Train, Not to Miss the “Train” of Development: A Critical Overview on the Role of Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC)

‘Administration for Service of People’ was the slogan of the last reform commission in Bangladesh. But the present administration is attributed on many occasions to tortuous procedures, dinosaurous size, narrow outlook, inefficiency, red-tapism and many other negative connotations. The training institutions may act as the catalysts to uplift from this dismal situation. Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC) as an apex training institution providing training to civil sercants in Bangladesh can play an important role for the enhancement of the capacity of the civil service. In this paper, the authors have tried to explore the gap between expectations and realities in terms of organizational effectiveness of BPATC. The statistical analysis of the data reveals that BPATC is lacking in many grounds, such as physical capabilities, quality of trainers, updated materials, following modern teaching methodologies etc. Initiatives to address these lacunas may usher higher level of effectiveness of this organization.
Main Article: 


Multitudinous activities and continuing changing orders have threatened the modern state with the danger of dysfunction. The reacting impulse is rethinking the working procedure of the government leviathan and the adjustment of the government with the regularly changing order. To tune the administrative apparatus in the light of these changing gazes, training is perhaps the most useful device because it helps to enhance the knowledge, skills and capabilities of the administrators to accomplish their tasks efficiently. It is an important instrument which helps to inculcate right values and attitudes among civil servants and keep them abreast with changes taking place in various spheres. As Robbins states, ‘‘competent employees don’t remain competent forever. Skills deteriorate and can become obsolete. That’s why organizations spend billions of dollars each year on formal training.’’ (Robbins, 2001 p480). BPATC is an apex training institution in Bangladesh to impart training to the civil servants. It has a role in developing the capacity of public servants of Bangladesh for their current tasks, for undertaking higher responsibilities in future and for facing the new challenges of the changing environment. This study is an effort to assess the institutional capacity of BPATC to impart training.

Conceptual Issues

Osborne constructed an equation expressing the relationships between performance, motivation and capabilities. According to him,

P = f (M, C) ------- (I)

P = Performance
M = Motivation
C = Capabilities
(Osborne, Denis 2001 p338)

From the above equation, we can see that ‘performance’ of a person is influenced by two factors: motivation and capabilities. It is believed that through training we can improve both the factors, specially the factor ‘capabilities’ and, therefore, can improve the performance of the respective person. This can be explained in the following figure:


Figure1: Relation between employees’ training and capabilities

From the above figure we can see that if we increase the level of effective training from T1 to T2, the capabilities of a person increase from C1 to C2. Thus, training can increase the performance of the respective person and, therefore, increase the performance of the respective organization, the person works for.

There are many theories of training which explain the benefits of training. Some of the important theories of training (Smith and Hayton, 1999 p252-254) are:

Human Capital Theories

Economists have traditionally accounted for training in terms of the returns to training investment. Human capital theory has explained the reasons for the provision of enterprise training in terms of the increase in productivity that accrues to the enterprise (Becker, 1964).[i] According to this view, human capital is similar to "physical means of production", e.g., factories and machines: one can invest in human capital (via education, training, medical treatment) and one's outputs depend partly on the rate of return on the human capital one owns. Thus, human capital is a means of production, into which additional investment yields additional output.

The neo-human capital theory approach states that enterprises train in order to improve the adaptability and flexibility of their workforces and their responsiveness to innovation (Bartel and Lichtenberg, 1987).[ii]

HRM Theory

Human Resource Management (HRM) theory has viewed training and employee development as a means of engaging the commitment of employees to the enterprise (Rainbird, 1994; Heyes and Stuart, 1996). The initial formulation of a theoretical framework for HRM came from the Harvard Business School in the early 1980s (Beer et al., 1984). In this model, training appears as one of a number of strategies for managing the human resource flow of an enterprise which, together with other HR policies, produce the `4 Cs’ of HR outcomes- commitment, competence, congruence and cost-effectiveness.[iii]

Now, the question is how to establish an effective training system for an organization. There are four approaches which can help establish an effective training system in an organization.

Structure-oriented Approach

Structure-oriented approaches to training have emerged mainly under the influence of structural-functionalism, which has long been dominant in the organization sciences. Treatises or studies in the tradition of structural-functionalism usually emphasize the structural aspects and then go on to analyze these structural aspects in the light of the question of what they contribute to the effective functioning of the organization. Managers try to find out the deficiencies which, as such, are dysfunctional for the effective progress of the processes in the organization. They then strive to remedy such skill deficiencies. This can be done by means of training, with the objective of raising the skills and knowledge of function performers to the level that is required for that function (Krogt and Warmerdam, 1997 p87).

System-oriented Approach

Learning and training in an organization are not studied as isolated (pedagogical) phenomena, but are 'placed in their environment'. System approaches apply the principles of general systems theory to learning and training activities in organizations. A training system[iv] is seen as one of the subsystems which constitute an organization and is defined as a body of facilities, policies and activities aimed at enhancing the qualification of the members of the organization (Krogt and Warmerdam, 1997 p88).

Actor-oriented Approach

Unlike the structural or system approaches, both of which give precedence to the organization as a whole, the actor-oriented approach takes as its point of departure the constituent parts of the organization or, more precisely, the different actors who jointly constitute an organization. The actor-oriented approach puts people back into the spotlight and looks primarily at the interests, orientations, strategies and interactions of the different actors within and around an organization. Their interactions are seen at the manifestations of the continuous “game” that goes on in an organization. According to this approach, training systems always form an integral part of the organization games which the actors play in order to maximally safeguard their interests (Krogt and Warmerdam, 1997 p89).

