training and fostering facilities towards streamlining and matching it to the functions, tasks, scale, and form of training and fostering: it is not necessary for all ministries and sectors to have their own training facilities; it is not necessary for all provinces and local districts to have their own training schools or centers. Together with the consolidation of the whole system, we should arrange the internal organization of each facility towards having unique, and therefore not unnecessary, structures and staff, gradually reducing the contingent of fulltime lecturers so as to reduce waste while diversifying the subject base. In the long-term, there should be only an apparatus of teaching and study managers, multi-tasking lectures, and visiting lecturers.

In order to ensure the effective implementation of consolidating training facilities, we should gradually attract and transfer the task of organizing training courses for cadres and civil servants to public and non-public suppliers of public services, according to the spirit of Resolution No. 18 and 19 of the 6th Plenary of the 12th Central Committee. Study and establish a network of training and research facilities with competent capacities to take part in training and fostering activities; build a mechanism allowing economic components to participate in training and fostering activities.

Build the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics into a center of training and fostering strategic-level leaders and managers in keeping pace with the regional and international level; continue to consolidate the organization and operation of the National Academy of Public Administration as the role of a leading training and fostering facility of the country.

Training and fostering facilities should expand and enhance the effectiveness of international cooperation in terms of training cadres and civil servants, strengthening activities of exchanging lecturers, speakers, and participating in forums, workshops and seminars where there are also training and fostering facilities of other countries.

6. Renew and enhance the decentralization of managing training and fostering activities for cadres and civil servants

The model of renewed decentralization of training and fostering management should be reflected in the following basic content:

First, unify a focal point of managing training and fostering activities; overcome the current asynchronous and overlapping situation of training.

Second, the responsibility of training and fostering activities to enhance working capacities for the contingent of cadres and civil servants should be primarily shouldered by the agencies and units where they work. Who is permitted to study, what to study, and where to study should be determined by the heads of the agencies or units who employ cadres and civil servants. Therefore, there is a transfer of the role from the heads who manage cadres and civil servants to the heads who take responsibilities of their training and fostering.

Third, empower the right of selecting training and fostering programs and content to cadres and civil servants according to the demand of their practical job and requirements of their position.

Fourth, enhance the capacity of managing training and fostering activities of central and local state management agencies; capacity of building plans and organizing fostering activities to increase professional qualifications, skills and management methods for cadres and civil servants in charge of giving advice and managing the training work of all ministries, sectors and localities.

7. Build a contingent of lecturers in training and fostering facilities for cadres and civil servants

Increasing the capacity and responsibility of the contingent of lecturers is one of the solutions determining the renovation and enhancing of training and fostering quality. Lecturers in training and fostering facilities should have appropriate professional qualifications with at least five senior practical years in management activities and with the teaching experience or ability. We must have plans to regularly update and increase capacities, qualifications, and teaching methods for lecturers in training and fostering facilities. We should also increase the responsibilities of lecturers as the role of not only conducting the program but also “re-editing” and “creating” training and fostering program.

Training and fostering facilities have to build a contingent of visiting lecturers; ensure that from 2020 onward, visiting lecturers will undertake at least 50% of the time for their training and fostering work. We must gradually streamline the current contingent of fulltime lecturers, focusing on build a network of visiting lecturers - including experts and managers with senior experiences, highly-qualified and prestigious professors and researchers from domestic and foreign universities, research institutes, management agencies.

Ministries, sectors and localities should build regulations that the contingent of leaders and managers of all levels that take part in teaching work should bear the responsibility of updating knowledge and equip themselves with skills and methods of teaching, exchanging management experiences and fulfilling their task in conformity with their own ministries, sectors and localities.

We must also enhance the self-fostering and fostering of skills and practical experience sharing for fulltime lecturers in training and fostering facilities, creating favorable conditions for lecturers to have long-term field trips at central and local state administration agencies. We can do so by encouraging lectures to study on their own to increase their teaching qualifications and ability to meet the demand of their tasks in the integration period.

8. Renew the mechanisms of financial management in training and fostering work for cadres and civil servants

The renewal of the financial management mechanism for training and fostering activities should be in accordance with the change of management model. This means that when management responsibilities are transferred to the heads of the agencies that employ cadres and civil servants, they are the ones who determine financial management: the purpose of financing, who has access to training courses, and the content of training and fostering programs. 

