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Responsive education and training for public service in Africa: the challenges for African SIAs Hanlie van Dyk-Robertson, CEO, AMDIN and Honorary Professor,

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Presentation on theme: "Responsive education and training for public service in Africa: the challenges for African SIAs Hanlie van Dyk-Robertson, CEO, AMDIN and Honorary Professor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Responsive education and training for public service in Africa: the challenges for African SIAs Hanlie van Dyk-Robertson, CEO, AMDIN and Honorary Professor, Faculty of Management, University of the Free State, South Africa

2 Introductory comments

3 MDIs cannot afford to lose sight of their ultimate role and service, the development of the public sector. … MDIs must redefine their training agenda to suit that of their main client, the African Public Service. Prof. Victor Ayeni, 2001 Conference reminded itself of the fact that MDIs have a responsibility to redefine their own relevance within their national, sub-regional and regional contexts, if they are to respond to the capacity deficits that exist and optimise their roles in the policy domain with respect to public administration. Conference noted that such a responsive relationship should be supported by governments nurturing their respective MDIs over a sustained period. Communiqué following AMDIN 2007 conference

4 Paper draws on personal exposure heading up AMDIN since December 2006 Specifically 3 AMDIN regional workshops hosted during June and July 2008 –Dakar, Senegal, Regional workshop for West and Northern Africa –Nairobi, Kenya, Regional workshop for East and Central Africa –Mohale, Lesotho, Regional workshop for Southern Africa

5 Overview of AMDIN –Objective of AMDIN is to facilitate the optimal functioning of African MDIs (TDIs), including Schools and Institutes of Public Administration at Universities (SIAs) –AMDIN Advocates for a conducive policy environment in which African MDIs are to function; and Strengthens the collective capacity of MDIs through sharing of resources and developing relevant skills of management and other employees of MDIs –Values informing AMDIN activities: African Ownership & Strength in collective action and cooperation AMDIN IS A DEVELOPER OF CAPACITY IN THE CAPACITY DEVELOPERS OF AFRICA

6 2009 AMDIN’s Footprint

7 Background on MDIs/ PSTIs Colonial legacy – left behind as important institutional capacity to train indigenous public servants post colonial dispensation Using the idea of Schools and Institutes of Government (SIAs) in an inclusive manner. Therefore include and interchange with: –Management Development Institute (MDI) –ENA(M) and ENAP –Public Sector Training Institute (PSTI) Huge differentiation in this broad class: very important distinction between placement institution in the French tradition and predominantly short course interventions supplementing existing education Many of the issues are connected in cause and effect-loops

8 A comprehensive role for MDIs Training PLUS full spectrum of HRD tools & techniques: e.g. Experiential learning; mentoring & coaching, etc. Training PLUS policy think tank and applied research; Consulting function (organisational development) PLUS training; Cultural change agent; Key role in “professionalisation”

9 Drilling down on issue of responsiveness

10 The reality/ perception of unresponsiveness Capacity development efforts criticized  not sufficient impact –Stature of SIAs being questioned and suspected of inferiority by practitioners/ policy making leadership – no longer at apex of thinking re public administration –Piecemeal and fragmented capacity building interventions –Training initiatives removed from programme logics of government policy initiatives –No proper M&E of impact, return on investment, to serve as refuting evidence etc. –“Short-termism” in thinking & impatience for results undermines preparatory processes –Material used not context sensitive to Africa realities – originate in developed world context, advances models ill suited for African needs –Training facilitators increasingly not rooted in public sector praxis – straight from University, with PhD or less (often educated outside of Africa)

11 Some dimensions that underpins any answer re responsiveness What is the role of the SIAs? –Training, education, placement, consultancy, research, What are their key priorities? –Public service focus or wider (private sector, NGOs, communities, etc) Who are their main clients? –Government institutions or individuals who wishes to advance own careers –Which level of government –Donors and development partners or national governments How does the context look that SIAs training/ building capacity for? –Current prevailing situation or for the future? –What most important – perceived quality, available with immediate effect, or context specific?

