University of South Africa: Promoting institutional ethics without boundaries

EMD was established in 2012 and is responsible for the promotion of an ethical culture in the institution. So far, it has visited and trained Unisa staff members in South African regional centres. The EMD planned to visit the Unisa Ethiopia Regional Learning Centre in 2020 to introduce the ethics function in the region. However, the Covid-19 outbreak forced the division to respect regulations by the World Health Organization. There had to be cancellations and the provision of innovative skills in response to the operational plan.

Based on the above background, EMD organised a three-day comprehensive workshop on the institutionalisation of ethics in the workplace for all staff members in the Ethiopia Regional Learning Centre. Staff members made pledges and commitments, and completed ethics quizzes and activities during this period. Expressing appreciation, was the Regional Director of the Ethiopia Regional Learning Centre, Dr Tsige Aberra, who stated that limited resources and information restricted their knowledge of the function of ethics.

One of the fascinating ethics initiatives implemented was when an employee’s ethical responsibility was individualised as informed by the Unisa ethical requirements. This was when Unisa ethical values and the 11Cs+1, as well as their convictions were used by participants individually to construct ethics pledges in line with their job functions.

This effort improves staff members comprehension of the 11Cs+1, and the ethical values practice criteria that make up 20% of the staff members’ performance agreement. The EMD committed to deliver more ethics trainings and initiatives, such as the Ethics Ambassadors programme, banners to enhance visibility and awareness of the Unisa ethics function, and the certification programme to upskill staff on the ethics function.

The EMD encouraged Ethiopian staff members to participate in the institution’s Ethics Risk Culture Assessment. At this point, EMD is collaborating with the region on ongoing initiatives to support the ethics function.

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