Managing Access, Assurance and Ability: What Should Rural Development Managers Learn and Unlearn?
Training of rural development managers has attracted considerable attention in the recent past in light of the drive in the Central Government for upgrading the professional skills of development managers. However, the thrust is either training people at the lower levels or sending senior managers including public servants abroad. The relationship between political economy, socio-ecological context and the training pedagogy have neither been systematically analyzed nor pursued. The paper makes a case for building upon experiential knowledge of the rural development managers and suggest alternative training approaches which can demystify the expert knowledge and at the same time provide a basis for greater collegiality between trainer and trainees. The match between theory and practice will also improve if further refinements in the methodology suggested here is attempted. Need for innovations in designing curricula and training strategies for senior as well as junior level of development bureaucracy cannot be over-emphasized. It is strongly suggested that top bureaucracy in the central and state government as well as public corporations, banks etc. need far more training to modify their perceptions of the problem and likely solutions than the middle managers. Likewise the last level of functionaries also need much greater attention. Excessive emphasize on training middle managers is bound to prove counterproductive. The paper is eidted into four parts. In part one the conceptual framework link space, season, sector and social stratification besides access, assurance and ability are discussed. In part two the issues which have arisen during various training programmes in which administrators were asked to share their dilemma are given. Part three includes review of rural development training programmes in some of the institutions and finally alternative approaches for future training strategies are given in part four.
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