Governance Curriculum/Meeting of Tuesday 1 April

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Coordination and Planning Meeting - University of Cambridge

12 Mill Lane - Tuesday 1 April 2008


The Coordination and Planning Meeting was successful. A Report will be posted to this site shortly.

Collective thanks go to:

- the International Office for hosting the event

- the participants for their time, insights and support

- the facilitators and staff for making preparations

- the Commonwealth of Learning and Molecaten for their sponsorship

- the Vice-Chancellor and Professor Kate Pretty, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, for their interest, guidance and support

11:00 Opening – introductions

11:15-12:00 Background of this initiative & general discussions

• Governance Curriculum Initiative: Dr John Barker, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law

• Wiki-Educator Concept and Methodology: Dr Tanyss Munro, Commonwealth of Learning

• Introduce concept and proposed objectives for next 2-3 years with specifics for next 1 year

• Terms of Reference for the Initiative

• Facilitating role of Cambridge Institutions

• Discussion of the London Meeting Agenda

• Identify Additional Candidates for Cambridge Team

• Message to transmit to London Meeting

Purpose of the Meeting

• to inform participants about the Initiative and to provide an opportunity for them to ask questions

• identify forms of support that the University and affiliated institutions can provide

• identify additional networks and potential partners to contact, as well as possible candidates to serve on committees, expert panels and implementation teams

• prepare a message to transmit to the London Planning Consultation

Summary of Meeting

Dr. John Barker opened with comments on the background of the Governance Curriculum Initiative which will be piloted in interested African countries, beginning with Malawi.

Professor Christopher Forsyth of the Faculty of Law recounted an EC-Government of Malawi programme to provide training to all Principal Secretaries in government on administrative law and decision-making several years ago. The government officials found the training very useful and expressed the desire for it to be extended to others, including Ministers, and this Initiative is designed in part to meet that need. Evidence of the value of the training was observed by a sharp decrease in the number of law suits against the government and fewer complaints to the Ombudsman.

Dr. Tanyss Munro provided information on the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), whose mandate is to expand its reach and improve the quality of learning materials through Open Distance Learning (ODL) approaches. ODL material are developed to facilitate self-learning in short lessons that are easy to navigate and include self-checking, etc. It was pointed out that the development of ODL materials requires a team approach with media, content and editing experts working together. There was also some discussion of the use of WikiEducator, where collaborative materials development is done online, and other tools.

There was discussion about the objective and focus of the Initiative, which is to facilitate the collaborative development of models and learning materials to promote transparent, inclusive, accountable and evidence-based decision-making to strengthen the processes by which policies are formulated and implemented.

The approach is a rights based approach but with a focus on the obligations side of the equation. The target audience for this initiative are: Government - all levels; Educational Institutions primarily at secondary and tertiary levels; Civil Society - professional associations, media, faith communities, NGOs; and International Development Agencies.

Although Malawi is to be the pilot country, interest had been expressed from South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana to be part of these discussions. Representation from these countries will be included in the development of learning materials, but the implementation focus will be on the pilot country to begin with - where there is keen interest by senior levels of government in good governance training.

Questions and comments included giving some examples of how Cambridge institutions could contribute to content development, processes for curriculum development, identification of other potential partners, the utility of having COL involved as a relatively neutral body and certification for the courses.

The International Office at the University of Cambridge has been deputized by the Vice Chancellor to play a lead role in this initiative.


Professor Margaret Adey, Cambridge Programme for Industry

Dr John Barker, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law

Professor Christopher Forsyth, Centre for Public Law

Ms Molly Harrington, CEO & Ass't Deputy Ministry, Crown Agencies Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, British Columbia, Canada

Mr Matthew Jamison, International Office

Dr Finbarr Livesey, Department of Engineering

Dr Tanyss Munro, Commonwealth of Learning

Dr Amrita Narlikar, Centre of International Studies

Dr Bill Nuttall, Judge Business School

Mr John Raffan, Faculty of Education

Dr Kevin Stannard, Cambridge Assessment


Dr Tao Tao Chang

Dr Tanyss Munro

Dr John Barker


Mr Matthew Jamison

Ms Ruvani Ameresekere

Ms Jennifer Newton