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Strengthening MDIs

The Role of Management Development Institutions in Public Service Reform

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The Management Development Institutes were established soon after Independence in most of the African countries. Their role was to provide training, consultancy and research services to the governments, particularly to the indigenous people who had assumed senior positions in the machinery of state. The purpose of this publication is to identify ways and means by which Management Development Institutes can better facilitate the public service reform process. It is intended for public sector training institutions, managers, administrators, training consultants, donors and practitioners. It covers typical problems, offering an approach to the issues, including: training still tends to be treated as a discrete event rather than an integral part of human resource management and development; the training function is seldom regarded by managers as a matter of their concern; training policies may not exist and, where they do, they often bear little relationship to wider development policies or tend not to be implemented; training needs are seldom assessed accurately or tend not to be acted upon; the design of training programmes too often ignores both policy and needs and may rely too heavily on borrowed models.

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Institutionalisation of the Training Policy Framework

When all the training has been formulated, policy instruments and training systems designed, best practice guidelines formulated, and the organisation restructured to accommodate the change process, there is a need to ensure that the training policy is incorporated into the entire government so that it becomes sustainable. It should be mentioned that the incorporation of the training policy, while desirable, may meet with resistance from within the organisation, especially by those agents who may be threatened by the new training policy framework. In this regard, due care should be taken to ensure that the new system is appropriately institutionalised.

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