Innovative education for African Public Service: TM school breaks barriers
In response to the dire need for appropriate higher education in Africa, the ‘TM School’ embarked on an interventionist journey to produce knowledge that is innovative to African society and that can present a navigational map for generations to come on their journey to a horizon not yet visible.
An ambitious and serious innovative intervention such as this demands inspired and competent educators who can facilitate the sharing of knowledge using appropriate approaches, methods and techniques to discover knowledge that not only contributes to existing knowledge but also promotes innovative solutions in the interest of African society and humankind.
Furthermore, in compiling a compendium of learning programs, the context remains vital in doing justice to learning from lived experiences that are taking place in that context. Moreover, the deliberate emphasis on including knowledge holders from different disciplines in knowledge production presents a valuable mix of perspectives. Therefore, the lecturers at the TM School are located at different vantage points after walking the road in various fields of academic specialisation and the school of life.
Our lecturers approach their calling as educators with the realisation that collaboration across academic disciplines and professions is essential for sharing knowledge for transition and progress. Collaboration among people, regardless of profession or discipline, is vital to understanding the world’s complexities and finding knowledge in the space beyond disciplines to glimpse at what lies beyond the visible horizon. At the TM School, a transdisciplinary approach allows access to an epistemology characterised by seeing and interpreting the world in a multicultural landscape and synthesising knowledge from all voices, including historically silenced voices such as that of women and the youth.
The premise is that if as many people as possible, irrespective of their identity, origin, and location, are included in knowledge production, it will enable sustainable societal solutions. Following this approach, major issues such as breaking away from north-south domination and imperialistic mindsets; the recognition of “glocality” (the integrated wholeness of local, national and international) open the landscape for designing and developing unique solutions. Applying the transdisciplinary approach to studying African society allows for progressing from the knowledge discovered from many vantage points, breaking away from the gravity of legacy thinking from another era or physical space that impedes progress.
Against this background, the Thabo Mbeki African School for Public and International Affairs (popularly referred to as the TM School) designed a collection of learning offerings to create opportunities for life-long learners in the public service (including diplomats) and leaders in all dimensions of society. In meeting this societal imperative, the TM-School aims at fulfilling the vision of creating excellence in delivering public and international affairs in Africa and globally. The school’s intellectual capital consists of a faculty of professors from various academic disciplines, supported by a group of specialist administrators. The intellectual capital is complemented by extensive social capital consisting of strategic partnerships and collaborations, most notably that of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation under the patronage of former President Thabo Mbeki, the current Chancellor of the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Tapping into the reservoir of knowledge that comes with the exceptional social and intellectual capital inherent to the school, the TM School offers a mix of post-graduate qualifications, catering for the learning needs of public servants and leaders in society at large. As a transdisciplinary institution, students from any discipline are welcome to join our programs, where they will engage with academics and practitioners from other disciplines to collectively find solutions to complex problems in systems that come with service to all who live in Africa.
The Advanced Programs and Courses form a coherent whole as building blocks for formal postgraduate studies at Unisa. While it will be expected from all participants to apply critical reflection on current legislation, policies, strategies and practices, participants will also be encouraged to apply appreciative inquiry of what can be built on in current cultural and global contexts. Together participants are continuously searching for Africa-centric solutions, mainstreaming the role of women and the youth in managing development for progressive growth in Africa.
The intention is to make an immediate short-term impact on current challenges in the public services of Africa. Therefore, the Advanced Learning Programs were designed and developed specifically for practitioners in the public service (including the diplomatic corps) and members of broad civil society to learn together with others, guided by professors and specialists in the different programs. The TM School programs are also aimed at serving a cohort of leaders who can develop Africa and free it of the curse of corruption that compromises the quality of life of people in Africa, promoting the well-being of people in all African countries and women in conflict resolution, thought leaders for Africa’s renewal, humanitarian leaders, security managers from the private industry and public service, intelligence managers and diplomats on all tiers of international relations.
Prospective students can find more information and register for the TM School Advanced Courses and Programs at https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/Apply-for-admission/Short-Learning-Programmes/Programmes/All-Programmes?cw_college=OTHER,%20ADMINISTRATION%20AND%20PROFESSIONAL. DM