1 SURVEY OF STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION EDUCATION AND TRAINING WITHIN AND ACROSS INSTITUTIONS A Report by an UNDESA/IASIA Task Force
2 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword and Acknowledgements by Guido Bertucci, Allan Rossenbaum, and Turgay Ergun Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training: an Introduction to the Antecedents, Rationale, and Milestones Survey of Standards: Design, Testing and Administration of Online Questionnaire Ownership, Funding, and Governance of Participating Institutions Mandate, Focus, and Clients of Public Administration Education and Training Institutions Trends in the pursuit of education and training standards: Public administration curricula across institutions Trends in the pursuit of education and training standards: Quality control strategies, mechanisms, and practices The Place of Research in Public Administration Education and Training Education and Training Standards: Does Ethnic/Cultural Diversity Matter? Participating Institutions Self-assessment of Capacity and Performance Conclusions and Recommendations
3 3 Foreword and Acknowledgements by Guido Bertucci, Allan Rossenbaum, and Turgay Ergun Barely five years ago, our two institutions (the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration) launched a new initiative aimed at improving the quality and standards of public administration education and training. The only thing that was clear to the two partners at that time was the need to enhance the capacity of public administration schools and institutes to attune government and public service leaders to the multiple and increasingly complex challenges facing the world in general and the various regions and countries in particular. Neither UNDESA nor IASIA had yet completely grasped the nature, essence, and magnitude of the challenge that lay ahead or the measures that should be instituted to respond to it. An expert group meeting organized in September 2002 in Turin, Italy, helped define the scope of the challenge, besides identifying the activities that ought to be undertaken over a period to promote excellence in public administration education and training. Follow-up meetings and conferences further clarified the issues to address, and the modalities to apply to achieve the underlying objective that is, of improving standards of public administration education and training sufficiently to have a positive impact on the quality and caliber of government and public service leadership in different parts of the world. The inauguration in 2003 of a Task Force, made up of representatives of the two institutions, reflected the importance attached by the partners to the subject of excellence in public administration education and training. Under the supervision of the Task Force, experts were recruited to carry out studies aimed at clarifying the key concepts, and generating data on wide ranging subjects (among them, the organizational arrangements for the design and delivery of public administration education and training programmes, the standards and criteria applied in evaluating the quality of the programmes, and the accreditation policies and strategies integrated into various education and training programmes). The papers prepared by two experts (Dr Natalya Kolisnichenko and Dr Theo van der Krogt) highlighted the critical issues in public administration education and training and provided insights into measures adopted across the world s regions in pursuance of the objectives of excellence. These were supplemented with contributions from Allan Rossenbaum, Blue Wooldridge, Theo van der Krogt, and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). As part of the effort at addressing the challenge of excellence in public administration education and training, the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force requested schools and institutes in different parts of the world to complete an online questionnaire, and by so doing, supply the data needed to arrive at some fairly definite conclusions. The Task Force is
4 4 highly indebted to these schools and institutes for the timely and helpful response to the questionnaire. The Task Force in any case would also like to acknowledge other contributions to the successful implementation of the project. The modest achievements reported in this publication would have been well nigh impossible without the resources and the time made available by the United Nations, the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, and the other institutions to which members of the Task Force are affiliated. The Task Force further acknowledges the support that it received from the well-known survey research firm, QuestionPro. At no cost to the Task Force, the firm granted the Task Force permission to post the questionnaire on its website. It also placed at the disposal of the Task Force the software needed to receive, tabulate and analyse the responses, as well as produce real-time results. The Task Force