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Shanghai to improve quality of civil servants
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-02 22:20

As part of a dramatic overhaul of its civil service, Shanghai will send 100,000 employees back to school.

Once considered secure, life-long employment; the civil service in the nation's financial hub will see dramatically different standards in the near future.

Not only will civil servants have to undergo intense retraining, but those who fail may face lay-offs.

The move is intended to match the institutional and administrative quality of the civil service to the image of the metropolis.

All local civil servants will undergo Master for Public Administration (MPA) courses by the year 2008, local official sources said.

At the same time, Shanghai also plans to get rid of the traditional life-long employment.

Civil servants will be required to participate in the programme, touted as the most ambitious one in the country to date.

The MPA training will include eight major courses including economics, public administration, government policies, ethics, organizational behaviour and administrative laws.

The city's 100,000 civil servants will be expected to take qualification exams this year, said Ding Xuexiang, director of Shanghai Municipal Personnel Bureau.

Civil servants who fail will be re-trained at the bureau and will have to take the exams again. If they fail again, they could be laid off.

Bureau officials said many people consider civil service positions as stable, presentable and life-long with good salaries to boot.

The problem is that, while good performances can lead to promotion, there is no punishment for doing a bad job.

The drastic overhaul is aimed at giving city employees real motivation with both rewards and punishments.

Officials who designed the reform said the possibility of lay-offs will ensure civil servants treasure their jobs, improve efficiency and offer better service.

According to the municipal personnel bureau, the overhaul is an important part of the personnel system reform in the city.

The performance of civil servants has direct impact on efficiency of the Shanghai local government and is crucial to the overall image of Shanghai.

In a pilot project last year, civil servants were asked to take an exam on professionalism and ethics.

About 200 failed the examination and were demoted, while 12.8 per cent qualified as excellent.

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