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Friday, March 24, 2023

Why should we pursue a degree in public administration and governance?

Dr Muhammad Mumtaz, an assistant professor at the University of Haripur talks about the importance of getting a degree in public administration and governance. He further highlights the scope and benefits of getting this degree and what are the setbacks students face during their university education in Pakistan.

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Public Administration is key to run government functions and facing contemporary societal challenges effectively. It is a specialized subject of study enabling to work as an essential instrument of governments.  The profession of Public Administration holds significance in development, change, and modern welfare states. Successes and failures of a country may inter alia predicate upon how its Public Administration is functioning. As such, Public Administration is a precursor for good governance.

Public Administration is a key tool for promoting economic growth and ensuring that its fruits are shared among all citizens. Additionally, it is a tool for restoring trust in government and public institutions, as well as in the banks, enterprises, and rating agencies.

Presently, there exists a crisis of trust among governments and the public in the world community; and restoring trust depends on the quality of Public Administration. Every country endeavors to establish innovative and technically capable administrative set ups of effective governance to serve the public.

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Back in the day

Like the rest of the world, it is imperative for Pakistan to place effective and sound Public Administration in the country especially to utilize its resources. The country of over 220 million population possesses diversity and richness of natural and human resources.  Just after the creation of Pakistan, the importance of Public Administration education was recognized in order to produce sophisticated administrative machinery for the fixation of public challenges in the country.

In the 1960s, Pakistan has established various Public Administration education and training institutions. For instance, the Department of Public Administration at Punjab University, the Civil Service of Pakistan Academy, and the National Institutes of Public Administration in Lahore are some of the earlier Public Administration institutions in the country. Notwithstanding a few initial efforts to promote Public Administration education in Pakistan, it is yet to establish capable and impactful Public Administration institutions in the country.

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Pakistan is yet to fully utilize the potential of its existing natural and human resources due to weak institutional and administrative structure in the country. It is therefore important to place best training and teaching Public Administration institutions and universities where creative and solution oriented minds could be produced to contribute diligently in public institutions and to run the governance system of the country.

University education in Pakistan

Universities in Pakistan are autonomous bodies and they have a great role to play for establishing knowledge economy and better governance systems by preparing the young generation. The leading education institutions around the world consider their responsibilities to equip their generation with sophisticated mechanisms and tools, problem solving techniques with practical skills, and strategic thinking to face the upcoming issues, and promote sustainable governance systems.

It is therefore imperative that Pakistani Universities may come forward and play their due role in setting a platform for a right drive towards effective governance through imparting quality Public Administration education.

The University of Haripur (UOH) yet again takes another lead by launching a new program in Public Administration and Governance at the graduate level considering the demand and significance of governance professionals in the country. It is an inter-disciplinary degree encompassing several academic disciplines.

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The program aims to strengthen the skills and knowledge base of students and prepare them for successful careers through rigorous academic training and real life simulations.  The program is designed through comprehensive discussions and vast consultations with major administrative schools at national and international levels.

BS in Public Administration and Governance program at the UOH focuses on both a theoretical and application approach, ensuring that students have the technical skills and theoretical knowledge. This program focuses to explore the fundamental elements of Public Administration, parameters of governance, and developing understandability of public policy. The rationale of the program is to prepare graduates in understanding of how policies are implemented and how to mitigate potential challenges caused by policies, specifically related to government agencies.

Scope of a public adminstration and governance degree

A public administration degree can lead to a fulfilling career in government or public service. Public administrators are responsible for drafting, analyzing, and implementing public policies through a wide range of government agencies and directly impact who has access to resources, general living standards, and opportunities for diverse communities.

BS Public Administration and Governance can open up jobs at various levels of government service as well as in the private sector.  Upon graduation, our graduates will be prepared to gain entry-level employment in a variety of environments including government, nonprofits, and think tanks or other nongovernmental organizations.

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This program is specifically designed to prepare the students for highly competitive examinations such as the Central Superior Services and Provincial Management Services. With a Ph.D. in Public Administration, one can work as a senior policy analyst in a federal, provincial or local government agency. No matter what degree level one pursues, everyone gets a chance to enter a rewarding career where one can produce positive change for individuals, communities, and the general public.

As Program Coordinator at the UOH, it must be mentioned here that the introduction of this program was not possible without the promising role of honorable Vice Chancellor Prof. Anwar Gilani who is always there to help out with innovative steps at the UOH.  It is his untiring support, regular backing, and encouragement for introducing this important program. Prof. Gilani is craving to introduce innovative programs and projects that are helpful in transforming the society.

The last three years of his tenure are evident that UOH has successfully made its place in top ranking institutions of Pakistan which is a great achievement for a young university. The varsity is rapidly growing under the visionary leadership of Prof. Gilani and the initiatives taken in his headship today will have long lasting impacts.

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I believe BS Public Administration and Governance program at the UOH will emerge as a harbinger for competent Public Administration in Pakistan and act as a platform to instill administrative skills in students and improve their administrative capabilities for better performance in their professional careers to ensure good governance in Pakistan and beyond.

The writer is political scientist, working as an assistant professor and coordinator for the graduate program in public administration and governance at The University of Haripur, Pakistan. He can be reached at mumtaz86@hotmail.com. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.