expresses its profound gratitude to QuestionPro for this vital public service. All members of the Task Force, without exception, deserve to be commended for their commitment to the cause of excellence in the study and practice of public administration. Under their Chairperson, Professor Allan Rosenbaum, the Task Force members participated at meetings where the key conceptual issues were raised and strategies for accomplishing upcoming activities were mapped out. Finally, the Task Force recognizes the time and the expertise that the staff of the Development Management Division (of UNDESA) set aside to ensure effective implementation of the project. Jide Balogun served not only as a member of the Task Force but also as de facto Secretary and Project Coordinator. His colleague in the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Deniz Susar, provided the vital help-desk services. In this capacity, he, Deniz, responded to Jide Balogun s endless queries on, among other things, the management of the website and the respondents request for information on access to the questionnaire posted thereon. It is our hope that this initial exercise would not only sensitize the principal stakeholders to the challenges of excellence in public administration education and training, but would also trigger the policy changes that are necessary in the medium- to long-term to enhance the capacities of the schools and institutes to set and sustain constantly high standards of performance. We cannot over-emphasize the need for the active participation of the schools and institutes in the implementation of the survey recommendations, as well as for the unstinting support of governments, donor agencies, and other development partners to efforts at achieving consistently high standards of excellence in public administration education and training. Guido Bertucci (Director, Division for Public Administration and Management, UNDESA and Convener of UNDESA/IASIA Task Force)
5 5 Allan Rossenbaum (Professor, Florida International University and Chairman of Task Force) Turqay Ergun (IASIA President and Co-Convener of Task Force) April 2007
6 6 Chapter One STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION EDUCATION AND TRAINING: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ANTECEDENTS, RATIONALE, AND MILESTONES How to raise and sustain standards of excellence in public administration education and training is a longstanding and perennial challenge 1. It was among the topics exhaustively discussed at a meeting of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) held in Bratislava in The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and IASIA revisited the subject in September 2002 when the two institutions jointly organized an Expert Group Meeting in Turin, Italy, on New Challenges for Senior Leadership Enhancement for Improved Public Management in a Globalizing World. Since then, a number of activities have been undertaken as part of the joint initiative. Specifically, follow-up meetings were held at which discussions focused on a strategy for promoting the cause of excellence in public administration in general, and enhancing the capacity of education and training institutions in particular 2. One of these activities is the seminar on Improving the Quality of Public Administration Education and Training: New Needs, New Approaches held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 10 to 13 January Co-sponsored by UNDESA/DPADM, IASIA, and the Brazilian School of Public Administration, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (Getulio Vargas Foundation), the seminar deliberated on ideas and techniques appropriate for the education and training of succeeding generations of government and public service leaders. Besides identifying areas in which education and training programmes might be developed, the seminar considered ways of making the programmes relevant to public service leaders in developing countries. As indicated in a later part of this chapter, a Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training was also established comprising representatives of UNDESA and IASIA. In addition, studies have been commissioned focusing on key issues in public administration education and training. Above all, a questionnaire was designed and subsequently administered on-line to solicit the views of public administration education and training institutions on approaches to standards of excellence in various regions of the world. 1 See Allan Rossenbaum and John-Mary Kauzya, 2006, Introduction, in Allan Rossenbaum and John- Mary Kauzya (eds.), Excellence and Leadership in the Public Sector: The Role of Education and Training, (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration), p. v 2 Among the meetings were those held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; New York City, USA; Kampala, Uganda; Johannesburg, South Africa; Como, Italy; Berlin, Germany; Livingstone, Zambia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Warsaw, Poland.
