Promoting tradition and boosting comprehensive innovation for NAPA’s sustainable development

 After more than 3 years of implementing Decision No. 05/2018/QD-TTg dated January 23, 2018 of the Prime Minister on NAPA’s functions, duties, organizational structure, and power, many innovations have been carried out at NAPA. On the occasion of the 62nd anniversary of NAPA’s establishment (May 29, 1959 – May 29, 2021), State Management Review presents an interview with Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan, NAPA President on the implementation of the Decision.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh speaking at the meeting on April 25th 2019, reviewing one year of implementation of the Prime Minister  Decision No. 05/2018/QD-TTg dated January 23, 2018.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh speaking at the meeting on April 25th 2019, reviewing one year of implementation of the Prime Minister Decision No. 05/2018/QD-TTg dated January 23, 2018.

Reporter: Could you please introduce the context of Decision No. 05/2018/QĐ-TTg dated January 23rd 2018 of the Prime Minister and its significance for NAPA?

Dr. Đặng Xuân Hoan: Decision No. 05/2018/QD-TTg (hereafter known as Decision 05) of the Prime Minister on NAPA’s functions, duties, organizational structure, and powers was issued after 10 years NAPA had had no a clearly stated mandate (during the period of 10 years, NAPA was under the umbrella of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Administration for 7 years and under the Ministry of Home Affairs for 3 years). As a result, NAPA had lacked a legal basis for planning its development strategies, conducting training, scientific research as well as internal management, which caused a shortage of staff and facilities to effectively implement its functions and tasks.

Decision No. 05 is of importance in the history of NAPA’s development; accordingly, NAPA continues to be recognized as a special public non-business unit directly under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The decision affirms NAPA’s position and role as well as its contributions to the cause of training cadres, civil servants and public employees in particular and providing administrative human resources for society in general. It creates a legal basis for NAPA’s implementation of its functions and tasks of training and scientific research, building its development strategies for the coming years. It also helps develop NAPA as a training center at regional and international level on management capacity, civil service ethics,  high quality human resources in the field of public management, administrative science and policy studies for the development of a serving, enabling government with integrity.

Decision No.05 identifies NAPA’s key tasks focusing on public servant training; intensive training, postgraduate training in order to provide quality human resources for the political system, public administration agencies and the society; and administrative studies and policy research. The decision provides an opportunity for NAPA to consolidate its organizational structure and personnel for a more suitable, dynamic and effective apparatus in the new situation.

Reporter: Are there any difficulties in the implementation of the decision?

Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan: 

Advantages can be seen as follows:

There has been a number of regulations concerning the public servant training over the last years, such as Decree No. 101/2017/ND-CP dated September 1, 2017 and Directive No. 28/CT-TTg dated September 18, 2018 of the Prime Minister on promoting public servant training before appointment to leading and managerial positions. This has created a favorable legal corridor for NAPA and affirmed its position and role in public servant training.

The Communist Party of Vietnam and the State have paid great attention to the improvement of the contingent of public servants, especially training, which helps promote NAPA’s position as a national training center for capacity building, administrative knowledge, leadership and management skills for public servants.

NAPA has established good cooperation with ministries, agencies and localities in public servant training. It has qualified and experienced lecturers and researchers with high responsibility and enthusiasm in teaching, research and training management.

In 2018, NAPA stopped its undergraduate training, which directly affected the employment of the whole NAPA’s staff, especially the lecturers and undergraduate training management officers and caused negative consequences on the postgraduate training. The quality of post graduate training much depends on the quality of the undergraduate training. NAPA’s master and doctoral students come from different training institutions and usually lack background knowledge of public administration and public management, which impacts greatly the training quality.

There hasn’t been succession in the teaching staff while the current number of professors and associate professors accounts for only 20%. The ratio of lecturers per employees remains low. The proportion of number of qualified and experienced lecturers who are capable for training public officials at ministerial department, provincial department, district levels and civil service senior officials accounts for less than 10% of NAPA’s total employees.

The cease of undergraduate training also caused the waste of facilities, textbooks and training materials for undergraduate training programs that were elaborately developed over the past 20 years. The present facilities are not in required condition for delivery of high-quality courses for cadres, civil servants and public employees as well as postgraduate training programs.

Reporter: Could you please briefly describe NAPA’s achievements after 3 years of implementing Decision No.5?

Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan: After 3 years of implementing Decision No.5, NAPA has made a comprehensive development, specifically:

The organizational structure has been properly streamlined and the number of units under NAPA has decreased from 22 to 17. The rearrangement and consolidation of the organization and personnel by the new structure are publicly conducted and ensure to appoint the right people to the right jobs. Therefore,  NAPA is increasingly strengthened and promotes the unity and consensus among the organization.

Since 2018, NAPA has focused more on the task of public servant training and post-graduate training. A series of courses with training curricula and materials has been developed, including courses for vice ministers and equivalent, for leaders and managers at ministerial departmental, for leaders and managers at provincial department and district levels, for senior officials, for lecturers of state management; and courses on civil service culture training.

The training outputs have significantly increased in the past three years compared to previous years. NAPA trains over 20,000 public servants every year and has successfully conducted tailor-made courses.

