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Experts Consultative Workshop

 

December 15, 2009

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS OF

EXPERTS CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP

HELD ON 15TH, DECEMBER, 2009 AT ISLAMABAD

 

   On the conclusion of Pakistan-Norway Forum/Governance Education Network First International Conference on Governance, an experts’ consultative workshop was held in the afternoon of 15th December at Islamabad. The Workshop was attended by Focal Persons of member organizations of Governance Education Network (GEN) and experts from non-members organizations as per details at Annex. The Workshop was held in two sessions focusing on firstly; development of governance education programs/faculty capacity building and secondly; development of executive education programs/courses. A summary of proceedings of the two sessions is contained in the succeeding paragraphs.

 

Session-I:
Development of Governance Education Programs /
Faculty Capacity Building

 

The first session was chaired by Dr. Zafar Iqbal Jadoon Director Institute of Administrative Sciences Punjab University, Lahore & Chairperson Program Sub-committee on Governance Curriculums. In his introductory remarks, Dr. Jadoon covered the following points:

  • Training is specific, while education is broader concept and the two should be distinguished, despite their slight overlap.
     
  • Governance eludes definition because it is a catch-all phrase which includes public administration and public policy as well as other concepts. Three systems of knowledge should be held as essential when designing a governance curriculum: management, which has a significant overlap with business. (the debate whether this is universal or sector-specific to the public or private spheres is ongoing); political science; and law.
     
  • Various universities are offering Masters’ in Public Administration and Public Policy. National University of Modern Languages (NUML) is currently offering Master in Governance. The content of curricula of existing governance related disciplines comprise 75% core courses which impart specialized professional knowledge and 25% electives which are general subjects related to local issues.
     
  • It is essential that we design a scheme of studies detailing the minimum number of credit hours required for awarding a degree, the core and elective courses, etc. In the case of 4 year Bachelors these issues have largely been decided by HEC policy. What remains to be decided are the critical knowledge areas.
     
  • It would be prudent to strengthen the governance contents in the existing programs instead of attempting to develop new programs.

   The participants’ views on development of governance education programs/faculty capacity building were as follows:-

  1. The history of reform, specifically reform failure in Pakistan needs to be included. Also the history of good governance examples should be incorporated in governance programs.
     
  2. Governance is not a stand-alone subject but a part of public administration which in turn is part of broader social sciences. Governance program at the Bachelors level may not be a right option because that will sideline other social sciences. Another dissenting view in this regard was that the governance training at the Bachelors level must be imparted; otherwise at higher levels they are ill-prepared to receive advanced education. This should be done in a manner that the institutes can absorb and implement effectively.
     
  3. The hierarchy of disciplines should be kept intact. At the Masters level, governance as a program works. At the Bachelors level a graduated approach should be taken.
     
  4. Instead of designing and implementing new programs, GEN should try to revamp existing public administration departments of all public universities with well established programs of renown. Otherwise, the task would require financial and technical resources that are not within GINI’s ability to furnish.
     
  5. Public service standards and benchmarks must be taught as part of the curriculum.
     
  6. Public Administration courses have been dominated by a focus on management. They need to be given more weightage in Central Superior Service (CSS) examinations if the civil service is to be professionalized. These courses have to be strengthened before governance education can be introduced. At the same time, whatever is being taught by NSPP, and the professional education being imparted by the Civil Services Academy (CSA) will have to dovetail with programs offered by universities.
     
  7. Governance could be made part of a broader public administration program, with 5 subjects for specialization: corporate governance; global governance; regional governance; NGO governance; and governance of multinational firms
     
  8. Learning from the curriculum development model adopted by LUMS where they took a standardized model, and focused on training the available people. There is a pool of recently foreign educated civil servants who could be attracted to the academia to fill this gap.
     
  9. We do not have to start with a perfect curriculum, but put out one version which we can improve on within set timeframe. Training must be research based or at least research informed. The courses have to be scientifically researched and monitored.
     
  10. Governance was very important and education would focus on specializations in basic service delivery, in particular the provision of education at the school, college, university, and district level.
     
  11. Courses should be decided based on demand from each university on a case-by-case basis, and universities should also decide which level to introduce them at.
     
  12. The courses that should be taught are already up and running, and only need to be modernized in content and teaching methods, e.g. Pakistan studies which is compulsory for any degree in public institutes. It needs to be made more practical and applied. Whatever, is decided, the course must be taught in English as all the available literature is in that language. Each subject should include a theoretical section and empirical case studies on Pakistan as two main components.
     
  13. Pakistan Studies was redeemable if suitable reading material was prescribed which would impart most importantly the Constitution of Pakistan which would familiarize students with all important organs of state. This knowledge should be drilled at the FA level, and at later levels, theories (both Western and indigenous) could be brought in. A dissenting view cautioned about “falling into the Pakistan Studies trap”, as it was an extremely unpopular subject because of its compulsory status and associating the curriculum with it would dampen demand.
     
