Several members of the Institute of Development Studies been engaged since the beginning of this year in a research project on Public Administration Training. The project is being directed by Colin Leys and the author. Working with them is Theo Mars, also in the Institute. According to the plan of work drawn up before the project itself started operation in January of this year, the first batch of case studies are now under way in the field. A number of colleagues are involved in this side of the work, which this year is primarily concentrated on African Institutes and next year is planned to go further afield into Asia and the South Pacific.
The project is concerned to look at the work being done about the training of public servants for higher administrative duties, particularly where that training is conducted with fairly set programmes in specifically created Institutes. The importance of that sort of training is already recognised explicitly in many aid programmes.
It is relatively costly in terms of manpower and other resources, but it raises many other interesting questions: for example the very obvious difference between francophone territories where there was a clear domestic model to be followed, and the anglophone territories where there was no such model, and where there was much more openness to very important influences from powerful sources of American aid and of American ideas and theories about public administration itself.
Administrative training in institutes has been an obvious focus for technical assistance. The number of institutes over the last generation has grown rapidly from barely anything to a very high number indeed.