A visit to the National Training Academy (NTA) is a journey to the future, where modern administrative and leadership concepts are being formed. Since its inception in 2015, the NTA has been working to empower the country’s system with updated methods in policy-making and management, modernising in the process the traditional concepts of public administration.
Egypt has had a public administrative system since its establishment. Despite its long history and skills acquired, it has also aged, becoming an obstacle to coping with the latest developments. This old and overgrown system has been resisting change. It has become a challenge and a stumbling block for creative thinking to modernise the country.
The NTA’s mission is focused on "thinking, learning and creating." It starts with thinking about our challenges, learning about the different perspectives of the issues at hand, and providing efficient cadres capable of offering creative solutions. This is the shortest way to modernise the system.
The comprehensive studies launched by the academy on issues such as climate change, the environment, the economy and the current trade wars are creating the new leaders in the administrative system. Managers and executives are not only trained on how to administer their duties. Their training includes watching plays, listening to music, reading literary works, and practising sports. This image of a manager is totally different from the stereotyped features of our administrators who are grim and narrow-minded, and insist on applying the rules through crippling the system. And, lest we forget, there are also the hundreds of stamps and signatures that are required to decorate an application.
The NTA director, Rasha Ragheb, presented a thorough understanding of the academy’s mission. She knows the academy is a catalyst for human development and that human capital is a nation's most valuable asset. The academy is thus seen as a means to prepare individuals who can fully integrate into the region while maintaining their Egyptian identity.
The challenges of renovating the administrative system and the heavy burden of moving towards a new phase where Egyptians are empowered by the modern tools to cope with the future have come to the forefront of the academy’s agenda. The academy has a distinguished team of experts whose main achievements have been spreading positive energy and designing well-planned programmes for the different types and age groups of the administrative corp. However, it is the youngsters who want more than to learn the technology and have the desire to venture into new worlds of creativity that has been the academy’s real mission. They will bridge the gap between the old and the new, and the academic vision as introduced by the NTA will help them access through the doors of modernity.
Many of the academy’s graduates are now assisting ministers and governors and occupying leading posts. Those still being trained are fully aware of the global challenges and sciences. The academy’s programs cope with the international standards that facilitate the learning process and promote the desire to learn more.
The academy came to being as one of the recommendations adopted at the youth forums annually attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. The positive interaction between the president and the young people was behind the establishment of the academy. Trainees from all over the country are now part of an ongoing process to reach out to the people from Upper Egypt to Siwa and from the Mediterranean to the Red sea. This is a new spirit that will be injecting fresh blood into the system and will make our dreams come true.
*The writer is the editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram daily newspaper