In a nutshell

Location Switzerland
Sustainable Development Goal Quality Education

Project timeline 

"Project is 97.3844282238% completed "

The Challenge

The OECD describes an effective, efficient public sector as essential to countries’ growth and welfare. Why is the public sector “skills gap” – in which mid- and top-level civil servants lack the knowledge, skills and network needed to optimally carry out their duties – widening in many developing countries?

Several factors contribute. Policy challenges are increasingly multidimensional, requiring interdisciplinary solutions. Societies and economies are increasingly interdependent, requiring international coordination. And new technologies are increasingly important in the public sector, requiring an understanding of their potential social and economic implications and administrative applications.

The Approach

The Swiss School of Public Governance’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Public Governance and Administration (CAS PGA) seeks to close the skills gap among potential public sector leaders in developing countries. Structured as a single, intensive learning experience over 16 days in Zurich, it providees training and inspiration to a select group of high-potential civil servants to help them prepare to make a lasting impact in their areas of responsibility.

Each programme cohort is deliberately kept small, but also diverse, bringing together public servants from various countries, sectors and backgrounds to enhance learning through exchange and teamwork. The programme’s competency-based learning experiences include simulations, peer-to-peer learning, excursions and best-practices analyses as well as expert lectures and group discussions. It is taught by world-class professors from ETH Zurich and other universities as well as experienced practitioners.

Goals and Expected Impact

The programme has been running successfully since 2017, and with the support of the Swiss Re Foundation since 2018. Its main output is a small, growing cohort of excellently trained and motivated future public sector leaders. Thanks to additional funding from the Foundation from 2020 to 2022, the Swiss School of Public Governance can provide 24 full scholarships (eight scholarships in each of the three years) to participants from low-income or lower- to middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank.


The copyright for all images displayed lies with ETH Zurich, Alessandro Della Bella

Our partner

The ETH Zurich Foundation unites companies, private individuals, foundations with ETH Zurich. As the leading technology and science foundation, it supports the university in achieving its most important strategic objectives in education and research. Funding partners benefit from access to bold, high-quality partnerships with one of the best universities anywhere in the world, and the opportunity to work together to push boundaries.

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