  14. According to a representative from BISE, if the Boards could approve programs for Beauticians and Dress-makers, the governance curriculum should not face difficulties in gaining government approval provided we follow the prescribed procedures.
     
  15. There is an acute shortage of qualified faculty for all social sciences, including governance.
     
  16. According to Norwegian delegates, a joint workshop in Norway would be a way to upgrade the skill-base of Pakistani teachers. That is also the Chinese model. They gather their MPA graduates and other experts and send them on study tours to Norway and other countries to enhance learning and exposure. Most programs abroad assume knowledge of governance structures and processes. This knowledge must be imparted, along with the power relationships that govern society. Programs must be standardized, with a focus on public administration and political science to professionalize governance practice. At the Bachelors level the focus should be on standard, mandatory courses with a domestic empirical focus on Pakistan and the region. At the Masters level, the program should focus on specialization and theory. We must focus on institutes of standing and renown which could act as role model. Curriculum development should be done in universities and the process may have linkage with NIBR/Oslo University. A workshop for the curriculum development team and GEN members in Oslo would be useful option.

Session-II:

Development of Executive Education Programs / Courses

 

Dr. Sarfraz Hussain Ansari, Associate Prof, Department of Government & Public Policy, National Defence University & Acting Chairperson, Program Sub-committee on Executive Education in his introductory remarks stated:

  • The distinction between training and education was that the latter was more about reflection and attitudinal change, while training was more focused on skill-development, including operations & maintenance, computer skills etc.
     
  • National Defence University holds regular national security workshops which have proved very effective. The various courses designed at NDU include Comparative Social and Political Thought which includes concepts from historical civilizations including Greco-Roman, Christian, Chinese, etc.
     
  • Mid-career civil servants and other governance practitioners could be attracted to integrated programs in public administration and public policy, which should be kept flexible allowing trainees to complete the programs at their own pace with space for deferring semesters if need be, in graduated steps. These should be tied to incentives, especially promotions.

The participants expressed following views on development of executive education programs/courses:

  1. Number of universities offer executive education programs; IBA offers executive EMBA for civil servants; Punjab University targets mid-career civil servants, NGOs, and the private sector; Karachi University, as well as other degree awarding institutes are also doing it.
     
  2. The history of civil service reforms that have been taking place since 1973 should be taken into account and the changed state of affairs should be recognized. They are reformed to the extent of becoming the backbone for donor programs, and constitute a new generation of civil servants or “laptop wallahs”, with much higher qualifications, and need to be seen and targeted as such. While administrative reform has always been in the limelight, political reform has been sidelined and this should be given equal attention.
     
  3. Various private education institutions are already collaborating with government institutes e.g. FBR offers their employees MBA in Taxation from IBA after their graduation from CSA. Also the senior management of National School of Public Policy approved that decision analysis was an important subject, arrangements were made to solicit training assistance from LUMS for faculty who would teach these programs at National Institutes of Management (Old NIPA).
     
  4. One of the main reasons for civil servants avoiding training at public universities is because of sub-standard quality. The dissenting view in this regard was that although education standards have in general deteriorated the popular negative perception of public universities and the quality of education they offer is not true.
     
  5. The method of Training Needs Assessment employed by the government was not systematic and was based on cursory discussion among the developers of the programs, due to which many civil servants do not undergo training. The dissenting view was that the programs at NSPP were developed after thorough consultations with a broad gamut of stakeholders and until 2 years ago it was mandatory for civil servants to undergo 14 days of training per year, in areas specified by his/her superior.
     
  6. Civil servants do not want or need to be trained by outsiders as they believe they can carry out this task from within and rightly so. Strong demand for the product, if missing, could lead to failure.
     
  7. Civilizations and the clashes between them should be included in the general courses, as well as local languages which will ease communication between local civil servants and constituents.
     
  8. A full-fledged in-depth study on the critical knowledge areas before they are ascertained should be undertaken. There is a disconnect between top governance training institutions and the government, which complicates matters. Case studies should be the main focus and private sector institutes should be tapped for this resource.
     
  9. GEN members themselves needed capacity building on the development, implementation and evaluation of curricula. Universities should not be categorized into arbitrary ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘mediocre’ groupings as this should be decided on a case-by-case basis.
     
  10. Prof. Tom Christensen, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo opined that public administration discipline was important for the civil service and a formal linkage in this regard is needed. Focus may be placed on selected universities offering this discipline for acting as role model.

    After above deliberations, it was decided that GINI will prepare a concept paper on governance programs, executive education programs/courses and faculty capacity building in the light of experts’ views and circulate to all members of GEN for input before finalizing the work plans for 2010.

Committee Activities

Meeting - April 16,
2009
                   (Pictures)

Meeting - April 29,
2009
                   (Pictures)

Meeting - October 2,
2009
                   (Pictures)

Experts Consultative Workshop - Dec 15,
2009
                   (Pictures)

List of Participants

Annual Conference
13-15 Dec, 2009
(Serena, Islamabad)

Information, Papers, Proceedings & Update

GEN 1st ANC Background Document

Post-Conference Report