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Foreign Training of Government Officers and Public Sector Capacity in Pakistan

Faheem Jehangir Khan
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Faheem Jehangir Khan: Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.

No 2020:19, PIDE-Working Papers from Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

Abstract: Shortage of qualified human resource is a major impediment to improve the overall organisational performance. Training is considered as a key instrument to enhance employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. Despite several initiatives to improve the public sector performance in Pakistan, benefits of foreign trainings of government officers are largely contested. This paper explores how the Pakistan government responds to capacity constraints and to what extent donor-funded foreign trainings benefit the Pakistan government in improving its public sector capacity. A qualitative method, semi-structured interviews, was used to collect primary data from 102 government officers— mostly civil servants who received foreign training in the past-donor officials and non-government officials. The evidence suggests a passive approach of the Pakistan government towards overcoming capacity constraints in the public sector. Mandatory management training courses for promotion into higher service grades were largely ineffective. To fill capacity gaps, the government frequently hires consultants from the private sector on management positions and/or relies on donors’ technical assistance. Although donors seek to address capacity shortages through enacting technical assistance in Pakistan, in pursuit, donors sometimes undermine the process of capacity building and weaken the process of indigenous policymaking. Examining the benefits of donor-funded foreign training, the analysis suggest that the benefits were modest. The trainings are donor-driven, lack long-term sustainable effect, and later the efforts are undermined by placing trained officers on non-specialised assignments. Higher benefits of medium to long-term training were found, but it may increase the ‘flight risk’ since some highly skilled individuals choose to leave the government in pursuit of lucrative incentives and career-oriented ambitions.

Keywords: Technical Assistance; Training and Development; Public Sector Capacity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 17 pages
Date: 2020
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