By Dr.Khine Khine Win
After attending consultative workshop for “Establishing the Myanmar Civil Services Academy“ , many thoughts relating to civil service came into my mind. What is civil service? What are the values of civil service? Why we need to strengthen human resources of civil service? What is relation between democracy and civil service?
Civil service has diverse meaning. My understanding is that civil service is one of the most important part of a government as it enables a country to function properly and to deliver public services. They are politically impartial employees who work for a department regardless of which political party is in power.
For the time being, in Myanmar, in order to create an efficient, effective, accountable and transparent governance, we absolutely need civil service reform. As we are on the way to democratic society, we need to promote better delivery of public goods and services with increased accountability. All civil servants are needed to hone their ability on the whetstone to improve their performance. They should upgrade their knowledge and skills to keep themselves ready to perform the statutory duties impartially. In any democracy, ministers are responsible to the people through parliament and therefore civil servants have to be accountable to the ministers. At the same time, implementing the policies of the duly elected government is a core function of civil servants.
According to Gol-UNDP Project, “Strengthening Human Resources Management of Civil Services”, there are four pillars for good governance and citizen centric administration. They are Ethos, Ethics, Equity and Efficiency (4Es).Here we need to know the values of civil services. According to Gol-UNDP Project, “Strengthening Human Resources Management of Civil Services”, there are four pillars for good governance and citizen centric administration. They are Ethos, Ethics, Equity and Efficiency (4Es). Being a civil servant, understanding the civil service value and act accordingly is important. And also they need to act ethically and behaves in an open fair and transparent manner. They have to be expressed and embodied in practical, visible ways, in behaviors and actions. It is important to help staff translate each value into expected or unacceptable behaviors, and to create awareness of these behaviors through different means. Here, we need to ensure that every level in departments and ministries not only understand the values, but are equipped to behave consistently with those values in every aspect of work.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said that “civil servants must strive to win the trust of public by being reliant and carried out their jobs in the interest of the people”. In order to assist effectively in the interest of the people, civil servants need to understand the needs of the people and constantly strives to improve the services. And also they need to understand what is required in their role and how this contributes to departmental priorities.
Let me highlight the role of mindset here. Dr.Win Thein, Chairman of the Union Civil Service Board, said in his speech at opening of management course for heads of service organizations that “the need for Myanmar citizen to bring about change in the country, as development cannot be effectuated just by the words correct perception is the key to changing mindsets”. I totally agreed with him. Changing perception is critical to changing mindsets. And I think a good mindset will reflect reality and will help you in daily life. It is the time to change our mindsets as much as to build a peace and prosperous nation.
In order to nurture efficient civil service personnel, it is essential to train civil servants from all service organizations — both departments and enterprises. In this regard Government needs to encourage and motivate civil servants by giving them necessary training and exposure to be able to exert their almost effort. More training opportunities to civil servants could certainly help them to upgrade and seek higher positions within the service.
Civil service personnel are the bedrock of public administration and it has assumed more important role in democracy to ensure god governance. No government can exist without administrative machinery. As Myanmar is new to the democratic institution, it is only the stable and efficient civil service that can strengthen the democracy.