7 7 Highlights of Turin Expert Group Meeting The Turin expert group meeting of September 2002 in any case is, and remains, a major landmark in the two partner institutions quest for excellence in public administration education and training. The meeting not only discussed the broad outline of a programme of action to guide future interventions, but brainstormed ideas for collaborating with education and training institutions on the design and implementation of capacity upgrading projects. Coming from various institutions (among them, university schools and faculties of public administration, management development institutes and staff colleges, university faculties and schools of administration, and the UN) the participants at the Turin EGM brought their diverse experiences and perspectives to, thereby enriching, discussions at the meeting. It should be recalled that the Turin expert group meeting was organized with the following objectives: (a) (b) attaining a broad measure of consensus on the meaning and essence of government and public service leadership in a rapidly changing world; reaching an understanding on the leadership competencies that need to be acquired by public service leaders to respond effectively to contemporary and unfolding challenges; (c) agreeing on the steps to take to design leadership training programmes, mobilize the needed resources, and link the UNDESA/IASIA leadership development efforts with parallel initiatives at regional and international levels. The meeting proceeded from the assumption that contemporary public administration systems face challenges whose magnitude and complexity could not have been earlier imagined. Among the challenges that public administration systems are expected to manage are those of globalization (and the corresponding impact on poverty and widening inequality in developing countries), economic and political liberalization, and technological as well as socio-economic transformation. In addition, and against the backdrop of the growing demands on government (for improved health and social services, for the rehabilitation of decaying urban and rural infrastructure, for police protection, and for jobs, among others) and the shrinking resources, public administration agencies are now under increasing pressure to accomplish more with less. These and other challenges confronting a rapidly changing world, as the meeting noted, called for the acquisition and deployment of above-average leadership capacities in the various arms of government and the public service 3. 3 Guido Bertucci, Strengthening Public Sector Capacity for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in Rossenbaum and Kauzya, op. cit, pp. 1-8.
8 8 According to the Turin meeting, the demand that contemporary challenges placed on government has far-reaching implications for institutions charged with the responsibility for the delivery of public administration education and training programmes especially, programmes targeted at government and public service leaders. The meeting concluded that these institutions ought to be equipped and revitalized for the specific objective of developing the critical capacities that government and public service needed to anticipate and respond to complex challenges. The meeting underscored the importance of the following capacities, in particular: (a) visionary leadership and strategic thinking; (b) (c) (d) (e) Policy coordination (including design of appropriate information and knowledge management systems); Performance management (including design and implementation of service delivery systems to enhance access to water, health, sanitation, education, poverty eradication and other services, and application of appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms); Management of change (with emphasis on conflict and diversity management, reconciliation of paradoxes and ambiguities, team-building, and negotiation); Containment of major pandemics (such as HIV/AIDs, Ebola virus, and avian flu) and monitoring and evaluation of impact of intervention measures; (f) Leadership succession planning (including the development of succeeding generation of leaders, and empowerment of subordinates). The Turin meeting concluded that leadership capacity development programmes ought to target the following different levels: Potential leaders (those who are still at University and other tertiary institutions and have plans to join the public service); Junior civil servants aspiring to top leadership positions in government and the public service; Senior civil servants (who are already holding leadership positions); Other policy makers such as Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chairpersons and Managing Directors of state corporations, chairpersons and members of regional and local assemblies; A mix bag of leaders from the public sector, civil society, and the private sector. Each of the target groups would require a strategy, an approach and a methodology congruent with its needs. Even the thematic content for the programme would vary depending on the target group.
9 9 The significance of the Turin meeting lies in the acknowledgement of the continued relevance of the public sector, and as well as the need to give increasing attention to the quality of public officials. As argued by Bertucci, Governments all over the world need to face the challenge of having in place adequate public sector human resources in order to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate policies and strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, including poverty eradication policies 4 Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration The papers presented at the Turin and the follow-up meetings were eventually edited and included in a publication that was released by UNDESA in However, realizing that the Turin meeting raised far more significant issues than those treated in the 2003 publication, both UNDESA and IASIA decided to establish a special Task Force whose remit would be solely to examine the practices adopted within and across public administration education and training institutions in grappling with the challenges of excellence. The Taskforce on Standards of Excellence for Public Administration Education and training comprise the following: Prof. Allan Rosenbaum representing IASIA (Chairperson) Mr Guido Bertucci, representing UNDESA (Joint Convener) Dr Turgay Ergun, President, IASIA (Member) Prof. R.K. Mishra: Representing IASIA (Member) Prof. Bianor Cavalcanti: Representing IASIA (Member) Dr. John-Mary Kauzya: Representing UNDESA (Member) Mr Mark Orken: Representing UNDESA (Member) Ms. Barbara Kudrycka: representing UNDESA (Member) Ms. Natalya Kolisnichenko: Representing IASIA (Member) Dr Theo van der Krogt: Representing UNDESA (Member) Dr Mark Orken, Director-General, SAMDI, (Member) Prof. Jide Balogun: Representing UNDESA (Member) The Taskforce was expected, among other things, to produce a number of outputs, notably: 4 Ibid., p United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2003, Leadership and Social Transformation in the Public Sector: Moving from Challenges to Solutions, (New York: United Nations).
