Public Service and UB Sign MOU for Training and Assessment

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The Hon. Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour, National Insurance and the Public Service, bringing the challenge for the continuous development and training for Public Servants at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of the Public Service and the University of The Bahamas, January 12, 2017 at UB. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of the Public Service and the University of The Bahamas (UB) for the continuous development and training of Public Servants.

The historic agreement was signed on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the auditorium of the Harry C. Moore Library at UB, and was viewed as an important step in a productive relationship between The Government & UB.

Signatories to the agreement were the Hon. Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour, National Insurance and the Public Service; Dr. Rodney Smith, President, UB; Hyacinth Winder-Pratt, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Public Service; and Dr. Linda Davis, Provost, UB.

Mr. Gibson, in his remarks, underscored the importance of the MOU for the assessment of some 70 First Assistant Secretaries. “The signing of this historic Memorandum of Understanding, therefore, signals the Government’s intent to provide for continuous, meaningful and relevant training and skills development for its employees. “We, in Government, recognize that the benefits to this partnership are incomparable,” he said.

One of the main objectives of the MOU is to obtain useful research material on skills needed and processes that need to be reviewed and eliminated, amended or strengthened. Information in the courses will be benchmarked to introduce best practices for the country.

The National Development Plan Report noted that development of The Bahamas would depend upon four key pillars namely Human Capital, Governance, the Natural and Built Environment and the Economy, Mr. Gibson recalled.

In part, the Report also noted, “Human Capital is about people – who they are, how they are educated, how they work, how they get along, and how they are supported in times of need. People are the first pillar. A country’s human capital is the sum of its people’s education, skills and training, and their ability to use their knowledge in their work. Governance, the second pillar, focuses on how people and the country are managed. It is about the institutions that exist and how well they work.’’ He said that this quote encapsulates the purpose of signing the MOU with UB.

And, a partnership between the University and the Government of The Bahamas for the training of civil servants is a personal goal of the Prime Minister.

“This goal has arisen out of the acknowledgement that the myriad challenges facing our country today are new and complex. Today, we face challenged economies, diversity of views, sexuality, cultures and mixed generations in the workplace; faster ways of communication and greater opportunities for security breaches; threats to the natural environment and aging built environments and infrastructure; outdated legislature and processes; globalization, shifting population demographics; lack of customer satisfaction and an apathetic workforce….” Mr. Gibson said.

He further noted that the signing of the MOU also signals the Government’s

intent to provide for continuous, meaningful and relevant training and skills development for its employees.

Further, the Government recognizes that the University has the capacity, in collaboration with the Public Service, to design, develop, implement and organize the courses at the appropriate levels.

Additionally, the University should ensure high and consistent standards in the delivery of courses, Mr. Gibson said.

He added: “It is imperative however, that particularly in its embryonic stage, skilled and experienced Public Officers are used to teach as the public officers who graduate from these programmes must have a working knowledge of the system, which is supported by theory.”

On the other hand, he said that this partnership should also be beneficial to the University in causing its programmes to remain relevant to the country’s needs, where applicable.

Mr. Gibson congratulated those who worked “tirelessly” to get the programme started, which, he observed, is weighted with possibilities.

In congratulating the participants, he challenged them to give their best as their intelligence, dedication to excellence, integrity and skills will be required if the government is to find ways to reduce or eradicate threats to the sustained development of The Bahamas.

He also challenged them to “use this time to gain knowledge, strengthen professional relationships, engage in networking and envision the possibilities. Among you are future Permanent Secretaries and the Secretary to the Cabinet.”