Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
KROUKAMP, Hendri. Innovative public sector education and training in a developing South Africa: the impact of and responses to globalisation. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2010, vol.50, n.2, pp. 157-168. ISSN 0041-4751.
The end of the twentieth century witnessed significant changes in governmental administration with increasing reliance on, for example, the application of market mechanisms, and the carrying out of privatisation and deregulation initiatives to be in line with globalisation challenges. The significance of these changes was accelerated by the social transformation which took place during this time. Countries moved from undemocratic to participative/democratic states and from planned to free market economies. The constitutional change that paved the way for a democratic dispensation in South Africa directly impacted upon the public sector which was and still is undergoing major structural changes to undo and unlearn the aberrations of the past. These changes are sometimes characterized by terms such as modernisation, reform, transformation, restructuring and rationalisation. This focus on modernisation of the public services reflects a commitment of the government to improve public services but also a declaration that the core public services are not performing as well as government believes that they should. The new challenges of governing therefore seem increasingly complex, placing governments and public administrations in situations that are probably quite different from those we knew before. Today, developing countries need to find answers geared towards today's needs in order to clear up ambiguities concerning some of the basic principles by which they are governed. One of the major consequences of modernisation is a lessening of administrative disparities and less divergence in models due to the development of the principle of standardisation and uniformity of management rules. This takes a number of inevitable routes that can be summed up by the term New Public Management (NPM). The term challenges the classical administrative considerations about the structure and function of public services. The new environment has aimed at producing a more responsible and efficient customer-focused service. These reforms, largely influenced by the market model, are founded on the following two postulates: that management methods originating in the private sector are superior to those traditionally used in the public sector, and that the management of the economy must gradually give way to market forces. The demand for NPM therefore aimed not only to improve administrative output technically, but also to develop public relations techniques based on communication skills, simplified administrative formalities and procedures, cooperation in public affairs, safeguarding of the public interest, developing partnership practices, transparency, fighting corruption, promoting a code of ethics, citizen participation in public affairs and consultation. The changes associated with modernisation also went hand-in-hand with the introduction of an array of public policy documents which were introduced to address these challenges and changes. It confirmed global experiences that it is a complicated process which requires not just the generation of creative ideas and their formulation in policy documents, but also the implementation of these ideas into practice. The changing milieu of the public sector furthermore became increasingly complex over the years by influencing factors such as inter alia globalisation. While globalisation means different things to different people, the debate between its advocates and detractors about its significance continues to be emotionally charged and intellectually vigorous. Governments globally, in order to achieve their social objectives by improving the general welfare of inhabitants, demand new visions from political leaders and public officials. In this respect training can play a meaningful role. In the Republic of South Africa, however, the systems and practices of public administration education and training do not appropriately address the increasing demand for high-level, up-to-date knowledge and skills to prepare politicians and public servants for the changes that had been brought about by globalisation. A paradigm shift is therefore needed in respect of the purpose of public sector education and training practices. In this article attention will therefore be focused on globalisation, the demands thereof on the education and training needs of current public servants in South Africa, the provision of training for public servants in South Africa to adhere to global challenges and quality assurance provision in the public sector to ensure quality in the training of public servants.
Keywords : Globalisation; global competitiveness; New Public Management (NPM); public administration teaching; public administration education; leadership; Senior Management Service (SMS); quality assurance; institutional audit; aftercare programmes.