Network Approach

With network approach training, systems can be considered as dynamic networks of interaction between different actors or interest groups within and around the organization. As such, the approach offers the opportunity to integrate elements of functionalist and system-oriented approaches to training within an actor-oriented perspective. In a network approach, organizations are seen as composed of social actors-individuals, groups and bodies-which interact and carry out different kinds of activities in variable relationships. Training and work, two main fields of activities of actors, are both considered to be organized within a network of interaction: the labor network and the training network[v]. Both networks are seen as components of one comprehensive network, the organization network, in which actors seek to realize their own goals and interests (actor strategies) while simultaneously working towards the joint goals and interests (network strategy) ( Krogt and Warmerdam, 1997 p90). Van der Krogt (1995) has identified five aspects which are central to a training network:

the actors, that is to say the different agencies and bodies which constitute the network; actors are not only trainers and teachers. but also managers, workers, staff people, courseware designers, etc.;

Organizational structure, that is to say the organizational setup, expenditure, distribution of positions. tasks and responsibilities among the actors involved in training activities;

the culture, that is to say the values and behavioral rules which guide the actions of those involved in the learning activities;

the content structure, that is to say the whole complex of learning situations which can be used to develop training programs aimed at improving the qualifications of the members of the organization; and the main processes of the learning system, raising the qualifications of organization members, i.e. the execution of training activities, the development of training programs and the shaping of a training policy.

Organizational effectiveness of a training institution depends on addressing the demands raised from these aspects of its training network. From here, the hypothesis of study can be drawn as: Organizational effectiveness depends on addressing the demands of its training network.

Similarly, the effectiveness of BPATC depends on the level of response on the demands of its training network. A higher level of response will ensure higher level of effectiveness and the reverse will happen in the case of an opposite scenario. Here, the effectiveness of BPATC is dependent variable and the aspects of training network are independent variables.

Civil Service Training in Bangladesh

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, training of civil servants received seminal attention of the government. First five-year plan (1973-78) emphasi-zed the need for training for the officers and staff of all levels (Ali, 2098 p3).

To unify the training facilities of different levels/categories of public servants of the country, by amalgamating NIPA (National Institute of Public Administration) and GOTA (Gazetted Officers Training Academy), the Civil Service Training Academy (CSTA) was established in 1973. But, in 1976, CSTA was again split into two separate training institutions. GOTA was renamed as Civil Officers’ Training Academy (COTA), while NIPA continued with the same name and clientele. To cater to the training needs of the senior administrators, another training institute, Bangladesh Administrative Staff College (BASC), was established in 1977 as an apex institute. Each of these institutes tended to carry out training activities in isolation, often leading to overlaps and duplications in their programs. With the passage of time, the necessity of streamlining the training arrangements was keenly felt. In order to rationalize the training system and also to ensure economy and efficiency, in 1984 the government merged NIPA, COTA, STI and BASC to form BPATC under the Presidential Ordinance (Ordinance No XXVI of 1984). BPATC started its activities by an Order (Order No- SRO 1051-L/84MR (II)/ PATC-8/83 Part-1) on 28th April, 1984.

Training Courses of BPATC

Present training endeavor of BPATC can be divided into three levels. They are: a) International Level, b) National Level and c) Joint venture.

International Level

This area involves the training of the foreign nationals in BPATC. BPATC is one of the largest training institutes of South Asia in the field of Public Administration and Management. The Government of Bangladesh is keen to make it a “Center of Excellence” and a regional hub for the development of competent and innovative public servants. So, under the 3rd phase project, BPATC established the “International Training Complex (ITC)” to provide training to foreign nationals. The objectives of the ITC are to arrange training courses for foreigners and to acquire international reputation. The complex is yet to launch any training program for the foreigners. It only arranged a seminar.

National Level

This area involves the training of the Bangladeshi officials. At the national level, BPATC’s training programs are broadly classified into two categories: (i) core courses and (ii) short specialized courses. Core courses are usually 10–16 weeks duration and are linked to career development, while short specialized courses range 1-4 weeks. The focus of the core courses is the development of the conceptual and technical base while short specialized courses focus on the development of skills of specific clientele groups. The courses organized by BPATC in 2005-2006 are listed below:

Core Courses

  1. Senior Staff Course (SSC)
  2. Advanced Course on Administration and Development (ACAD)
  3. Foundation Training Course (FTC)

Short Courses

Training of Trainers Course; Project Management Course; Course on Trade and Aid: Planning Negotiations Techniques; Human Resource Planning Course; Financial Management Course; Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Course; Modern Office Management Course; Course on Information Technology and E-Governance; Foundation Refresher Program; Course on Communicative English and Gender and Development Course.

The description of the 3 core courses are as follows:

Foundation Training Courses (FTC)

FTC is the basic training course on Administration and Development. Bangladesh Civil Service Recruitment Rules 1981 makes Foundation Training Course compulsory for all the new entrants to the Bangladesh Civil Service. The desired number of participants is 200, but in special cases the number may vary from 50 at the minimum to 250 at the maximum. The duration of regular FTC is four months (120 days). Earlier, the Center also conducted 18 two-month duration Special Foundation Courses between 1987 and 1992 as an interim arrangement to clear off the backlog of training in pursuance of the decision of the National Training Council (NTC) and the directive of the Ministry of Establishment (MoE).

To meet the training needs of the officers, the contents of the course have been segmented into the following major five areas: Bangladesh Studies; Public Administration; Management Process; Development Economics and Skill Development. Each is divided into several independent modules consisting of a number of topics. There were 27 modules in the 37th FTC and the participants were evaluated on 1500 marks in total (BPATC, 2006a p5).

Advanced Course on Administration and Development (ACAD)

ACAD is organized for mid-level administrators of the rank of deputy secretary of the government and their equivalents. The prime purpose of the course is to enable the mid-level government officials to acquire a set of new skills and to internalize a cluster of new values in tune with the needs of democratic administration, free market economy and globalization. The duration of the course is 75 days. The desired number of participants is 25. But, in special cases the number may vary from 15 at the minimum to 40 at the maximum.

The 55th ACAD course consists of 16 modules. The contents of the course have been segmented into the following major three areas: Public Administration; Development Economics and Skill Development. According to the Evaluation Principle of BPATC, each participant is evaluated on 1000 marks (BPATC, 2006c p4).

