B O O K S
The collapse of communist systems throughout Central and Eastern Europe left a widespread need to retrain personnel in order to get countries fit for the new challenges.
However, training at that time was only incremental and ad hoc. Few people, if anyone at all, knew enough about the new needs and objectives to demand or supply the proper training. For this reason, contents and styles were often just the transfer of Western techniques to a completely different environment. Many of them failed.
For years after that, no basis for a systematic approach existed. Now, nearly eight years after the political changes, Support for Improvement in Governance and Management in Central and Eastern European Countries (SIGMA) has published a report that provides this framework for building coherent and cohesive training systems in the region.
The report, entitled "Country Profiles of Civil Service Training Systems," lays out a framework that could effectively end the experimentation phase of training in CEE. The report is the first comparative study of the training systems used throughout the region. It documents programs developed for training civil servants in Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Comparison of the various programs used in recent years gives trainers a further understanding of methods that work most effectively within a Central European context. This can certainly aid the development of unified training efforts that work in a regional context and help trainers develop more innovative solutions for future training issues.
|STAGES OF TRAINING OVER THE YEARS|
Training sessions immediately after the fall of communist regimes were mostly experimental, rather than systematic approaches based on needs or demands.
Pressing needs led to a more concentrated and sustained response, but training was nevertheless often ad hoc and without structured aims or objectives.
|3. Creation of a focal point
In some places, the responsibilities for training have been concentrated in one place, for example at a coordinating ministry or state offices.
|4. Broad institutionalization
This would involve creating a school for administrative issues, a step still to be taken in most of the countries.
SIGMA's target audience is above all the donors. The organization plainly states it wants to "provide donors with additional information on training structures and systems." However, the report is a helpful tool for the CEE countries to improve their training capacities and enhance effectiveness and efficiency. Trainers, too, will find useful information regarding the priorities in developing a training system.
A useful compilation of varied experiences from several countries in the region, "Country Profiles" is an excellent information resource for anyone working on civil service reform in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Dirk AmtsbergData in the book is limited to April 1996, but updates are available on the SIGMA website: http://www.oecd.org/puma/sigmaweb