10 10 A concept paper focusing on the issues to consider, as well as the standards and the criteria to apply, in assessing the level of excellence in public administration education and training; A paper on national organizational arrangements for delivering public administration education and training and identifying good practices in the accreditation of public administration education and training programs and curricula; A joint UNDESA/IASIA publication on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training. All the outputs expected from the Task Force have since been produced. In particular, a paper on National Organizational Arrangements for Delivering Public Administration Education and Training was prepared by a consultant, Dr Natalya Kolisnichenko. Another on Quality Standards in Public Administration Education and Training: Issues, Models, and Contemporary Evaluation Policies was submitted by Dr Theo van der Krogt. In addition, the Task Force s Chairperson, Professor Allan Rossenbaum submitted a paper on Excellence in Public Administration Education: Preparing the Next Generation of Public Administrators for a Changing World ), as did Dr Blue Wooldridge (with his contribution titled High Performing Schools and Institutes of Administration: the Role of Standards of Excellence ). The accreditation criteria and policies developed by the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation (EAPAA) and by NASPAA were also discussed at a meeting of the Task Force. The issues raised in these and the previous contributions (on the essence and building blocks of excellence in public administration education and training) are captured in this report and integrated in the conclusions and recommendations of the Task Force. Salient Research Questions The pursuit of excellence in public administration clearly raises a few important research questions, among them, what constitutes excellence in the academic study of, as different from practical training in the art (or science) of public administration, the ownership, funding, and governance structure of institutes assigned the responsibility for the design and implementation of public administration education and training programmes, the mechanisms developed within the institutions to achieve the goal of excellence, as well as the standards and criteria against which the performance of the institutions could be evaluated. Goal, content and methodology of public administration education and training A paper submitted to the Task Force by Allan Rossenbaum 6 looks at excellence from the academic institutions angle. Rossenbaum observes that contemporary public 6 Allan Rossenbaum, Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training: Preparing the Next Generation of Public Administrators for a Changing World, paper presented at the third meeting of the
11 11 administration was faced with challenges that required it (or those working in it) to constantly think outside the box. Unlike in the past when the challenges came neatly packed and clearly labelled, today s public administration is operating in an environment characterized by uncertainty, ambiguity, and unparalleled complexity 7. Rossenbaum holds that the erstwhile approaches to the education and training of public administrators would not suffice in meeting the precipitate and increasingly intractable challenges facing the world. In his view, success in meeting the challenges depends not so much on the acquisition of technical ( how-to ) skills, as on the ability to think through and around issues, to analyse multiple, complex and sometimes non-quantifiable variables, and to manage diversity. He, Rossenbaum, further argues that, with its individual orientation, learning is not the solution. To manage the growing challenges effectively, contemporary public administration has to design and implement a bold, comprehensive and broad-based programme of education. In other words, preparing the public administrator for contemporary challenges requires that s/he be motivated to participate in education programmes focusing on the whys and wherefores of democratic governance and public administration, rather than merely in training courses designed to impart specialized skills or technical know-how. He adds: The educated individual not only possesses knowledge of particular administrative skills and techniques, and subject matter expertise, but is also someone who understands the need to, and has some capacity to, recognize the many subtleties of the social, political and environmental context within which his or her skills must be applied. Such an individual has an understanding of why things function as they do; why institutions work as they do; and even more importantly, how to improve those processes and institutions with which they must work. Rossenbaum believes that by its very nature, excellence is a work in progress or a perpetual and unrelenting quest for perfection. According to him, it is doubtful that one could achieve complete excellence in public administration education or in any other human endeavour for that matter. However, the perpetual search for it, i.e., excellence, is what marks the concept apart from its opposite mediocrity. UNDESA/IASIA Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training, Brussels, Belgium, 18 March See also Allan Rossenbaum, 2003, New Challenges for Senior Leadership Enhancement for Improved Public Management in Leadership and Social Transformation in the Public Sector: Moving from Challenges to Solutions (New York: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), as well as M J Balogun, Promoting, Training and Developing the Best for the Public Service, Keynote Address delivered at the IAISIA Conference, Warsaw, Poland, 5 July 2006.
