19 October 2018
Conference evaluates impact of academia on public sector
From left: Prof Liezel Lues, ASSADPAM outgoing chairperson; Prof Mogie Subban, newly elected chairperson; Lechesa Tsenoli, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly; and Dr Henk Boshoff, Free State Provincial Public Service Commissioner.

As part of a process to evaluate the impact of the discipline of Public Administration and Management on the performance of the public sector, the Association of Southern African Schools and Departments of Public Administration and Management (ASSADPAM) recently held a conference themed: ‘Back To The Future: Revisiting the discipline of Public Administration and Management for responsive and sustainable development in Bloemfontein’.

The University of the Free State’s Department of Public Administration and Management hosted the ASSADPAM at a critical time when the country is moving towards the 2019 general elections. Evaluations of this nature are essential in order to identify areas where improvements need to be intensified.

Prof Liezel Lues, ASSADPAM chairperson, says: “Public administration and management has been strongly influenced by several multifaceted political, economic and cultural forces globally and nationally. Now, in 2018, the discipline of Public Administration and Management is evaluating its impact on the performance of the public sector, realising its own responsibility but also that of citizens and public servants for responsive and sustainable development.”

Academics meet the business of governance

Some 114 delegates from 18 different institutions had the opportunity to interactively discuss 68 research papers which were presented from 26 to 28 September 2018. Burning challenges were tackled by prominent role players. Lechesa Tsenoli, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly presented on the Academic-Practitioner Interface, while Dr Henk Boshoff, the Free State Provincial Public Service Commissioner debated the Quality and Relevance of Research. The Quality and Credibility of Public Administration and Management training and development was the topic of a discussion fielded by Prof Thean Potgieter, the Acting Branch Head Training Policy and Planning National School of Government.

ASSADPAM honours research excellence
 
Prof Hendri Kroukamp, the Acting Vice-Rector: Academic at UFS, Prof Liza Van Jaarsveldt from the University of South Africa and Prof Michiel de Vries of Radboud University in the Netherlands co-authored the paper which scooped the prize for best conference paper. The award-winning paper titled: ‘International standards, decolonisation, curriculum considerations and public administration education’ was presented at the conference.