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Strengthening Management Practices in Public and Civil Society Organizations

By Gulalai Khan

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The 2012 United Nations Development Program ranked Pakistan 146th in the world on the Human Development Index. The Middle Eastern country is working to overcome this ranking and is getting some outside help.

ASPA President Stephen E. Condrey and a team of management experts recently visited Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan as part of an international committee helping with developing and training public servants in Pakistan. As a member of the special international advisory committee, President Condrey met with Lahore University faculty to discuss recommendations for a new Pakistani center for public management.

The center aims to address several factors that contribute to Pakistan’s poor UNDP statistic. The country is overpopulated with lack of access by millions of citizens to basic health and education facilities. Ineffective and dated practices in public sector organizations have also caused delay and stagnation in the delivery of timely and efficient services to the public.

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Through the Assessment and Strengthening Program (ASP-LUMS) funded by USAID, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) has worked to develop the Centre for Public Management (CPM). ASP-LUMS helps train Pakistan’s public sector managers in core areas of financial management, procurement management, monitoring & evaluation and human resources & administration. Other areas of training include fiscal decentralization, leadership and cultural change, gender dimension, communication strategy and management and procurement audit.

Over the past three years, ASP-LUMS has trained over 1,200 public and CSO sector managers. The Centre for Public Management will work towards strengthening Pakistan’s public service and civil sector institutions by developing their public management knowledge compatible with current and future requirements. The CPM will include certificate as well as degree programs for serving public sector officials as well as undergraduate students who would want to take up public management as a career option.

During their visit, Condrey and the rest of the advisory committee—which included Dr. James Douglas, Professor at University of North Carolina and Dr. Kendra Stewart, Director of the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center and Associate Professor and Director MPA program at the College of Charleston—held extensive meetings with the ASP-LUMS team headed by Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, Chief of Party ASP-LUMS. The committee shared their experience of sustainability in universities from the United States and expressed high hopes that the CPM would play its part in strengthening Pakistan’s institutions.

“It has been my great pleasure to work with LUMS on this important project.  I believe a Center for Public Management is a crucial first step in helping to strengthen Pakistani administrative systems.  I am confident that LUMS has the faculty, resources and resolve to build a world-class public management program,’’ said Dr. Condrey.

The advisory committee formally presented their recommendations on the CPM to the Vice Chancellor of LUMS. In addition, committee members met with university faculty and attended a special session with students. The level of interest of LUMS students in pursuing a career in public management was high. Many of those in attendance showed keen interest in liaising with the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) for various activities.

pakistan 1Education and training in public management is an important issue for Pakistan, for a variety of reasons:

  • Qualified human resources in the public sector is needed to help Pakistan steer through its various social, economic and political challenges.
  • Business and public sectors overlap in several areas, so the latter needs to develop its capacity and systems to better serve the former’s needs in providing goods and services to society at large.
  • Public management, as a discipline, has not received sufficient attention during the last three to four decades, which has led to its relative decline relative to other emerging areas.

“Working with the ASP-LUMS project has been a very professionally enriching experience for me.  The proposed Center will have a very meaningful impact on public service in Pakistan and provide some very interesting and exciting educational and professional opportunities for students and faculty in the U.S. who are interested,” said Dr. Stewart.

“Our visit to Pakistan was very fulfilling. It is exciting to be a part of the establishment of the Center for Governance and Public Management at LUMS. The university has talented and devoted faculty who are creating a program that is sure to lead the way in transforming and professionalizing the public service in Pakistan. Everyone we met was incredibly friendly and welcoming. I look forward to my next trip back to LUMS” noted Dr. Douglas.

Public leaders and managers now have to acquire skills and modern knowledge that enable them to span organizational boundaries and explore solutions to complex problems.

The management committee offered high praise for the project and LUMS.

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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