PC 89/6 (a)|
Rome, 5 – 9 May 2003
The Thematic Review of FAO’s Training Activities – An Update on Follow-up Action
1. A Thematic Review of FAO’s Training Activities undertaken in 2000-01 at the request of the 86th session of the Programme Committee concluded that although FAO’s training activities conducted during 1994-99 have been broadly satisfactory in terms of quality and usefulness in the circumstances under which they have evolved, there are several important issues requiring attention. In response to the review, FAO Senior Management requested the establishment of an inter-departmental Task Force on FAO’s Training Activities, convened by the Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE) in 2001, to formulate a set of proposals for follow-up actions to address the evaluation recommendations and the resource implications of such proposed improvements. A progress report was presented to the 87th Programme Committee session in May 2002 during which the Committee expressed appreciation for the work of the Task Force.
2. In its report of April 2002, the Task Force presented a set of proposals to address those aspects of training to which the Thematic Review drew particular attention and the resource implications of such proposed improvements. Specific recommendations were made on the need to develop or strengthen: a) a corporate approach to training; b) reporting and monitoring on training; c) institutional support to the delivery of FAO’s external training; and d) the application of cost-effective applications of learning approaches such as distance learning. In this Note, Senior Management wishes to respond to the Committee’s request for an update on measures taken to improve FAO’s training.
3. The lack of a designated institutional focal point with an information, feedback and support function on training was identified by the Thematic Review of Training as a factor affecting the quality of training offered by FAO. In response to this issue, Management has established a corporate focal point for training in the Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE) of the Sustainable Development Department. The primary duty of this focal point will be to support technical units in the planning and delivery of training. Among its responsibilities, the focal point will have a role in:
4. A Training Network with a long term horizon was also established with representatives from all departments and independent offices at Headquarters and in the Regional Offices. This inter-departmental pool of expertise will enhance the sharing of information, best practices and lessons learnt across the house. The Training Network will focus on how best to improve the quality, delivery and reporting of FAO’s external training, including looking at the various aspects of establishing simple, practical and cost effective tools and mechanisms to improve on reporting, monitoring and evaluation of training.
5. Progress has already been made in relation to some recommendations of the Task Force. For example, SDR and GIL have developed a corporate distance learning framework to guide future activities in this area; GIL is working with different technical units in the development and testing of interactive learning modules on information management for distance learning; AFH conducted a survey of staff in FAO involved in training plus a staff training needs assessment study on the basis of which AFH will plan the next cycle of internal staff training.
6. In summary, the problems identified by the Thematic Review of FAO’s Training are receiving attention and remedial measures are being worked out. While some of the recommendations of the Task Force can be acted upon immediately, others such as the development of a corporate training website or the establishment of an operational corporate system for reporting, monitoring and evaluation of training, will be gradually implemented as financial and human resources become available.