Senior Staff Course (SSC)

The Senior Staff Course, a policy level course, is designed and organized for the senior officers of the rank of joint secretary of the government and their equivalents drawn from public enterprises, sector corporations and the armed forces. The core objective of the course is to provide the senior government officials the opportunity to appreciate the complex and dynamic socio-cultural and politico-economic environment of Bangladesh so that they can contribute more effectively to formulate pragmatic policies of the government. The duration of the course is two and a half months (75 days). The desired number of participants is 25, but in special cases the number may vary from 15 at the minimum to 30 at the maximum.

The 45th SSC course consists of 16 modules. The contents of the course have been segmented into the following three major areas: Public Administration, Development Economics and Special Modules. According to the Evaluation Principle of BPATC, each participant is evaluated on 700 marks (BPATC, 2006d p5).

Joint Venture

This area involves the training of the Bangladeshi civil servants in collaboration with other development partners/donor countries. At present, a 7-year MATT 2 (Managing At The Top 2) [vi] program-started on June 11, 2006 and will end in 2013-is running which is a joint initiative of the GoB and DFID to develop reformed human resource management systems within the Bangladesh Civil Service as an important building block for incremental administrative reform (MATT2 website, accessed October 28, 07). For this program, BPATC is providing logistic supports-classroom facilities, accommodations etc. Its faculty members are also working as facilitators. The main objectives of MATT 2 are:

  1. To develop a critical mass of component, reform-minded and gender-sensitive civil servant with improved performance and capacity to meet millennium development goals.
  2. To develop reformed human resource management systems within the Bangladesh Civil Service through the development of the Career Planning Wing.
  3. To strengthen civil service training capacity through the development of faculty and training staff at BPATC.
  4. To raise skills and confidence within the administrative cadre to support public sector accountability and responsiveness to the needs and interest of poor people.
  5. To raise public and internal civil service expectations about the capacity of the senior civil service, in order to generate demand for improved public sector performance (BPATC website, accessed March 25, 07).

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are to analyze the organizational effectiveness of BPATC; to explore the factors affecting the effectiveness of the organization and to suggest some possible steps for further enhancing its effectiveness.

Limitations of the Study

The study design mainly concentrates on the core courses organized by BPATC. Only the opinions of the participants of the 37th Foundation Training Course (FTC) (held in 2006) are taken through questionnaire.

Methodology of the Study

  1. Review and study the secondary sources.
  2. “Face to face” interviews of the trainers to gain general data on training.
  3. Analyze the opinions of the participant of the 37th Foundation Course taken through questionnaire by the evaluation department.

 Method of Calculation

The participant’s responses are collected through ranking process arranged from 1 to 6. (1= lowest and 6= highest).The process of weighting system of ranked responses is as follows:

Table 1: The process of weighting system of ranked responses

Ranks of the Responses Corresponding Assigned Weights
1 1
2 2
3 3
5 5
6 6


The sum of weighted value of each individual parameter is then calculated with the following formula:

S = å [(n1 X 1), (n2 X 2), (n3 X 3), (n4 X 4), (n5 X 5), (n6 X 6)] … … … [Formula-1]

Where, S = Sum of weighted rank value of a certain parameter;
n = Number of responses;
n1 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 1;
n2 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 2;
n3 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 3;
n4 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 4;
n5 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 5;
n6 = Number of responses against certain parameter with rank 6;
and 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 are the corresponding weight values assigned for Rank 1, Rank 2, Rank 3, Rank 4, Rank 5 and Rank 6 respectively.

Finally, considering the weighted values (with highest rank) of all the responses for a particular parameter as hundred percent, percentage-wise weights/strengths of each parameter was calculated with the help of the following formula:

Stn. =       S     X 100                 [Formula-2]
            N X rn 

Stn. = Strength or Degree (in %) of opinion of a certain parameter;
S = Sum of weighted rank value of a certain parameter;
N = Total number of responses against a certain parameter;
rn = The highest possible rank value/weightage for a certain parameter.


The 37th FTC was conducted from 07 May, 2006 to 03 September, 2006 at the center. A total of 170 officers from different cadres of Bangladesh Civil Service joined the course as participants. Amongst them, 168 participants completed the course while 2 were released on health ground. The feedback about the course was sought from these

Objectives Effectiveness (%)
Use information and communication technology in management 80
Adhere to the basic administrative works, policies and procedures 77
Prepare reports, research papers and other documents professionally 76
Recognize the role of civil servants in a changing national and global environment 74
Communicate in English with reasonable accuracy and fluency 74
Maintain physical fitness to meet arduous challenges 74
Identify individual behavioral strengths and weaknesses and promote interpersonal relations in administration 73
Perceive and analyze socio-cultural, political and economic development issues, strategies and processes realistically 70
Foster esprit-de-corps, empathy, common perception and understanding among diverse stakeholders 66

168 participants through questionnaire. The details of their opinions are analyzed bellow:

At the beginning of the course, 9 objectives were mentioned in the course guideline. At first, the participants evaluated to what extend these objectives can be achieved. The objective ‘Foster esprit-de-corps, empathy, common perception and understanding among diverse stakeholders’ gets the lowest rating (66%). But, this objective is one of the main pre-conditions of the development administration. Except for the objective ‘Use information and communication technology in management’ (80%), none of the objectives is rated 80% or more. That means there are ample opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the Foundation Course. The detailed scenario is given in table 2.

For increased competence, civil servants need to acquire professional knowledge, skills, appropriate habits and attitudes and correct patterns of behavior. For this, the selection and the effectiveness of the training modules are very important. But, most of the modules in FTC, 23 out of 27 modules i.e. 85% modules, are rated below 79. This indicates that the effectiveness of the modules needs to be increased and more effective modules need to be included.

Table 3: Ranking of the effectiveness of the training modules of FTC

90% and above 89-85% 84-80% 79 % and bellow
1 1 2 23

The respondents rated the module ‘Information and Communication Technology’ as the most effective (90%) and rated the module ‘Quantitative Analysis’ as less effective (49%). On the basis of ranking of the respondents, highly effective and less effective course modules are listed in table 4:

The participants also suggested for the inclusion of  the following topics in the course input of the next course. 

Swimming (6)*; Project Management (6); Bangla Type (1); Development Administration (1) and First Aid (1).

