- BA THAN
The Global New Light of Myanmar and the Mirror Daily Myanmar newspaper carried the news of the inauguration of the “Civil Services Academy (CSA)” at the Central Institutes of Civil Services of both Upper Myanmar and Lower Myanmar on 2nd January 2017. The opening of the highest national level training institution is the latest modern landmark in the history of training in Myanmar since the achievement of Independence in 1948. The article in Myanmar “The CSA for the Public Servants” carried update information of immense interest to the readers.
All along the prime years of active service spanning 40 years, the author’s interest was centred, among others, in training of services personnel. During his service tenure in the PSSTB, he co-authored with U Tun Lwin, Additional Director, and U Tun Hlaing, Deputy Director to undertake in-depth research and study to produce a rare authentic historical document titled, “History of Recruitment of the Public Services” a four volume presentation in Myanmar. Its annals covered more than 100 years, beginning from King Mindon of Konboung Dynasty, through the British Colonial Rule, Burma’s Independence in 1948 till 1985, the time of documentation of the research presentation. Individually the author had also written a Paper, “Training as an integral component of Human Resources Department” which was read in the Seminar organized by the Department of Labour in the capacity of national focal point of UNHRD in Myanmar.
The opening of the Civil Service Academy CSA had reawakened the author’s memories of his involvement in Training during the ongoing years of service in Public Administration. The author wishes to contribute his personal experiences during these crucial years to enlighten the readers of the importance of training for the civil services to enhance the capacity building, development of skills, efficiency, integrity, and competency in administration and governance for now and the future years.
In the context of establishment and administration of the Civil Services, recruitment and training assumed priority in importance. The efficiency of the Civil Services depend upon acquiring qualified and efficient personnel from the open manpower market, to administer various functions of government. That factor can only be performed by proper recruitment process and procedures. After recruitment of qualified personnel, proper training also need to be conducted in tandem to equip them with adequate skills, efficiency and aptitudes to enable them perform their works assigned to them in the course of career and professional progressions.
During the year-long research study to compile “Myanmar Recruitment History”, the author read at length about the reforms initiated in UK in 1800s. All along those years such selection was riled by spoils system and nepotism. To enable the British Civil service to be free of such corrupt practices, a reform bill was presented to the British Parliament by scholars: Northcote and Trevelyn, as a result of which a Public Service Commission was formed in 1853 to conduct open competitive recruitment based on qualification and merit. The PSC system thenceforth spread outwards to the British Colonies in Asia and Africa. The Colonial Public Service Commissions were granted constitutional status, coverage and sanctity. PSC India became a constitutional body through a series of the Government of India Acts. The British Colonial office also created an elite Civil Service Cadre, named as I.C.S (Indian Civil Service), jeered by the public as “heaven born”. Selection from among the top graduates of the colonial universities were screened by the PCS and the selected few were trained in UK, to groom them into high society elite gentry. Then they were posted to where they were native, to administer the high level government positions. With Myanmar’s Independence in 1948, the Public Service Commission was formed through separate Acts of Parliament to conduct open recruitment from the manpower pool. The formation was subject to change and improvement up to this day. Counting from 1853 when the first Bill was enacted in UK, the PSC has endured 163 years of development rendering quality service to the adopting countries in continuity. All later PSCs formed in the countries of Asia and Africa had adapted to the changes in national character, culture societies and manpower market in carrying out recruiting with success. In like manner the Myanmar Public Service Commission continued to function its recruitment process as an independent entity. As such it is now almost 70 years of continuing service to the nation.
The second component of interest was centred on the training functions of personnel of the civil services. Once the qualified personnel were recruited through open competition it became the onus of the Training Sector to groom them to become useful qualified, honest and efficient civil servants to perform the duties and responsibilities entrusted to them by their respective ministries, departments and enterprises. There are many components of training, viz: pre-service induction training; and in-service training. In the in-service training there are many sub-divisions such as on the job training (OJT), training within industries (TWI), and institutionalized training such as training schools, colleges, institutes, academies etc. Then there are two main division viz: Central Training such as the CSAs, technical training, professional training etc and secondly department training.
If the author remembered right, the training schedule of Civil Service Officers (gazetted and non-gazetted) on probation under the Home Ministry were directed by the “L” circular issued by the Home Ministry of the day. After independence and accession to the UN organization as a full-fledged member nation on April 1948, Myanmar became eligible to UN Technical Assistance programmes to upgrade and develop the Public Administration Sector.
A new “Public Administration Department” was set up initially under the Home Ministry in 1956 and subsequently transferred under the office of the Prime Minister, to enable speedy and effective programme planning and implementation. New training programmes were organized, viz: gazette civil officers’ training school, clerical training courses, supervisory training courses, organization and methods (O&M) courses conducted with the assistance
of UN experts. Aids were granted to establish a new management
To be continued