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Why do we need to strengthen civil service capacities?

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The Management Course No 8 for Executive Level Officials was held at the Central Institute of Civil Service (Upper Myanmar) from 24 January to 18 March 2022.

Dr Khine Khine Win

While I was attending “Management Course for Executive-Level Officials” Course No 8 at the Central Institute of Civil Service (Upper Myanmar) from 24 January 2022 to 18 March 2022, many thoughts relating to civil service came into my mind. What are the values of civil service? Why do we need to strengthen civil service capacities? What is the relationship between democracy and civil service?
Civil service has diverse meanings. My understanding is that the civil service is one of the most important government organizations as it enables a country to function properly and to deliver public services. Civil service personnel are politically impartial employees who work for a department.
Here we need to know the values of civil service. According to Gol-UNDP Project, “Strengthening Human Resources Management of Civil Services”, there are four pillars for good governance and citizen-centric administration. They are Ethos, Ethics, Equity and Efficiency (4Es). Being a civil servant, understanding the civil service values and acting accordingly is important. Indeed, they need to act ethically and behave in an open, fair and transparent manner. They have to be expressed and embodied in practical, visible ways, in behaviours and actions. It is important to help staff translate each value into expected or unacceptable behaviours and to create awareness of these behaviours through different means. We need to ensure that every level in departments and ministries not only understands the values but is equipped to behave consistently with those values in every aspect of work.
As Myanmar is on the way to becoming a democratic society, it is essential to promote the better delivery of public goods and services with increased accountability and to have efficient and skilful civil servants. It is a deliberate action and the democratic character of civil service. In order to have efficient and skilful civil servants in every governmental organization, the civil services should upgrade and keep ahead to perform the statutory duties impartially.
In order to nurture efficient civil service personnel, this is the time to train civil servants who have been serving in the government’s ministries and departments, at both the Union and State levels in Myanmar. The Civil Service is one of the most important institutions in every country. Almost all countries have established civil service institutions, and so does Myanmar. Conducting training and educational programmes aimed at capacity enhancement of civil service personnel is one of the missions of the Union Civil Service Board, UCSB. As the civil service is the key platform between the public and a state, civil servants have the heavy responsibility of building a Nation. Each and every civil servant must have the required skills and knowledge as well as the right values and spirit of public service.
Not only do civil servants attend training, but they must also update their knowledge and skills in order to perform their statutory duties impartially. All civil service personnel need to hone their abilities to improve their performance by themselves.
The government needs to encourage and motivate civil servants by giving them the necessary training and exposure to give their best. In this vein, civil service training institutions play a crucial role in improving the capacity of civil service personnel and enabling them to achieve the Ministry/Department/Organization’s mission and objectives. There is therefore a demand for upgraded training institutions, and there is also a need to upgrade the skills of trainers. Civil service training and capacity development require an uplift to meet international standards and to become more effective and responsive to the needs of the public.  As Myanmar raises the quality of its civil service system, it needs trainers with the right values, skills, and knowledge to be effective practitioners. Indeed, in order for a training institution to perform its responsibility of training effectively, it needs to have motivated, qualified and experienced trainers. It is vital to train the trainers for the current and future development of skills, expertise, and ability in support of their designated responsibilities.
Based on my experiences, what I found out is that UCSB is starting to cultivate the spirits of civil service personnel with new types of teaching, aiming at upgrading their abilities, fulfilling people’s needs promptly, and making them take responsibility and accountability in providing service to people.
We, all learners who have attended the “Management Course for Executive Level Officials”, Course No 8 boosted our skills and knowledge, which is a precious thing for us, and another precious thing is that we could cultivate good relationships among ourselves.
To conclude, civil services are the bedrock of public administration and they have assumed a more important role in democracy to ensure good governance. No government can exist without administrative machinery. As Myanmar is new to democratic institutions, it is only the stable and efficient civil service that can strengthen democracy. I do believe that effective training courses like “Management Course for Executive Level Officials and Management Course for Senior Level Officials” benefit the individuals of civil service personnel and the department as a whole, and contribute to the achievement of government policy with good performance.

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