New international project launched to bring digital era skills to public servants

July 31, 2020
New international project launched to bring digital era skills to public servants

Cambridge – MA, Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age (@TPSDigitalAge) is a new, international community of professors, teachers and practitioners who are worried about the modern skills shortfall inside of too many governments. Launched with the assistance of HKS Lecturer in Public Policy and Ash Center faculty affiliate David Eaves, the community has come together with a shared goal: to increase the supply of digital era public service skills into governments.  

The primary mechanism for doing this is to give the professors, lecturers and educators inside both universities and in-house government academies free, open access teaching materials on the digital-era skills that all public service leaders now need to have. This community is also developing a friendly support network to help educators to improve the teaching of digital-era skills to current and future public servants.  

“As someone who has taught digital competencies to future public leaders for several years it has been so helpful and important to pull together a community of peers who can share best practices and develop common resources,” said Eaves, one of the founding members of the project. “This is even more critical in a COVID-19 world where the government response has been a digital response - any new service has at its core had to be online and accessible. As a result, digital government is no longer about the future, it is about the present. Ensuring public servants have the skills for a digital era government is thus a pressing challenge.”  

The community is developing a masters-level full-semester course that will be released as an open educational resource this October. This course will not be a massive online open course (MOOC) for direct use by students, but instead will provide assets and support to help current teachers to impart new skills. Part of today’s launch includes a formal invitation for collaborators to join the community, to ensure the course is as internationally relevant as possible.  

Underpinning this new program of work is a set of eight Digital Era Competencies, which were developed collaboratively over a period of six months.  These competencies have been agreed to help educators see a high-level overview of which critical skills now need including in the education of public administrators.  

A full list of participants and their institutions is available here

‘Teaching Public Service in the Digital Age’ is a project being incubated within the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. It has been generously funded by the Public Interest Technology University Network and has relied on a large amount of volunteer time from our core group of founding members. 

About the Ash Center  

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. 

Contact Information 

David Eaves, Lecturer of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School,  

david_eaves@hks.harvard.edu