New Training Methods for Algeria's Next Political Challenges

As far as he can remember, Algerian born Noureddine Benaidja always expressed interest for a position in the public sector, not a surprise as both his parents pursued their careers working for the government. After four years at Alger's Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), he started to work for the Interior Ministry since 2001. He then studied law, both in Algeria and in France. Now aged 38 and still living thirty miles from Alger, he's still working on his Ph. D. while holding the position of Training Officer for the Ministry.

His everyday work includes the management of four different teams, organizing conventions with university and school authorities, or monitoring the five large training centre of the State throughout the country. “Such a job requires a strong leadership, confirmed negotiation skills, and a solid knowledge of the public administration regulations. We are given a clear set of rules to apply and work with, but we enjoy nonetheless some flexibility. Hence, we are very careful to hear from our partners, to know what their needs and expectations are, so we can translate it into the proper training path for everyone.”

“What I enjoy most is getting to know people in the field, especially from the academia or trade schools. It has allowed me to bond with individuals with a different mindset than people inside the Ministry, who sometimes can be quite 'square'. And since I have yet to finish my Ph. D., these encounters help me keep in touch with my studies, it gives me food for thought. It also enables me to travel abroad and make great contacts with other training officers in China, Netherland or Spain, it definitely has broadened my horizons.”

“In recent years, Algeria has made a tremendous effort in order to catch up on its investments regarding material infrastructures. We are now entering phase two, and focusing the human resources. The Interior Ministry has made it one of its priorities to level up the expertise of our executives in order to match international standards. Just last year, many reforms have been introduced in the ENA's training programmes, and we'll soon open new training sectors directed at Middle-rank officials of the administration, including a whole set of new technologies like biometric documents for example. Our objective is to improve the quality of the services provided by officials in contact with our citizen.”

“One of the biggest challenges will be introducing e-learning, which will be of great use for such a large country, with some training centers located more than 1200 miles from Algeria. This will require breaking away from classic teaching patterns."

“The UNITAR courses I took in 2016 was great in this regard, with new methods and interactions between the teachers and their audience. We were given case studies that many of us have put to use in our daily tasks.”

“I can't deny I was quite skeptical at first, as I expected some 'ex cathedra' courses. Many older colleagues at the Ministry, sometimes with more than twenty years of old habits, weren't especially thrilled. But all it took was half a day of new exciting methods like role-plays and everybody was on board.”

“Until these courses, I used to work in a more rigid, top-down way with people around me, giving instructions based on the elements I received. Since then, I learned to work in a more cooperative way, we are having more meetings, where everybody has a say, and the cases we're dealing with are everyone's responsibility, with no more arguing about who should be the only one in charge. At first glance, it seems like it's taking much more time, but at the end of the day, it helps getting things done more quickly, with a lot less resistance when it comes to practical implementations.” 

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