12 12 Excellence in public administration education and training: Meaning and approaches The subject of excellence is taken up again in a paper submitted to the Task Force by Dr Blue Wooldridge 8. Wooldridge s paper is not just about transforming the SIAs into highperforming organizations; it represents yet another serious attempt at defining excellence, and identifying measures that ought to be taken to achieve it in the design and implementation of public administration education and training programmes. A particularly significant contribution is that which comes towards the end of Wooldridge s paper that is, a framework for conceptualizing, as well as for promoting and sustaining consistently high standards of public administration education and training. Adapting the systems analytic model, he portrays excellence as being made up of the following elements (or building blocks): (a) Inputs (e.g., number and quality of instructors; library resources; research, computing and office facilities; number of classrooms; range of sporting and recreation facilities; audio-visual and multi-media presentation devices; attachment/internship/field trip costs); (b) Processes (the steps followed in deciding on the purpose/mission/mandate of a programme or institute; the role played by the various stakeholders in articulating the vision, determining the mandate, and formulating the education and training strategies; the data collected to aid the strategic planning process and to assess level of accomplishment; the process adopted in arriving at decisions on student admissions, credit hours, examination/assessment of students, student affairs, budgeting and finance, scholarships/fellowships, management of grounds and property, staff recruitment, placement, and promotions, as well as the measures adopted to improve performance in all areas); (c) Outputs (type, number and length/duration of programmes, number and status of participants; graduation as against failure/drop out rates; research and publications output; consulting and advisory services); and (d) Outcomes (knowledge acquired, skills/competencies gained; attitudes influenced or changed; impact on delivery of public services; impact/influence on employing authorities; impact on community; revenue generated from different sources; honours/accolades/prizes/awards/recognitions won). 8 Blue Wooldridge, High Performing Schools and Institutes of Administration: the Role of Standards of Excellence, paper presented at the third meeting of the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training, Brussels, Belgium, 18 March 2007.
