Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, has lauded the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration’s (GIMPA) contribution to the development of Public Policy and Administration Education (PPAE) in Ghana.
He said the Institute, since its establishment in 1961, as a Centre of Excellence for training in public and business administration, had over the years continuously built capability of middle and top-level executives in both the public and private sectors in Ghana and internationally.
Prof Ayee gave the commendation in his virtual presentation at a public lecture organised by GIMPA, as part of the Public Lecture Series to commemorate its Diamond Jubilee Celebration.
Speaking on the topic, “Public Policy and Administration Education in Ghana: Driving Themes, Missing Links and Prognosis”, Prof Ayee sought to renew interest in Public Policy and Administration (PPA) to promote a capable public sector for development.
The choice of the topic for the public lecture was informed by a number of factors such as the inseparability of PPA; the renewed interest in and concern for PPAE to build a capable public sector which is reinforced by Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Others are the resourcing of existing public sector training institutions as envisaged in Ghana’s National Public Sector Reform Strategy, 2017-2023; the implications of post COVID-19 for public policy and administration; and the diamond jubilee celebration of the GIMPA.
Prof Ayee said the policy choices and decisions made by those in power had grave consequences and implications for citizens.
He called for the resourcing of training institutions such as GIMPA to develop the knowledge and skills base of a capable and disciplined work force under the National Public Sector Reform Strategy.
He said PPAE was necessary to provide knowledge, skills and scholarship for the “good society”, deal with pathologies and promote the public interest.
Prof Ayee examined the trajectory of PPAE in Ghana using driving themes, missing links and prognosis.
The driving themes include the institutional architecture, relevance or contextual reality of curricula, pedagogy and research and publications.
He said the missing links were the limited attention given to public policy, for example, there is no programme on public policy; the limited scholarship on Ghanaian PPA including few articles which had appeared in mainline PPA journals globally; the paucity of textbooks on PPA; the few Ghanaian journals in PPA; and the non-existence of professional associations to promote the two disciplines.
He said these missing links had been compounded by the concept of the business school, the emergence of governance and leadership in the development blueprint or paradigm and public policy being largely seen as economics.
Prof Ayee recommended curricula transformation, increased scholarship, publishing in mainline high impact PPA journals, writing books including a handbook and the formation of a professional body.
He said in the long term, there was the need to attract faculty and students to the field of PPA through a series of interventions; more political and bureaucratic commitment and resources to PPA educational institutions.
He recommended the re-examination of the mandate of GIMPA through dialogue with all the stakeholders and increasing demands on public service delivery in the post COVID-19 period and their cascading effects on the curricula and pedagogy of PPAE.
With regards to the importance of PPAE, Prof Ayee said it provided knowledge, skills and scholarship in the fields of PPA and that it also enhanced and improved PPA, which by extension would benefit the public sector as it became more effective and efficient in performing its mandates.
Prof Ayee said it also inculcated in students and professionals the relevant knowledge and skills that they needed to enable them pursue their careers and become more effective in their work places mostly in the public sector.
He said it would promote a public service ethos that would lead to the internalization of the public interest, a prerequisite for the “good society” envisaged by Greek sage, Aristotle.