Modules rated as highly effective Modules rated as less effective
Name of the Modules % Name of the Modules (%)
Information and Communication Technology 90 Quantitative Analysis 49
Local Government of Bangladesh 85 Reading Assignment 69
English language Skill 83 Ethics and Etiquette 69
Financial Management 83 Book Review 70
Human Resource Management 80 Physical Condition and Games 71
Office Management 80 Gender and Reproductive Health 71

Pursuing modern teaching methods is one of the main pre-conditions for the success of the training programs. In FTC, 16 different methods are adopted by BPATC to impart training. 11 modules out of 16 i.e. 69% modules are rated below 79.

Table 5: Effectiveness of the training methods of FTC

>90% 89-85% 84-80% <79 %
0 1 4 11

On the basis of the assessment, Syndi-cate method gets the highest level of rating (85%) and Reading Assignment gets lowest level of rating (65%). Maximum of the methods rated within the range of 70% to 80 %. This indicates that there are ample scopes for improve-ment and the authority should take nece-ssary actions to improve the effective-ness of the training methods. The names of 5 most effective methods are:

Table 6: Most effective and less effective course methods

Methods rated as highly effective Methods rated as less effective
Name of the Methods % Name of the Methods %
Syndicate 85 Reading Assignment 65
Group Discussion 84 Film Show 66
BARD/RDA/BRDTI Attachment 83 Library Work 69
Study Tour 80 Extension Lecture 70
Field Study 80 Lecture 71

The effectiveness of a training program also depends on the facilities available in an organization. The questionnaire also depicts the effectiveness of different available facilities in the center for FTC. The participants rated the ‘Medical facility’ as only 59% effective. This surely indicates a poor level of performance. The facilities of ‘Cafeteria Management’ also received poor level of effectiveness (61%). Classroom facilities received the highest level of effectiveness (89%). The dormitory facilities also seemed to be not satisfactory (72%). The details are shown in the following table.

Table 7: Assessment of the effectiveness of the center in other areas

Areas Effectiveness
Classroom Facility 89(%)
Library Facility 81(%)
Course Management 78(%)
Dormitory Facility 72(%)
Cafeteria Management 61(%)
Medical Facility 59(%)

Some participants also suggested the following points to improve the course:

  1. Course duration should be increased (7)*
  2. Access of the participants to the office of faculty members should be prohibited (6)
  3. Faculty members should be well trained (3)
  4. Duration of car driving training should be increased (3)
  5. Speaker should be more committed (2)
  6. Cafeteria staffs should be well behaved and trained (2)
  7. In case of report writing ‘cut-copy-past’ culture should be strictly monitored (2)
  8. Course administration should be ensure transparency in its management (1)
  9. Manipulation in examination halls should be strictly controlled (1)


The findings of the study reveal that the level of effectiveness of BPATC is not satisfactory and there are ample opportunities for further improvement. This is because of the gaps in addressing the demands raised from its training network. The following endeavor is an attempt to explore the gaps raised from its training network that are affecting the effectiveness of BPATC.

Human Resource

Ensuring sufficient number of Human Resource is the precondition for running an organization. The following table shows that among the 96 sanctioned “Class 1” posts (mainly acting as the trainer), 20 were vacant in the year 2005. This shortage is affecting the quality of the training programs.

Table 8: Human Resource Scenario in BPATC

Echelon Sanctioned Posts Present Working Force Vacant Posts
1st class 96 76 20
2nd class 22 21 1
3rd class 209 187 22
4th class 234 224 10
Total 561 508 53

Source: BPATC, Annual Report 2004-2005, 2006, p10.

Quality of the Trainers

The effectiveness of training programs depends to a large extent on the quality of trainers. This requires that training institutions be adequately manned by well trained instructors (Siddquee, 1993 p24). A vacuum already exists in the quality and number of trainers in Bangladesh. For example, among the 69 in-house faculty members of BPATC, only 5 have the PhD which constitute 7.25% during the 37th FTC. Again, among these 5 members, 4 of them are on deputation.

Table 9: Number of PhD holders in the center

  Number %
Faculty Resource Persons having PhD 5 7.25
Faculty Resource Persons not having PhD 64 92.75
Total 69 100%

Source: BPATC, Course Guidelines of 37th FTC, 2006, p25-26

This situation resulted because of the absence of appropriate status and prospects for career development of the instructors. Training institutes find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain qualified personnel. Again, limited career opening has made the existing trainers frustrated and many of them switch over to other careers (Siddquee, 1993 p24).

Instead of developing a corps of professionally trained instructors, the government has adhered to a ‘policy’ of assigning civil servants with the duty of instructing trainees although  their background or experience does not warrant them to do so. Consequently, their performance has been unsatisfactory with baneful implications for training (Khan and Zafarullah, 2005 p143). Actually, the trainers on deputations work in the training institutes on a temporary basis and, as such, their commitment is likely to be low. As they are called back to their parent departments after a short period of time, the deputationists cannot acquire maturity needed to make any positive contribution (Siddquee, 1993 p24).

Another problem is the limited scope for the development of a training staff. It is erroneously assumed that trainers would automatically develop their training capabilities all by themselves by being merely attached to an institute or a program.

Guest Speakers

Invitation of “Guest Speakers” no doubt enriches the quality of imparting training of the center but this process has also some problems. There is no definite policy for inviting the most efficient experts in the respective fields. In most of the cases, the ‘Course coordinator’ or any other influential persons in the center includes the speaker’s name on the basis of their personal relationships and, after the departure of that person, on many occasions it was seen that the speaker’s name was omitted from the faculty list, disregarding their qualities.

Sometimes, BPATC has to depend heavily on Guest Speakers, especially for ACAD and SSC. As many of the Guest Speakers are senior bureaucrats, they are busy with various important official jobs and cannot instruct in the respective courses. As a result, it sometimes causes rescheduling, replacement of lower quality trainer and above all lower outcomes from the training programs. Table 10 gives us a picture of dependency on Guest Speakers. It shows that in the year 2001-2002 it had to depend on Guest Speakers in 44% of its classes for SSC.