13 13 Proceeding from the conceptual framework, Wooldridge lists the attributes of a highperforming SIA. In his view, a school or institute of administration capable of promoting and achieving consistently high education and training standards is identifiable by its: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) commitment to a clearly articulated vision, a precise mission, and a set of underlying values; focus on quality service and on meeting client s changing demands and expectations (e.g., demand for well-constructed courses, and alignment of courses to the needs of participants, students, as well as sponsoring organizations); continuous improvement and pre-emptive correction (reflected in the attention given to the installation and operation of sound information/data management systems, emphasis on performance measurement and resultsorientation, and competitive benchmarking, or striving to be better than the best competitor); employee empowerment and motivation (involvement of employees in decision making process, and actively soliciting employee inputs into the process); team building; training and staff development (indicated in the implementation of staff development policies and practices compatible with the mission, and responsive to curricular demands); application of appropriate technology (identification of technologies most effective in delivering SIA products and services); (viii) focus on the positive side of, and mainstreaming, diversity (reflected in integration of diversity issues in the curriculum, in staff recruitment, in student enrolment and welfare, and, to counter the adverse effects of inbreeding and politicization of the academic process, in the commitment to cosmopolitanism in the recruitment of faculty and the admission of students); (ix) (x) (xi) timely and effective response to environmental change (by furnishing evidence that curriculum is keeping up with technological, socioeconomic, demographic, and political changes, as well as changes in client demands); generation and sustenance of trust (the standards for which include demonstration that hiring, promotion, pay, and staff development practices are fair, consistently and transparently implemented, as well as evidence that sponsoring organizations, students, and other stakeholders have confidence in the institute s service delivery pledges and marketing practices, products and services); effective communication (reflected in the extent to which insiders and outsiders have a true picture of goings-on in the SIA);
14 14 Organizational arrangements and the quest for excellence Bringing further clarity to the issue of excellence in public administration education and training are two papers earlier commissioned by the Task Force, that is, the contributions by Natalya Kolisnichenko, and Theo van der Krogt. One of the questions that Kolisnichenko sought to answer in her own paper concerns the organizational arrangements that various countries have put in place in pursuit of excellence in public administration education and training 9. After undertaking a survey of practices within and across countries, she concludes that no one model approximates all experiences. According to her, differences in size, wealth, and other circumstances all play significant roles in determining approaches to public administration education and training. While observing that only France and a few other countries had specialized schools (like the Ecole Nationale d Administration) to prepare candidates for entry into the public service, Kolisnichenko underscores the point that in most countries, the universities or universityaffiliated institutes are the principal providers of public administration for new entrants into public service. This, in essence, means that most countries require at least first-level university degrees as minimum qualification for those seeking entry-level positions in the senior cadre of the public service. Kolisnichenko finds that both public and private (including the non-profit) sectors are heavily involved in the provision of public administration education. While these education programmes are mostly funded by student tuition, in almost all cases, government subventions or grants play an important role in supporting the activities of the university faculties, as well as the institutes and the schools providing public administration education services. With regard to non-academic public administration training (as against education) programmes, some countries rely heavily on government-controlled training institutions, while others rely on non-governmental or private sector organizations. The institutions not directly controlled by government tend to enter into some form of contractual relations with government agencies, or on external donor funding, to stay afloat. Another critical question that Kolisnichenko attempts to answer is what makes for quality or excellence in public administration education and/or training. While admitting that it is difficult to pin-point one specific factor, she concludes that having one identifiable institution play a pre-eminent role in the delivery of public administration education and training is a major advantage. She is particularly impressed with the French model, which, in her view, has greatly influenced the development of public administration education and training programmes in countries such as Argentina, China, Poland, and Ukraine. Kolisnichenko s contribution is not limited to her cross-national comparison of institutional arrangements for public administration education and training. Her review of 9 Natalya Kolisnichenko, National Organizational Arrangements for Delivering Public Administration Education and Training (Text of Paper prepared for the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education and Training, September 2005).
