Bridging the gap: Fostering collaborations between academia and public service

The School of Government Studies in the Faculty of Humanities at the North-West University (NWU) hosted a public seminar on Tuesday, 3 October.

The seminar's primary objective was to address bridging the gap between academia and practice, with a particular emphasis on the role of the School of Government Studies.

Events of this nature serve the best interest of the university to engage with its stakeholders in government.

In addition to providing graduates with skills that are applicable to both practice and academia, strong collaborations between universities and the public sector would increase state capacity and improve public policy processes.

Prof Jefferey Mphahlele, deputy vice-chancellor for research and innovation, congratulated Prof Robert Nkuna on his appointment as an extraordinary professor of practice at the School of Government Studies. Apart from this position, he is also director-general at the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

“Through this relationship, we can discuss how to use the resources that are available to us as a university to encourage the development of the next generation of leaders – leaders who will make positive contributions in the fields of academia, government, and civil society.

“To benefit state capacity, academia must contribute to the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) by creating excellent researchers. Convergence with the schools of government is important. Academia must be integrated and must collaborate and communicate with the public sector,” explained Prof Nkuna.

Among the respondents was Prof Mashupye Maserumule, executive dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and commissioner at the National Planning Commission (NPC). Prof Busani Ngcaweni, who is the principal of the National School of Government (NSG), was the other respondent.

Prof Busani Ngcaweni said bringing scholars closer to public institutions will help to identify the gaps in how individuals are prepared to lead in the public sector. “I urge the NWU to assist the NSG in personalising politics beyond credentialising them.”

Prof Kedibone Phago, director of the School of Government Studies at the NWU, gave the vote of thanks. He said this was the beginning of a good initiative, and the university was looking forward to this journey.

t is a rare occasion to have senior government officials make their time and skills available to engage in focused and valuable conversation with academics and students. This kind of collaboration assists universities to produce innovative graduates empowered with the latest knowledge.

From the left are Prof Kedibone Phago, Dr Christa de Wet (programme director), Prof Robert Nkuna and Prof Jeffery Mphahlele.


Submitted on Tue, 10/10/2023 - 11:21