Table 10: Dependency on Guest Speaker and in-house faculty (in percentage)

Course In-house Faculty Guest Speaker
  2-3 3-4 4-5 2-3 3-4 4-5
FTC 88 86 87 12 14 13
ACAD 76 71 78 25 29 22
SSC 57 77 67 44 23 34

Source: BPATC, Annual Report 2004-2005, 2006, p10.

Role of MoE

BPATC has to depend on the MoE for the nomination of civil servants to attend different courses. The general trend for short-term courses is that the civil servants nominated do not report for training and sometimes BPATC has to cancel such of the courses planned to be held. An arbitrary way is adopted by the MoE to nominate civil servants for the training, without any consultation with the ministry concerned. There have been cases where  more than three or four officers have been nominated from one single ministry and that too at a time when disaster management was the prime issue (Ali, 2004 p139).

Organizational Structure

Infrastructural Capacity of BPATC

The Recruitment Rules 1981 made the foundation training of the new recruits to the cadre service compulsory for confirmation in their respective services. Public Administration Efficiency Study in 1989 found that physical capacity for training at BPATC was inadequate. It could provide training to approximately 400 civil servants in a year. This is evident from the fact that 1,600 civil servants, recruited since 1981, had not received foundation training (PAES 1989 p 41). To clear off this backlog of training in pursuance of the decision of the NTC and the directive of the Ministry of Establishment, the center conducted 18 two-month duration Special Foundation Courses between 1987 and 1992 as an interim arrangement. Though that arrangement normalizes the situation to some extent but definitely that tells upon the quality of training that the participants received.

After the implementation of the project “Public Administration Efficiency Development (3rd Phase)”, the capacity of BPATC increased in providing training. For example, the dormitory capacity, classroom facilities and computer facilities increased. But they are not enough, especially for increasing the course duration. The following table shows us the existing dormitory capacity.

Table 11: Dormitory Capacity of BPATC

Course Name Dormitory Capacity
  Male Female Total
FTC 350 84 434
ACAD - - 50
SSC - - 50

Source: BPATC, Annual Report 2004-2005, 2006, p12

For various reasons, these facilities are sometimes underused or scarce. The following table may be helpful for us to understand the scenario.

Table 12: Number of Participants in Different Courses

Course Number of Participants
33rd  FTC 256
34th FTC 256
48th ACAD 22
49th ACAD 84
41st SSC 27
42nd SSC 22

Source: BPATC, Annual Report 2004-2005, 2006, p55-56

From the above table we can see that in the 48th ACAD the number of participants was 22 but in the immediate next course the number increased to 84 which is 3.81 times higher than the previous one. It also kept going upwards in the 50th ACAD to 108 participants and in the 55th ACAD it again reduced to 30 participants. The trend is shown in the given graph.

This stressed on the capabilities of BPATC. For example, the dormitories allotted for ACAD can accommodate 50 participants but in the 49th ACAD the authority had to accommodate an extra 24 participants. This problem surfaces when a large number of officers are promoted or the numbers of OSD (Officer on Special Duty) are increased for various reasons and they are sent for training.

The problem becomes acute when two or more courses are scheduled at a time. For example, in the Library, there are only three reading rooms that can approximately accommodate 200 participants. If all the participants come together then it surely creates problems.

ICT facilities of BPATC are also not satisfactory. The existing LAN is not accessible by all and not effectively utilized. There is also the limited use of internet technology which ultimately limits e-access to information and knowledge. Thus, the exiting capacity of the center is inadequate in many areas.

Training Expenditure

In the year 2004-2005, BPATC spent 1,93,23,403 taka for the purpose of training. This constitutes 18.32% of the total expenditure. Though 15.67% money is spent for RPATCs but it constitutes all the expenditures of the four RPATCs. From this statistics, we can imagine how insignificant the expenditure for training in those RPATCs. The maximum amount of money goes for the salary, allowances and others purposes in BPATC (BPATC, 2006b p59). The entire scenario is shown in the figure 3.


BPATC is yet to solve the problem of backlog of participants. The average lag for the majority of recruits is up to 4 years and is some cases even more. A survey conducted by UNDP and MoE  found that only 16% did not suffer any lag, 69% suffered a lag of up to 4 years while 15% suffered more than 4 years (UNDP and MoE, 2007a p27).

Table 13: Percentage Distribution of Lag between Recruitment and Foundation Training

Cadre Strength Sample Size No lag (%) Upto 4 Years (%) More than 4 Years (%)
14,916 342 16 69 15

Source: UNDP and MoE , Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Study on BPATC Training Course Curricula Review and Cost Effectiveness of Training. (Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh, 2007, p26)

The Culture

Conflict between the Permanent and Deputed Officials:

It is nothing but the manifestation of cadre-noncadre conflict in our country. The problems are more or less same such as holding key posts, enjoyment of various facilities, quick promotion provisions etc. For example, deputed officials get 30% training allowance but the permanent officials do not get it. This causes dissatisfaction among the permanent officials.

The Content Structure

Training Curricula

The curricula and teaching practices at the training centers need to be reassessed in the light of contemporary needs. At present, the content of training is very traditional. It emphasizes didactic learning in contrast to Human Resource Development (HRD). This course content includes excessive emphasis on subjects like culture, history, law and learning about rules-as opposed to developing quantitative and analytical skills (Ahmed, S. G. 2004 p 149). For example, in the 37th FTC, among the 157 topics in the four areas out of 5 areas (excluding the area: Skill Development), there were 9 topics mainly based on history and there were 41 topics mainly based on different types of rules and regulations.

Table 14: Frequency of History and Different types of rules and regulations in the 37th FTC

Subject No of Topics
History 9
Types of rules & regulations 41
Others 107
Total 157

Source: BPATC, Course Guidelines of 37th FTC, 2006, p9-17

The training system in Bangladesh still remains divorced from social realities. The main emphasis is on the understanding of administrative techniques rather than on the improvement of human relations skills and broadening the outlook of civil servants. The curricula of BPATC are, in the main, based on western ideas and precepts and no effort has been made to develop indigenous course materials drawing upon the resources of universities or ‘learned societies’ (Khan and Zafarullah, 2005 p142).

