Problems Of Training Needs DeterminationIn The Public Service In Sudan The Case Of The Agricultural Sector

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Soheir Kamal El Banna, El Banna
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The need for management training and development is an obvious fact. With new developments and socio-political changes in the world environment, training has gained even greater impetus as a means of meeting the challenges of globalization and technological advancement. Organizational efficiency and effectiveness have increasingly become reliant on the quality and ingenuity of its management. Management training and development in Sudan have long been sought by various means to secure efficient management, especially for implementation of its development plans. Nevertheless, all contemporary studies and reports attributed the failure of development efforts to administrative inefficiency. The most relevant question raised in relation to management efficiency has been concerned with the relevance of the on-going training to the real needs of management in Sudan. Contemporary training theories advocate that the relevance of training could be achieved only through systematic assessment of training needs of organizations as well as of employees. As surveyed in the present study, such assessment is a prodigious task that needs full grasp of its concepts and methodologies. Further, it needs full commitment on the part of an organization’s leadership, as well as the availability of basic structural requirements, including clear organizational objectives and plans, manpower policies and plans, performance standards and a viable performance appraisal. Therefore this research was designed to investigate the subject of training needs determination in the Sudan’s public service organizations based on the following two hypotheses: 1. That the basic structural requirements are not sufficiently available in any public sector organizations; and hence the basic requirements to launch systematic needs assessment does not exist and 2. There is a general lack of awareness within public service organizations regarding the value and means of effecting the training process, hence training is only paid lip service and treated in isolation from the organizations’ strategic plans. The field chosen for this study is the agricultural sector, for its importance in the development of the country. The focus of the study is on management training and development, since needs assessment related to this category of employees is even more difficult for the lack of precise quantitative data pertaining to their tasks and performance. The adopted methodology is based on a case study approach in which the process of training needs determination is investigated in four agriculture sector organizations with different identities, different structural set-up and different financial and administrative autonomy. Te major findings of the research are that: the basic structural requirements for systematic needs assessment are not equally present in the four organizations. However, even where present they are not used effectively for the purpose of training needs assessment. The process of training in all organizations investigated follows a reserved route, in which training opportunities are sought first, and then employees are fitted into those opportunities as circumstances may avail. No needs analysis is conducted (in any of the four organizations) to determine the exact need of the organization or of individuals therein for the particular type of training; a situation that indicates an absence of awareness and a lack of know-how about the process of needs assessment. However some change is observed in the case of the agricultural bank where a discernible effort is being made by its training department to systematize the needs assessment process. This may be attributed to the fact that the training officials at ABS have themselves already had a series of training courses in the subject of “training management” and “training needs assessment”, unlike the case with the other three organizations. This fact reinforces the validity of the second hypothesis which states that lack of awareness could be the principal problem hindering systematic training needs assessment within the subject organizations. In view of the complex nature of the process (of training needs assessment) and the reality of the Sudanese public organizations, characterized by lack of institutionalism this study tends to conclude that: lack of awareness, on the part management, of the value systematic needs assessment and its impact of the training seems to be the biggest problem hindering systematic needs assessment. In the case of ABS, efforts of the training department were often obscured by the undue intervention from line managers in the course of allocating training opportunities. Nevertheless, no evidence has been provided to show that need analysis was at the base of their intervention. Hence this study proposes a simpler and more practical model of training needs assessment that can inspire greater involvement of the management, the training department and the employees, in a more consultative manner focusing on the personal behaviour of employees in their jobs, rather than focusing on a fixed requirement of the job. This approach seems to be rather contemporary, more attuned to meet the changing nature of today’s work, and at the same time urging the organizations to think continuously of the required skills necessary for their survival, growth and excellence
Problems Of Training Needs DeterminationIn The Public Service In Sudan The Case Of The Agricultural Sector