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Relationships between Public Universities and Governments for the Strengthening of Public Management in Ibero-America

Oscar Espinoza, Luis Eduardo González and Javier Loyola

This article aims to be a contribution to the important debate about the relationships between public universities and State management in Ibero-America. To do this, it synthesizes the major trends that have been occurring lately in Ibero-American universities and public management, as well as it gives a picture of the current situation of the existing relationships between universities and the State, stressing its main strengths and weaknesses. Finally a series of proposals are exposed in order to improve this link so that State management in a more professional and rational way. This paper is based on related documents mainly published by the Latin American Centre for Administration Development (CLAD).

This work is organized into four parts. The first presents an overview of new trends that occur both in universities and in the modernization process of State management. This allows to better understanding the links between these two organizations. The second analyzes the current state of relations between the public sector and the universities in the field of training and human resource development, specialized research and the provision of consultancy in the sphere of public service. The third sets up the possible weaknesses and strengths generated by the relationship between the training government institutions and the schools of public administration at the universities. Lastly, the document includes a set of proposals that would enable systematic, efficient and functional relationships between public universities and governments in order to improve the professionalization and rationalization of the State management.

Among the main proposals are listed the following: relations between public universities and State organizations should be framed in the approach of the management reform of public administration, which is considered as the most conducive to the economic, social and political challenges that happen in Latin America. Furthermore, relations between universities and the State should be done in all areas of public service, that is, the different sectors of the political administrative system, different levels of government and administration, and the several decentralization degrees. They should also focus with a criterion of quality according to the object and purpose of a democratic government, centered on service to the citizen and guided by results. In addition, the University-State relationship must be guided by the concept of good governance which considers: continuous evaluation, regulation of the impacts of legislation and accountability in the context of each country. These actions will lead among others to defend the rights of minorities and to promote affirmative action.

Key words (*): Universities; Higher Education; New Public Administration; Civil Servant Training; Technical Cooperation; Latin America; Spain; Portugal

(*) From CLAD’s “Thesaurus on Public Administration”.

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