The courses conducted by various training institutes are quite similar and often overlapping. No institutional mechanism exists for exchange of ideas between BPATC and other departmental training institutes. The National Training Council (NTC) is yet to emerge as an effective body in coordinating and harmonizing the activities of various training institutes within the country (Siddiquee, 1993 p25).

Reading Materials

The recommended reading materials for different modules of the course are not updated. For example, in the 37th FTC, only 27 reading materials were within the year 2001-2006 but 92 materials were in the year1990 or before. The details are given in the following table:

Table 15: Reading Materials for 37th FTC

Year Number of Materials
2001-2006 27
2000-1996 55
1995-1991 31
1990 & before 92

The Main Process of the Learning System

Training Policy

Training is not linked to career planning or other dimensions of personnel management (UNDP and MoE 2007b p12). According to an official gazette published on 12th May, 2003, performances in the courses like FTC, ACAD and SSC are to be given due weightage for future placement and promotion. On the contrary, Rule 9 of the Bangladesh Civil Service Composition and Cadre Rules implies that performance in the training would not in any way affect seniority. In other words, this is a great lacuna. As a consequence, public servants show little interest in training, which is virtually of no utility for their career advancement. The low level of commitment on the part of the trainees frustrates the objective of enhancing administrative efficiency through training.

Training Methods

The training methods utilized in BPATC are still archaic and most of these have become obsolete elsewhere (Khan and Zafarullah 2005 p142). Viewed in a very general sense, no significant change in training methodology of BPATC can be seen since its establishment. Classroom lecture-the traditional method-is still the most widely used method of training at BPATC. Sophisticated techniques have not yet flourished due to certain social, cultural and economic problems. The COTA, during its existence, did try modern techniques, like problem-solving exercises, syndicate activities and role-playing. These are still used in the FTC at BPATC but are not sophisticated.

Table 16: Training Methods for Foundation Training Course

Training Method Use
Lecture and discussion 159
Lecture and exercise 14
Lecture, discussion and exercise 28
Lecture, discussion, exercise and role play 3
Lecture, discussion and practice 17
Lecture and practice 28
Lecture, discussion and video clip 8
Practice 2
Discussion and exercise 9
Syndicate 4
Film show 1
Field visit 1
Case study 1
Exercise 3

Source: BPATC, Course Guidelines of 37th FTC, 2006, p9-17.

Table 16 shows that the “Lecture and discussion” method was followed in the 159 topics out of 278 topics (excluding the modules: Book Review, Village Study, Reading Assignment and Secretariat Attachment) in the 37th FTC. As regards the other 98 topics, the lecture method was also mainly followed with some opportunities for exercise, discussion, practice and role-play. There were only 4 provisions of syndicate activities, one field study and one case study.

The training sessions are generally classroom-type based on straight one-way lecture with little or no scope for participation. Most participants find the training methods to be monotonous, non-stimulating and devoid of any scope for discussion or syndicate works (Aminuzzaman 1992 p456). If the trainees at all participate, they usually make impertinent observations or comments, illogically trying to prove their points.

Daily Schedule

The tentative schedule of daily activities of FTC is given in Table 17.

Table 17: Daily Schedule for FTC

Time Activities
0530-0615* Physical Exercise
0715-0800 Breakfast
0830-0930 Classroom Session
0940-1040 Classroom Session
1040-1105 Tea Break
1105-1205 Classroom Session
1215-1315 Classroom Session
1315-1430 Prayer and Lunch
1430-1530 Classroom Session
1700-1800* Games/Car Driving
1900-2000 Library Reading/ Extension Lecture
2000-2100 Dinner

Source: BPATC, Course Guidelines of 37th FTC, 2006, p23.

It is a 11 hour long tight daily schedule. From observation it is seen that in the first session of the training during 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., many participants felt sleepy. This may be due to waking up early and heavy physical exercise. The authorities should think in this regard because it is hampering other programs. If the authorities decide to improve physical fitness, then they should do it scientifically because many of the participants are not physically fit enough to absorb the heavy physical exercises suddenly. This should be improved gradually.

Duration of Training

The adequacy of the duration of the foundation course is being questioned. Too much appears to be thrust upon trainees within a short time. A greater number of members of all cadres are given training at the same time with no scope for specialization for each of the functional groups. Thus, on assumption of their duties, they are unable to apply themselves apace, precisely and imaginatively to their jobs (Khan and Zafarullah, 2005 p141). Actually, each of the courses features a clear lack of focus and is of short duration. By the time the trainees begin to pick up the subject matter, they find themselves at the end of the program ready to be awarded a certificate.

Evaluation Process of the Trainees

In the FTC, the marks allotted for physical exercise and sports are 100 out of 1500. It was seen that many participants were good academically (the main objective of the training) but not very good at sports. As a result, they failed to obtain good marks in this module and lost their top positions. As this number becomes the determinant factor of the results of the participants on many occasions, the objection is raised on this ground.

Haphazard Training Activities

Until the formulation of the National Training Policy and the constitution of National Training Council, training activities were haphazardly carried out by different institutions. Even now the situation has not improved much. The foundation training of the BPATC is not well integrated with professional training in departmental training institutes. Sometimes, the trainees are recalled to BPATC in the middle of their departmental training. Ideally, the foundation training should precede the professional training. But, at present, there is no logical sequence to these different types of training.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Training

The process of monitoring and evaluation of training is not satisfactory. There is no provision to evaluate the impact of training on job performance. Evaluation criteria are not fully developed although some attempts are made to record the immediate reactions of trainees after the completion of a program. However, only questionnaire surveys are used and these generally turned out to be subjective and do not measure performance validity. What resulted is recording of “emotional reactions rather than decisions to use the information to improve programs (Khan and Zafarullah, 2005 p145).