12 “Central powers are hesitating re where itself is heading. This makes it impossible for MDIs to function properly.” Participant, AMDIN regional workshop, North and West Africa, June 2008

13 Capacity of the capacity developers (MDIs) have been eroded and neglected over past 30 years Budget cuts and pressures for self sustainability As a consequence Human Resource Issues in MDIs Research and OD functions sacrificed

14 Not Profitable Highly profitable Private, Individual Government, Institutional I III II IV Tempting cash-cows To be avoidedDevelopmental, public purpose Strategic, sustainable Priorities influenced by resource considerations

15 Did not anticipate the future of (African) public administration adequately Reactive, not pro-active (needs assessment methodologies currently applied focusses on immediately experienced needs) Future influenced by changes in demand; development in terms of technology; changes in PA paradigms, etc. Insufficient understanding at most levels regarding this Planning & futures research capability poorly developed

16 Capacity Development Efforts de- linked Delinked from context, country goals and objectives; policy initiatives and organisational improvement initiatives Too much and disjointed foreign influence through "best practice transfers“ – tensions between models in use MDIs too far removed from the policy and planning processes of governments Too much unfamiliarity with strategic directions & new policy initiatives by role players, e.g. public servants/ managers; MDIs; etc.

17 Urgent Long term Goal detracting Goal Supporting I III II IV General typology

18 Urgent Long term Goal detracting Goal Supporting I III II IV Current situation where effort focused

19 Urgent Long term Goal detracting Goal Supporting I III II IV Ideal situation where effort should be focused in Standards of Excellence debate

20 Absence of National and sub-national Human Resource Development and Training policies No practice of subscribing to continued HRD – African Public Service Charter now address this issue, but implementation doubtful in face of financial situation of governments As of yet no system of recognition of training institutions that meet certain standards/ requirements, with few exceptions on the continents. Standards of excellence will only be suitable for accreditation far along the road Training resource assigned to meet institutional/ systems needs or those of individual vacilating Professional requirements for placement and promotion/ career progression not clear, not mandatory system in much of Anglophone Africa

21 Much effort and resource dedicated to CD without us being able to tell what works and what does not Efforts of many agencies/ role-players piecemeal and not happening in integrated framework (each decision-maker developing own frameworks/ methodologies/ reporting requirement, etc) Monitoring and evaluation frameworks inadequate Competencies to implement M&E/ review/ assessment poorly developed and institutionalised

22 Interventions to support achieving

23 Recommendations on the table in the African political structures Strong institutional relations between governments and their public sector training institutions (both on national and continental level). Government should involve MDIs and allied institutions in the policy formulation process Adopt comprehensive human resource development policies & strategies Link capacity development to national development priorities and change initiatives. Strengthen relationship between the Ministers’ Conference and organised PA knowledge community involved in capacity development e.g. AMDIN; AAPAM & CAFRAD Grow the African MDI network (and other similar networks) Create and resource M&E capacity to track implementation of the initiatives agreed on.

24 Initiatives to support responsiveness of African SIAs Lobbying and advocacy for addressing MDI challenges Support development of HRD/ Training policies in African countries Building African networks in two interdependent and critically important constituencies, i.e. HR managers (African HRM-Net and the African MDI Network – AMDIN) Build African capacity to develop original curriculum and support material specifically for the African context, as well as that needed for effective customisation of material that exist elsewhere Support programmes of futures research to strengthen capacity of SIAs to anticipate future needs and responds in a timely manner to those Create and support platforms for regular exchange between political leadership, technical experts and SIAs/ PSTIs/ MDIs, including working groups, communities of practice, seminars, workshops, dialogues, etc. Revolving doors and placement/ exchange between training institution and public sector organisations Performance review and evaluation, including 360 degree feedback and ROI assessments

25 Thank you More information at

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