Together with the renewal of the financial management mechanism, there should also be changes in using finance towards financing according to demand, towards quality and effective training and fostering methods. Financing according to demand is firstly reflected when there is a sudden task that causes the demand of training and fostering to further increase, leading to an increase in finance and vice versa; once the task is settled down, financing can be stabilized or decreased. Moreover, the demand for the training and fostering of cadres and civil servants is very diverse, and authorized training and fostering facilities cannot provide some of the training content. In this case, it is necessary to study methods that allow cadres and civil servants to select more prestigious training facilities which are capable of supplying better quality and more costly services. For an effective mechanism of financial management for training and fostering work, it is necessary to focus on the following aspects:

Renovating the “manner” of financing for training and fostering work, specifically: a) identify a fostering budget according to standards and a fostering budget according to demand. The fostering budget according to the standards of a job title is “hard” budget funding training, and fostering facilities based on orders from cadres and civil servants’ management agencies. Funding the fostering work according to demand of job and positions should be renewed in the manner of increasing responsibilities of the units employing cadres and civil servants and responsibilities of cadres and civil servants themselves in how to use the budget practically and effectively as well as directly serving the requirement of enhancing working capacity of cadres and civil servants; b) the use of fostering budget according to jobs and positions should be conducted according to a tight procedure from defining the demand with the compulsory consensus between the employers and cadres or civil servants based on their own capacity of fulfilling the task or civil assignment over the past year. In addition, the right to select training and fostering programs and facilities of cadres and civil servants should be ensured.

In the past, attention has been paid to training and fostering work for cadres and civil servants and funding for this work has been provided. However, ministries, branches, and localities have stated that their budgets are inadequate to meet the demand. Therefore, it is necessary to add more funding for training and fostering work; at the same time, we must continue to attract and diversify funding sources for training and fostering work in order to promote training and fostering activities for cadres and civil servants.

9. Enhance international cooperation in training and fostering cadres and civil servants

There should be a mechanism of mobilizing foreign organizations and individuals with capacities and prestige to participate in training and fostering courses, particularly courses of updating knowledge, skills, and experiences in enhancing capacities of international integration. Strengthen and diversify cooperation forms in fields of training and fostering cadres and civil servants, combining domestic training with overseas studying and researching, sending cadres and civil servants to take part in training and fostering courses in foreign countries. Importance should be attached to training and fostering the contingent of leaders and managers, giving advice to build policies and a contingent of lecturers in training and fostering facilities, creating conditions for them to participate in appropriate overseas training courses based on their job titles, positions, and assigned tasks.

We should coordinate with training and fostering facilities of developed countries in conducting such content as fostering programs, lecturers, materials, academic activities, etc., towards exchanges, cooperation, and association in teaching and lecturers’ exchange; sharing training and fostering materials. Besides, there should be policies attracting foreign lecturers to teach at training and fostering facilities in Vietnam; apply advanced teaching methods of foreign countries in terms of training and fostering and conduct scientific research.

We should also diversify forms of international cooperation in conducting fostering courses, such as organizing fostering courses domestically and overseas, and also organize domestic fostering courses with the participation of foreign experts. As we already have training forms that would integrate internationally and benefit both parties, we should take this opportunity as soon as possible.

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(*) The article is the research result of the National-level Project “Research on renewing and enhancing training and fostering quality for cadres and civil servants in international integration”. Code No. KX.01.06/16-20.

Endnote:

(1) CPV: Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW dated October, 25th 2017 of the 6th Plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee on some issues of further renovating and restructuring the apparatus of the political system towards a streamlined one with efficient and effective operation.

References:

1. Government: Decree No. 101/2017/NDD-CP dated September 1st 2017 on training and fostering cadres and civil servants

2. Ha Noi University of Home Affairs: Report on the results of Ministerial-level Survey Project “Basic survey on the situation and recommendations on enhancing the quality of fostering civil servants to meet the requirements of state administrative reform”.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Nguyen Minh Phuong

Hanoi University of Home Affairs

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