Long Time Gap

The importance of an efficient and service-oriented civil service becomes an important indicator of development administration and the concept ‘Good Governance’ has become a mantra for development professionals around the world (UNDP and MoE 2006 p8). To embed the concept of good governance to the very fabric of the civil servants, they should go under training without any long time gap. In Bangladesh, there are long time gaps (up to 10 years) between recruitment, initial training, mid-career and high-level training (UNDP, 2007 p24).

Strategic Issues to Address

To contribute to the establishment of a service-oriented, accountable and efficient civil service, the following steps can be taken[vii].

Training Curricula

  1. Assessment of training needs should be undertaken by the center in cooperation with the ministries to determine the actual job skills required at different levels.
  2. The design of training curricula should be based on an assessment of training needs[viii].

Training Methodology

  1. Modern methods such as interactive management, simulated decision making, audio-visual learning techniques etc. should be followed in the courses and traditional class room teaching should be minimized.
  2. Arrange on-line teaching and learning facilities including on-line tests.

Trainer’s Quality

  • Trainers should be recruited on the basis of qualification and professional interest.
  • All trainers should be given attractive benefits like instructional pay, free accommodation, overseas training opportunities and other related benefits.
  • Foreign training and in-country training should be linked together as a career development incentive. A time-based sequence of training should be followed as a precondition for promotion and as a part of sound career planning for each officer.
  • Donor funded foreign training programs should have in-country training components for training of trainers and for improving the quality of in-country training programs.
  • Foreign training should maximize the use of training institutions in Asia and the Pacific in order to benefit from the experience and resources of those countries which are most relevant to the development needs of Bangladesh.

Capacity of the Center

  • The facilities and training capacity of the center should be expanded as a long-term measure.
  • Establish collaboration and exchange program with the different reputed training centers such as ENA of France, INTAN of Malaysia, Indian Institute of Public Administration etc.

Training Expenditure

  • The Government should increase the expenditure on training and human resource development for upgrading and expanding training facilities.

Course Duration

  • The duration of the different courses should be increased to make the respective courses effective.

Guest Speaker

  • “National Database” can be established to find out the best experts in the respective fields.
  • The allowances and other facilities for the “Guest Speaker” should be increased.

Reading Materials

  • BPATC should collect updated reading materials regularly.
  • Purchase the access to renowned e-journals database e.g. Blackwell-Synergy, JSTOR, SAGE Publications etc.

ICT Facilities

  • Should expand access of LAN t all faculty members, upgrade computers and equipment, ensure computerization of library services, arrange e-access to information and knowledge and thus ultimately should adopt e-governance[ix]; primarily G2G and then gradually other two components of e-governance: G2C and G2B. Adoption of e-governance in BPATC will make the civil servants more efficient and help them to replicate it in other organizations, they work for.

Monitoring and evaluation of training

  • A comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of training should be established, especially to evaluate the impact of training on job performance.

International Training Complex (ITC)

  • Should take immediate steps to start courses and attract foreigners for training. Our diplomatic missions abroad can play an important role in this regard. The authorities should take steps to disseminate the related information which can be done easily through “e-governance”. For this, BPATC should update its website regularly and should make it more resourceful.

Training Policies

  • Redraft all policies relevant to training in the public service to reflect a gradual paradigm shift and adoption of new principles of continuing professional development and career-long learning, within the context of good governance, citizen focus, and building the civil service’s leadership and managerial capacity.

12. Concluding Remarks

Trained and motivated civil servants are the lifeblood of an effective state (World Bank, 1997 p92). The ILO also underlines that training-or indeed the lack thereof-affects a whole range of policies (ILO, 1998 p33). With technical advancement and mushrooming administrative complexities, the nature of jobs and methods of performing jobs are changing rapidly in modern administrative practice. To cope with these changing dimensions, training today is a crying reality for the public personnel. Attempts should be made to create a new administrative culture which promotes objectivity, integrity and impartiality and fosters esprit de corps among public servants. From that point of view, BPATC as an apex training institution has a significant role to provide the government personnel modern administrative technique to avail the train of development. There is no alternative but to increase its effectiveness for the sake of the development of Bangladesh. For this, BPATC needs to address the demands raised from its training network. BPATC, in line with the demands of its training network, needs to establish a comprehensive “roadmap”. But, the authorities should bear in their mind that a road without map or a map without road will be meaningless.


Ahmed, A. (1984), Bangladesh Public Administration Training and Senior Civil Servants, Dhaka: BASC.

Ahmed, S. G. (2004), “Improving Public Administration Efficiency” in Kalam, A. (ed.) Bangladesh in the New Millennium, Dhaka: The University Press, p137-158.

Ali, M. H. (1998), Effectiveness of Foundation Training Course. Dhaka: BPATC.

Ali, A.M.M. S. (2004), Bangladesh Civil Service, Dhaka: The University Press Limited.

Aminuzzaman, S.M. (1992), “Administrative Reforms and Their Impact on Training the Public Bureaucracy of Bangladesh”, in Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration, 5(4), p438-457.

Bartel, A.P. and Lichtenberg, F. (1987),”The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology”, in Review of Economics and Statistics, 66(1), pp1-11.

Becker, G.S. (1964), Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, New York: Columbia University Press.

Beer, M.S. B., Lawrence, P.R., and Quinn M. D. and Walton, R.E. (1984), Managing Human Assets, New York: The Free Press.

BPATC (Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre) (2006a), Course Guidelines of 37th Foundation Training Courses.

BPATC (2006b), Annual Report 2004-2005.

BPATC (2006c), Course Guideline of 55th Advanced Course on Administration and Developmet.

BPATC (2006d), Course Guideline of 45th Senior Staff Course.

Heyes, J. and Stuart, M. (1996), “Does Training Matter? Employee Experiences and Attitudes”, in Human Resource Management Journal, 6(3), pp7-21.

ILO (1999), “Employability in the Global Economy: How Training Matters”, in World Employment Report 1998.  Geneva: ILO.

ILO (1998), Human Resource Development in the Public Service in the Context of Structural Adjustment and Transition, Geneva: ILO.

