“About 5,000 Personnel Have Passed Through Our Institution”

What is expected of CEFAM concerning the recent code on decentralization?

The code is really a way forward in the process of decentralisation in our country. That code is also providing for the local public staff regulation. Happily, the Regions will have to be put in place. This means that the role CEFAM will have to play will be very central and very important. We will have to go into our curriculum and adapt the content to the new context. This is because some modules that we are using to train Local Council staff only may not be automatically adapted to the structure of Regions. That is the challenge we, at CEFAM, are facing with regard to the code on decentralisation.

There is a provision that Councillors, Mayors, Administrators like Divisional Officers or Senior Divisional Officers should be trained at CEFAM in local governance. Is it usually the case?

I can confirm it for Mayors and some municipal councillors. We entered a partnership with the National Community-driven Development Programme (PNDP) through which we trained councillors here at CEFAM. We went closer to those Councils in faraway places and offered them training. For Administrators like SDOs of DOs it has not really been like that. By the text organizing CEFAM we also have to train officials involved in the supervision of Councils. Is the current intake at CEFAM satisfactory for staff demand in Councils? Of course, within the new context there should be an increase in the number we train here.

Do you have the figures readily in mind about how many council staff have been trained in CEFAM since inception in 1977 for the 360 councils in the country?

Our training is offered in two ways. We have the basic training here whereby graduates are awarded diplomas and there are also refresher courses. Without going into records, there are about 5,000 persons who have passed through this institution. But it is not enough. There is more need. For the basic training, I can say about 3,000 have received Diplomas here and for refresher courses we have trained about 2,000 persons. It is not enough and the quota has to be increased. In the present dispensation will your institution continue to close its doors to holders of University Degrees?

The Minister in charge of Decentralization and Local Development, Mr. Elanga Obam, is focusing on it. As I previously said, CEFAM is undergoing a reform and we have to increase the level of recruitment. Councils are facing new challenges. They now enjoy transferred powers, so they should have qualified staff for Mayors to have greater output to promote local development. So, the reform is going on and certainly many more things will be done by Government.

So, in the near future University Degrees holders may postulate to be trained in CEFAM? Of course, that should be in the reform process. But, as I say, it is not within my prerogative to announce such reforms conceived by Government. What about the trainers at CEFAM? How qualified are they?

Since I took over the management of CEFAM we have been making the effort to bring to CEFAM the trainers that are really qualified. We brought Lecturers from Universities. We brought in experienced State staff. We brought even people from the civil society. It depends on the curriculum vitae of the individual. In that aspect, we have nothing to complain about. What may you say about the status of Council staff? It should be a status that gives them some guarantee in the going on of their career at the local level. It should not just be managed on the basis of the labour code. There should be a public service regulation at the local level.

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