Governance Curriculum

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Executive Summary

What is the Governance Education Network?

The Governance Education Network (evolved from the Governance Curriculum Initiative) is an international coalition of governance experts, educational institutions and development stakeholders employing innovative methods to strengthen good governance on a global scale. It does so by promoting a shared awareness of governance principles through a coordinated education campaign on both supply and demand sides of the public service relationship. It also places indispensable tools of structured, evidence-based decision-making into the hands of those who need them - political leaders, government officials, citizens and international actors - to underpin and inform governance structures and processes.

The Initiative establishes a collaborative process that draws upon the knowledge and expertise of reputable colleagues and institutions active in the realms of governance, development and education to pilot governance support programmes and to produce reliable and authoritative teaching materials. These initiatives will be tailored to meet the needs of target audiences through partnerships with those already engaged in leadership training, secondary and tertiary education and professional development programmes. All available means, including distance learning, broadcasts and traditional face-to-face approaches will be employed to ensure full access to these materials.

The Governance Education Network provides a vehicle to infuse good governance principles, rules and best practice into the mainstream of public life. Promoting conditions that optimise sound decision-making will lead to greater professionalism, productivity, openness and accountability, as well as improved public service delivery, that will help to unlock the full potential of the public sector, private sector and civil society as an engine for development. By addressing many of the hidden drivers of maladministration and conflict, including resource conflict, the Governance Curriculum Initiative offers an important practical approach to enhance economic opportunities and the trajectory toward Millennium Development Goals.[1]

Key Beneficiary Groups

  • senior and local level government officials through leadership training
  • schools and universities through existing courses (politics, economics, law, development studies, business programmes)
  • civil society: through media coverage and training under the auspices of professional associations, charities, faith communities and other civil society organisations
  • international development practitioners through in-house training and reference tools.


  • Governance Guidelines containing clear, authoritative statements of principles and rules of good governance selected or formulated by expert panels. These will provide core curriculum content and a high level entry point for more detailed information.
  • Commentaries and Case Studies: The Governance Guidelines will be underpinned and explained by commentaries tailored to different audiences containing background information, case studies, lessons learned, authorities, further reading and so on. These will be prepared by research groups and approved by the relevant panels.
  • On-line discussion forums for expert and general views to be advanced and debated publicly.
  • Commissioned research to ensure even coverage of areas not represented by self-funding Partners.
  • Curriculum outlines setting out agreed learning objectives, leading to the production of learning materials for open distance learning as well as face-to-face learning, with approaches and content based on learning needs of of target groups.
  • Teaching materials in different languages and appropriate formats.
  • On-line documents and information library that will provide easy access to source documents and instruments, and links to selected sites.
  • Logistical, educational and project management


  • A more complete and balanced understanding of good governance demonstrated in all key sectors.
  • More active sharing of knowledge, experience and lessons learned.
  • Enhanced decision-making in beneficiary groups.
  • Greater attention to preservation of knowledge and enhanced access to information, with less resources wasted on errors repeated and redundant activity.
  • Greater coherence and effectiveness in programme design and implementation; fewer lost opportunities.

Long Term Impact

  • More productive working relationships with development partners.
  • Strengthened intra-regional cooperation.
  • Enhanced realisation of Paris Declaration Principles.
  • Improved public service delivery
  • Heightened private sector productivity
  • Accelerated progress toward Millennium Development Goals.


Particular thanks to Advocates for International Development (A4ID), Molecaten Ltd of the Netherlands, the University of Cambridge and the Commonwealth Secretariat for valuable ongoing support to the Governance Curriculum Initiative.


  1. The eight Millennium Development Goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce by two thirds mortality among children under five, improve maternal health and reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio, combat HIV/ AIDS and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development, with targets set for 2015. Good governance is recognised as an important means of achieving these goals. They are part of a wider commitment set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration which was adopted by the General Assembly in September 2000. For a recent overview of mixed progress toward MDGs, see the introductory statements by the President of the General Assembly and by the UN Secretary General at the opening on 1 April 2008 of the thematic debate entitled “Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges and getting back on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015”.
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