With the support of the Ministry of Home Affairs, NAPA has implemented a big project for review and development of syllabi and courseware for post-graduate training programs for 3 years (2018 – 2020). So far, syllabi for 171 courses including compulsory and optional courses of the doctoral program and 5 master programs have been compiled and appraised.

To ensure the training quality, training regulations are reviewed and supplemented;  disciplines in training management has been promoted; examinations are strictly carried out in line with the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

NAPA also focuses on capacity development for its lecturers and officials to improve the quality of human resources which is considered the key to organizational performance. Standards of trainers are stated; training of trainers and professional workshops are promoted; lecturers are encouraged to enhance their teaching and research capacity.

Reporter: What about other tasks NAPA has to perform as a special public non-business unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs?

Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan: As a special public non-business unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs, NAPA has successfully completed many other tasks assigned by the Ministry of Home Affairs such as organizing civil service rank promotion examinations, participating in the development of a test bank for the civil service rank promotion examinations.

Implementing Resolution No. 132/NQ-CP dated October 24, 2018 of the Government on the Government’s Action Program to implement Resolution No. 26-NQ/TW and Plan No. 10-KH/TW, NAPA was assigned to develop a project for the unified testing of civil service entrance quality.

The unified testing of civil servant entrance quality not only allows to select qualified candidates to the civil service but also improve transparency of the civil servant recruitment process, which helps create a pool of qualified candidates for recruitment of the public organizations. This is a foundation for improving the quality of civil servant recruitment, contributing to building a contingent of high quality civil servants who are capable enough to work in an international environment.

Reporter: How should the Government, ministries, agencies and localities support NAPA in dealing with its existing shortcomings?

Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan: In order to deal with the existing shortcomings, NAPA seeks support from ministries, agencies and especially from the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs. NAPA is expecting the Prime Minister’s approval on its undergraduate training in State management, which is consistent with the Law on Higher Education and international experience, and at the same time promotes NAPA’s potential and advantages contributing to improving its autonomy and enables NAPA to effectively implement its development strategy for the  2020 – 2030 period and a vision to 2045.

In addition, NAPA is submitting to the Prime Minister for approval the project on the testing of civil service entrance quality, focusing on innovation in the contents, forms, and process of the entrance examinations to streamline administrative procedures, enhance publicity, transparency and professionalism, and quality of civil servant recruitment, contributing to the building of a qualified contingent of cadres, civil servants and public employees with good qualities and professional capability to serve people and the country’s development.

Reporter: On the occasion of 62 year anniversary of NAPA’s establishment and development, could you talk about NAPA’s strategic plans?

Dr. Dang Xuan Hoan: NAPA’s development strategy approved by the Minister of Home Affairs is being implemented. NAPA’s goal is to become a training and research center for public administration, leadership and management skills as well as public policy in the Asia-Pacific region; an E-training provider by 2030. NAPA strives to become a leading center for public servant training, administration knowledge and technology transfer, consultancy on public management and public policy in Asia and in the world after 2030.

In order to achieve the goals, NAPA focuses on key issues as follows:

First, continuing to consolidate NAPA’s organizational structure to ensure streamlining, effectiveness and efficiency. Downsizing in association with the restructuring; building a contingent of qualified lecturers with enthusiasm, professional ethics, competence and high professional qualifications. Expanding and effectively using the network of national and international visiting lecturers and collaborators including leaders, senior managers, practitioners, experts and scholars.

Second, conducting fundamentally and comprehensively innovation of NAPA’s training. Developing high-quality master’s and doctoral training programs in line with those of countries with advanced administrative systems. Development of new  master’s and doctoral training programs to meet the social demand and human resource training demand of agencies and organizations in the political system. Application of information technology in management. Comprehensive and fundamental renovation of the training programs for public servants, focusing on the capacity of leadership, public management, public governance and public policies.

Third, building capacity of scientific research and policy consultancy. Promoting applied research to advise the Communist Party of Vietnam and the State in the field of public administration, public management, public governance and public policy. Focusing on theoretical research to develop administrative sciences to serve NAPA’s teaching activities and to give advice to the Party and the State.

Developing NAPA into a center for training consultancy; a national and regional scientific information center in the field of public administration and management.

Fourth, proactively and creatively participating in international integration. Affirming NAPA’s role in international conferences, forums on public administration. Building cooperation with prestigious and capable strategic international partners to implement long-term cooperation programs and plans to develop and strengthen NAPA’s scientific foundation in public administration, public management and public policy.

Improving the quality of NAPA’s training and management on international training programs by international standards in association with NAPA’s performance practice; developing and effectively applying the process of international student management and support; attracting international scholars and experts to work as visiting lecturers at NAPA.

Fifth, NAPA’s internal management, facility improvement and modernization. Promoting the application of information technology in NAPA’s operation; conducting research and building an internal smart governance model; developing the State Management Review by international standards; developing E-library and E-training system; updating software for training management, scientific management, personnel management, financial and asset management.

Properly investing in scientific information, linking with the library network and database systems of domestic and foreign institutions of training and research.

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