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.
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.
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.
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.