Khan, M. M.and Zafarullah, H. (2005), The Bureaucratic Ascendancy: Public Administration in Bangladesh: The First Three Decades, Dhaka: A H Development Publishing House.

Krogt, F.V. and Warmerdam, J. (1997),”Training in Different Types of Organizations: Differences and Dynamics in the Organizations of Learning at Work” in The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 8(1) pp87-104. 

Krogt, F. V. (1995), Learning in Networks: Organizing Learning Systems by Human and Labour Standards. Utrecht: Lemma Uitgeverij.

Ministry of Establishment of Bangladesh (1998), Report on Strengthening Public Administration Training in Bangladesh, Vol.1, Dhaka: Asian Development Bank.

Osborne, D. (2001), “Re-educating Managers: from Training for Competence to Training for Commitment”, in International Review of Administrative Sciences, 67(4) pp435-447.

Public Administration Efficiency Study (1989), Vol. 2, November.

Public Administration Reform Commission (2000), Public Administration for 21st Century, Vol.1.

Paul, S. (1983), Training for Public Administration and Management in Development Countries: A Review, Washington D.C.: World Bank.

Rahman, F.U. and Husain, A.I., (1980), “The Civil Service System in Pakistan”, Amara Taksastayara and Heirich Scidentope, (eds.) in Asian civil Service: Developments and Trends, Kuala Lumpur: APDCV.

Rainbird, H. (1994), “Continuing Training”, in Sisson, K. (ed.), Personnel Management, Oxford: Blackwell.

Robbins, S. P. (2001), Organizational Behavior, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Senge, P. (1990), The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, New York: Doubleday.

Siddiquee, N. A. (1993), “Public Service Training in Bangladesh: A Critical Overview”, in Politics, Administration and Change, 21(2) pp17-27.

Smith, A. and Hayton, G. (1999), “What Drives Enterprise Training? Evidence from Australia”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 10(2) pp251-272.

UN (United Nations) (1966), Handbook of Training in the Public Service, New York: UN.

UNDP Report (1993), Report on Public Administration Sector Study in Bangladesh. Dhaka: UNDP.

UNDP Report (2007), Building a 21st Century Public Administration in Bangladesh: Civil Service Reform Program, a draft report, Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh.

UNDP and Ministry of Establishment (2007a), Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Study on BPATC Training Course Curricula Review and Cost Effectiveness of Training, Dhaka: UNDP.

UNDP and Ministry of Establishment (2007b), Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Institutional Development (ID) Plan for Bangladesh Public Administration Training Canter (BPATC), Dhaka: UNDP.

UNDP and Ministry of Establishment (2006), Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Role and Effectiveness of Bangladesh Civil Service in Achieving Millennium Development Goals, Dhaka: UNDP.

Watkins, K. and Marsick, V. (1992), Towards a Theory of Informal and Incidental Learning in Organizations, in International Journal of Lifelong Education, 11(4) pp287-300.

World Bank (1997), World Development Report: The State in a Changing World, Oxford: Oxford University Press.


BPATC (2007),, Retrieved on 25-03-07.

End Notes

[i] For more, see: Becker, G.S. (1964) Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis with Special Reference to Education., New York: Columbia University Press.

[ii] For more, see: Bartel, A.P. And Lichtenberg, F. “The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 66(1):1-11.

[iii] For details please see: Rainbird, H. (1994) “Continuing Training”. In Sisson, K. (ed.) Personnel Management, 2nd edn.,Oxford: Blackwell; Heyes, J. and Stuart, M. (1996) “Does Training Matter? Employee Experiences and Attitudes”, Human Resource Management Journal, Vol.6:No.3, p7-21 and Beer, M.S.B., Lawrence, P.R., Quinn, M. D. and Walton, R.E. (1984) Managing Human Assets, New York: The Free Press.

[iv] Krogt, F.V. (1995) draws a distinction between three central processes within training or, as he calls it, a learning system: the qualification of members of the organization, i.e. the execution of learning activities, the development of training programmes and the shaping of a training policy. The qualification of the members of the organization is the 'primary process' of the training system. Organization members (input) go through this process (throughput) and are 'processed' to become better qualified organization members (output).

[v] A training network can be seen as compositions of actors which interact together, in variable relationships, undertake activities to generate learning processes. Krogt (1995) has identified five aspects which are central to a training network: the actors, organizational structure, the content structure, the culture and the main process of the learning system. For details: Krogt. F. V., (1995) Learning in Networks: Organizing Learning Systems by Human and Labour Standards, Utrecht: Lemma Uitgeverij.

[vi] It is known as MATT 2 because it follows an earlier, smaller (3-year) MATT 1 program that ended in 2002.

* Figure in parenthesis indicates number of respondents.

* Figure in parenthesis indicates number of respondents.

* Time is subject to change according to sunrise and sunset.

[vii] For the recommendations of the various studies please see: PARC(Public Administration Reform Commission),( 2000), Public Administration for 21st Century, Vol.1, p.38; MoE (1998), Report on Strengthening Public Administration Training in Bangladesh, Vol.1, Dhaka: Asian Development Bank, p.14-15; UNDP (1993), Public Administration Sector Study in Bangladesh(PASS), p.94; UNDP and MoE. (2007) “Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Institutional Development (ID) Plan for Bangladesh Public Administration Training Center (BPATC)”, Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh, p.13; UNDP and MoE. (2007) “Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Study on BPATC Training Course Curricula Review and Cost Effectiveness of Training”, Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh, p.35 and UNDP (2007) “Building a 21st Century Public Administration in Bangladesh: Civil Service Reform Program”, (Draft), Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh, p.64.

[viii] The proposed curricula by UNDP will be helpful in this regard, for details: UNDP and MoE, (2007). Preparatory Assistance on Developing Civil Service Capacity for 21st Administration: Study on BPATC Training Course Curricula Review and Cost Effectiveness of Training, Dhaka: UNDP Bangladesh, p.35.

[ix] E-governance is composed of three components: G2G- involves interaction among government officials, whether within a government office or within government offices; G2C- involves interaction of individual citizens with the government; G2B- involves interaction of business entities with the government.