Governance, Administration and Ethics in the Public Sector (South Africa)

Instructor: John Williams

Governance: Governance, Administration and Ethics in the Public Sector is a senior undergraduate module in an Honours in Public Administration module, University of the Western Cape.

The University of the Western Cape's Masters in Public Administration


The objectives of this course are to introduce students to concepts such as good governance, power, accountability, and participation and explore the relationship between governance, politics, economics and administration and to ground concepts of governance and citizenship in everyday realities.

  • Students

    The students are final year undergraduates from relatively deprived backgrounds. They are multi-lingual students; for some, English is not their mother tongue. The students themselves are often deprived of their rights. For example, many students live in informal settlements in violation of their right to housing.

  • Structure

    The course is very intensive, taught in five eight hour sessions. The course uses participatory pedagogies, critical reflection and critique to understand classic Western Philosophy in relation to the everyday realities of students' experiences. Discussions are always held in small groups during class and students are encouraged to meet in small groups outside class to discuss readings.

  • Context

    These students have often objected to being asked to contribute to class, pointing out that they have paid to "receive" knowledge. This requires a cautious approach. Without abandoning the goal of acquainting the students with a range of canonical texts, John Williams has started to listen differently to the students' encounters with the text, opening up the possibility that the conceptual learning be complemented by new activities in the classroom, including reflections on their own experience of citizenship and how they feel, e.g. about their lack of freedoms.

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