Opin­ion

Public Sector Manager - - Contents - Pro­fes­sor Richard M Levin: Prin­ci­pal of the Na­tional School of Govern­ment.

The Na­tional School of Govern­ment plays a cru­cial role in en­hanc­ing the skills of the pub­lic ser­vice

Ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient pub­lic ser­vants play a vi­tal role in de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to the peo­ple and in build­ing a ca­pa­ble de­vel­op­men­tal state – and the Na­tional School of Govern­ment plays an equally im­por­tant role in en­hanc­ing the skills of pub­lic ser­vants.

The school pro­vides ef­fec­tive ed­u­ca­tion, learn­ing and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to em­ploy­ees at all lev­els of the state, na­tional, provin­cial and mu­nic­i­pal; de­vel­op­ing skilled and ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship in the pub­lic sec­tor is crit­i­cal in mak­ing the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan’s (NDP) Vi­sion 2030 a re­al­ity.

The work of the school is driven by the vi­sion ar­tic­u­lated in the NDP that em­pha­sises the need to build skilled and pro­fes­sional pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing the skills and ex­per­tise at ju­nior lev­els nec­es­sary for fu­ture pub­lic sec­tor co­horts.

To quote from the NDP: “Ef­fec­tive train­ing is em­pow­er­ing and makes peo­ple feel val­ued. It fos­ters a shared un­der­stand­ing of ba­sic prin­ci­ples, gives peo­ple a chance to de­velop spe­cific skills or knowl­edge and al­lows a neu­tral en­vi­ron­ment in which work­ers can dis­cuss the chal­lenges they face.”

One size does not fit all

The NDP notes that while the train­ing should in­clude a stan­dard el­e­ment that builds a com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the role and ethos of the pub­lic ser­vice, most train­ing should be tai­lored to the needs of the in­di­vid­ual.

The Na­tional School of Govern­ment (NSG) takes this pro­posal to heart, dis­card­ing a one-size-fits-all ap­proach to train­ing.The school cus­tomises its cur­ricu­lum to suit the needs of each state in­sti­tu­tion.

Pub­lic sec­tor in­sti­tu­tions un­der­take their own work­place skills de­vel­op­ment plan­ning to de­ter­mine the train­ing needs of their em­ploy­ees.The Na­tional School of Govern­ment sup­ports the in­sti­tu­tions by un­der­tak­ing train­ing needs anal­y­sis (TNA). Us­ing tools like the re­ports of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral, as well as the Man­age­ment Per­for­mance As­sess­ment Tool (MPAT), the as­sess­ment fo­cuses the in­di­vid­ual

and in­sti­tu­tional skills re­quired – some­thing that many of train­ing com­peti­tors can­not of­fer.

The train­ing needs anal­y­sis serves as a strate­gic di­ag­nos­tic tool to in­form the con­tent of the cur­ricu­lum, as well as the modal­i­ties of how the pro­grammes are pre­sented.The cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment process is guided by an in­te­grated learn­ing framework which pro­vides the ba­sis of sys­tem­at­i­cally map­ping cour­ses, pro­grammes and qual­i­fi­ca­tions. It is based on three key com­po­nents in­clud­ing the types of skills needed, generic, func­tional and sec­toral; the com­pe­tency clus­ters aligned to ex­ist­ing De­part­ment of Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion frame­works; and ex­pected lev­els of per­for­mance from ba­sic to ad­vanced.

Work­place learn­ing is of­fered through face-to-face en­gage­ments, on­line learn­ing or a blend of the two.

Learn­ing pro­grammes

The Na­tional School of Govern­ment is the only or­gan­i­sa­tion that of­fers the com­pul­sory in­duc­tion pro­gramme for pub­lic ser­vants, to an­swer the NDP's re­quire­ment to es­tab­lish “a stan­dard el­e­ment that builds a com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the role and ethos of the pub­lic ser­vice”. The com­pul­sory in­duc­tion pro­gramme cov­ers all salary lev­els of pub­lic ser­vants through a seg­mented ap­proach. In ad­di­tion, the pro­gramme is now of­fered on­line.

The school also runs the Ex­ec­u­tive In­duc­tion Pro­gramme (EIP), tar­get­ing newly ap­pointed deputy di­rec­tors­gen­eral and di­rec­tors-gen­eral. The pro­gramme sup­port par­tic­i­pants by pro­vid­ing ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing ser­vices.

Fur­ther­more, the Na­tional School of Govern­ment has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of agree­ment to train the staff at a state-owned en­tity about ethics in the work­place.

The in­no­va­tive Ru­tanang Ma Afrika cam­paign taps into the knowl­edge, ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence of re­tired and cur­rent pub­lic ser­vants, while the Lead Fa­cil­i­ta­tors De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme builds the ped­a­gogic ca­pac­ity of lec­tur­ers, teach­ers, and train­ers in the art of ap­plied work­place fa­cil­i­ta­tion.

Go­ing dig­i­tal

The school is in­tro­duc­ing open on­line cour­ses, in­clud­ing man­ag­ing per­for­mance and ethics in the work­place.

The value of open on­line learn­ing is that it is self-paced and en­ables pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees to study dur­ing their own time.

It is pi­lot­ing an open on­line course on fi­nan­cial del­e­ga­tions for pub­lic ser­vice man­agers, in part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Trea­sury.

Strate­gic part­ner­ships

Ca­pa­ble de­vel­op­men­tal states, as the NDP points out, im­prove their ef­fec­tive­ness by build­ing their own ca­pac­ity and learn­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence.The Na­tional School of Govern­ment has taken this no­tion of learn­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence to the in­ter­na­tional level, build­ing strate­gic part­ner­ships and net­works to de­velop ca­pac­ity within South Africa and on the con­ti­nent.

The school part­ners with the Bei­jing Academy of Gov­er­nance, the French École na­tionale d'ad­min­is­tra­tion, and is cur­rently pre­par­ing to sign an agree­ment to part­ner with rep­utable uni­ver­si­ties in the United States.

It is also busy de­vel­op­ing an African Gov­er­nance De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme, in part­ner­ship with the New Part­ner­ship for African De­vel­op­ment (NEPAD), in sup­port of the African Union Com­mis­sion's Agenda 2063. Agenda

2063 calls for the es­tab­lish­ment of ca­pa­ble demo­cratic de­vel­op­men­tal states and in­sti­tu­tions that will trans­form so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic con­di­tions on the con­ti­nent.

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