Written by Mekong Institute

Governance issues are at the center of many of the most pressing challenages confronting any county including those of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Governance issues greatly affected a multitute of stakeholders, including banks, financiers, donors, suppliers, consumers, governments and regulators, world-bodies, shareholders and investors, and society generally. The promotion of good governance (including corporate governace) in the GMS has been identified as a priority by these stakeholders including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and GMS governments.  

In recognition of this priority, the Mekong Institute (MI) organised the course on “The Role of Corporate Governance in GMS Growth”. This course is also part of MI’s ongoing effort to link its training to the major regional integration programs of ASEAN, ADB, and major regional organizatons. It is the first MIcourse on corporate goverance, held from 14 July-22 August 2003, with financial assistance from the New Zealand Agency for International development (NZAID) and the ADB.  

This course was organised to enable course participants to understand and deal more effectively with the issues of coporate governance in the region and their respective countriesand to provide a forum for participants to exchange views and experiences in the area with one another. In addition, the course aimed at improving participants’ skills for analysis and presentation, achieving their Internet literacy; strengthening the “Greater Mekong Spirit”; and fostering a network of professional contacts.

A variety of course activities and methods were organised to achieve optimum outcomes as specified against the course objectives above. These included two broad groups of activities: teaching and learning activities (lecturing, class discussion, group assignment, guest presentation, field research visit, English training, training on Internet searching, Power Point and presentation preparation and delivery); and social and recreational activities. The course adopted participatory course delivery mode, focused on capacity (knowledge and skill) development, and was action-oriented.

Thirty-four participants from the six GMS countries attended this course. They are from government departments, enterprises/ coporations (including SOEs), central and commercial banks, researc or training institutes, etc. Twenty-five of them (74% of the total) were women, the highest proportion of all MI courses. Thirty participants were funded by NZAID, and 4 by ADB.

Four experts from Malaysia and New Zealand taught this course. Two of them had taught previous MI courses. In addition, four practitioners-two from private companies, one from Bank of Thiland, and one from Bureau of Budget, Thialand delivered guest presentations. The involvement of these experts expanded MI databse of resource persons.

On-course monitoring and post-course evalutaton indicated that the course topics and objectives were generally well considered. Six modules were designed and delivered as the main part of this course. Fifty percent or more participants rated 4 of these modules as “very useful and interesting”. Two modules ( module 2 and module 6) received slightly lower ratings mainly due to the less relevance of topic in module 2 and the lack of participants familiarity with capital markets on module 6.

Lectures, class discussions and guest presentations were well delivered or organised, as participants rated them as “very helpful”. Same as with the another group of course activities such as weekend trips and welcome and farewell parties. The rating on course organisation and support services was high as well.

As a result, the outcomes of this course are satisfying and the course achieved its objectives. The majority of participants indicated that from this course they gaind a lot of knowledge and skills for dealing with corporate goverance issues, developed skills for analysis and presentation, achieved computer and Internet literacy, and built a spirit of cooperation and a network of professional and personal contacts among themselves. Overall, 15 (44%) of the 34 participants were “very satisfied” with the course and 17 were “satisfied” with it.

There are rooms for improvement, of course. These are reflected in those recommendations from both participants and presenters. All these will be useful lessons and have significant implications for future MI courses in particular and courses on such theme/ topic elsewhere in general.

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