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Why Study Public Administration

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Public administration is a field of practice, which is concerned with formulation and implementation of government policies to the public, and an academic discipline, concerned with training and preparation of individuals to work as public administrators (civil servants) (Lynn, 2001). The rationale behind creation of a separate discipline of public administration is to offer specialized training to individuals involved in formulating and implementing government policies to the public. Public administration requires excellent public managers, who have the personality and ability to organize, direct, and persuade the actions of public members and government officials, toward the formation and accomplishment of goals that guarantee good use of public authority (Lynn, 2001). Since only a few public policies are self-executing, creation of public administration discipline ensures that public administrators acquire managerial insight and experience necessary for formulating and executing numerous public policies and laws, which cannot be operate without human input. In addition, the rationale behind creation of public administration discipline is to ensure political stability. This is because; the stability of any political system depends on the level of responsibility and competency of the public administrators, in use of public authority (Lynn, 2001).

On the other hand, the rationale behind creation of a graduate school of public policy is to provide public managers with a place to gain more knowledge about public administration, apart from the knowledge of formulation and implementation of public policies. According to Kettl, public administration, along with political science, international law, public law and comparative government, contributed greatly in shaping the American Political Science Association in the 20th century (2005). Over the last few decades, public administration has been experiencing reduced preeminence in the ASAP. For this reason, many institutions have stopped offering training courses in public administration, yet public administration continue to play a vital role in managing government programs, and managing government and public issues such as economic crisis and public health crisis respectively (Kettl, 2005). To ensure success in public management, the graduate school of public policy was created to offer public managers with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge in public administration. The graduate schools of public policy train doctoral students in public administration how to formulate and implement policies not only from the domestic government point of view, but also from global economic and political points of view.

In my own opinion, all public administrators should enroll in a Masters in Public Administration program. In the current economic times, many people have lost confidence in the government. Citizens are demanding better administration of public policies and administration of public programs. Because many of the elected leaders have failed to meet public demands for better public administration, people have turned their hope to public administrators in bringing administrative reforms in the public sector. Given the current global environment, reforming public administration will require better understanding of the global economic, political, and technological environment. Masters program in public administration will equip the public administrators not only with theoretical knowledge of bringing public reforms in the current global environment, but also with practical knowledge of the same, through policy research in different public sectors.

If the current public administrators enroll in masters program for public administration, it will encourage individuals who are interested in joining public administration to achieve the same academic qualifications, hence, improving performance in public administration due to presence of more knowledgeable individuals in this field. However, due to the few number of public administration graduate schools, this move might cause admission delays to those interested in joining public administration institutions since they would have to wait for admission vacancies to arise in the schools.

Many scholars view public administration as a branch of political science (Martin, 2000). Traditionally, many institutions would offer PSPA (public administration/political science) as one course. However, a research conducted by Khodr in 2005 revealed that the two fields are different. Political science deals with constitutional issues, which include separation of power between the three arms of the government: executive, judiciary, and legislature, governance and power, and democracy. On the other hand, public administration is concerned with public policy analysis and international affairs (Khodr, 2005).

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