15 15 the thematic content of the education and training programmes implemented by the various institutions, at the very least, raises the question what is meant by public administration and what one needs to know to be an expert in the field. Her survey of the knowledge- and skill contents of the programmes implemented in different institutions confirms the eclectic nature of the field known as public administration. The subjects taught range from team work, quality management, and languages, through personnel and human resources management, policy analysis, strategic planning and management, political science, law, administrative law, international relations, psychology, ethics, organizational theory, comparative public administration, local government and regional administration, to economics, finance, budgeting, accounting, business management, and computer skills. Standards, criteria and quality control mechanisms Another paper commissioned by the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force was prepared by Theo van der Krogt 10. He starts with definitions of the key concepts (e.g., evaluation, accreditation, audit, benchmark, benchmarking, quality assurance, quality, criteria, and standards). He then examines the general, non-discipline specific evaluation models applied in various countries, in contrast to the evaluation models applied on public and business administration programmes. Krogt examines general evaluation from various angles, paying particular attention to internal versus external, formative versus definitive or final, institutional versus programme, peer versus non-peer, efficiency versus effectiveness, academic versus practical, mission-based versus normal, and voluntary versus mandatory evaluation. He maintains that when the primary aim of evaluation is formative (that is, programme improvement) peer review is the most logical. However, when the aim is to make a final and definitive judgement on programmes, peers can be seen as too close to be objective. If for instance a decision is about to be taken on the fate of a programme, it is not certain that peers could be trusted to come up with harsh evaluation reports. The tendency would be to be lenient to colleagues in the hope that the favour would some day be returned. As regards the distinction between academic and practical evaluation, Krogt observes that the tendency under the former is to focus on the academic or knowledge content of programmes, in contrast to the practical skills appreciated by organizations nominating their staff for on-the-job training programmes. Some programmes also target professional clients, and therefore rely on professional accreditation to survive. Examples that readily come to mind are the education and training programmes in accounting, banking, law, medicine, engineering, and architecture. Another distinction that comes out clearly in Krogt s analysis is the evaluation which is mandatory as against the voluntary type. When an institution requires a licence or authorization to run a programme (mostly of the academic and degree-awarding type), 10 Theo van der Krogt, Quality Standards in Public Administration Education and Training: Issues, Models, and Contemporary Evaluation Policies (September 2005).
16 16 the evaluation or accreditation is said to be mandatory. He notes that up to 1998, less than half of the European countries had mandatory accreditation policies. By 2003, all, with the exception of Greece and Denmark, had various types of accreditation systems in place. In contrast, a few programmes rely mainly on voluntary accreditation (e.g., AMBA or EQUIS systems for MBA programmes, and the systems of NASPAA and EAPAA in the field of public administration). Krogt identifies the criteria and standards qualitative and quantitative that are generally applied in evaluating institutions and programmes. Examples are depth of knowledge, type and range of skills, and professional know-how. In his conclusion, Krogt observes that the terminology of evaluation is characterized by diversity. According to him quality improvement is sought through the evaluation of institutions or programmes, and the application of diverse evaluation instruments. Among the mechanisms that appear common are audit, benchmarking, and evaluation. The diversity in evaluation mechanisms is matched by much similarity. Krogt states that on close examination, terms with different labels mean more or less the same thing, and seek to achieve the same objectives. Almost all external evaluations are based on a combination of institutional self-evaluation and site visits by external experts. Besides, the criteria or standards applied in evaluating programmes and institutions are fairly similar. Most of the criteria or standards are quantitative (e.g., budget levels, length or duration and number of programmes/courses, student/teacher or programme/teacher ratios, failure/drop out rates), while some are subject to qualitative interpretation (e.g., impact on institutional transformation and client confidence). Enhancing and sustaining public administration and training standards: Towards a consensus on critical elements and strategies Based on the papers presented at various meetings and the discussions thereon, the Task Force concluded that excellence in public administration education and training required that SIAs accord high priority to measures that would ensure consistently high standards in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes. The Task Force accordingly agreed on the adoption of a strategy that was most likely to promote the quest for perfection as a constant and on-going process and at all critical stages in the delivery of education and training programmes. The main elements (or building blocks) of such a strategy are: Clarity of vision, mission, and underlying values/philosophies: As much as practicable, the mandate of each SIA should be clarified along with the role of all the stakeholders, and the original vision should be kept alive or updated by a highly participative process of strategic planning); Transparency of governance, structure and process (There should be no doubt as to which body is accountable for specific policy or operational decisions, and the rules and regulations concerning admissions, student assessments/examinations, and the recruitment of faculty should be applied in a fair and consistent manner);
17 17 Commitment to quality, and continuous, nay, permanent, quest for perfection: Rather than regard quality assurance as a one-off process, SIAs are obliged to view excellence as an unending quest, as work in progress ; Emphasis on Performance Management and Results (including the establishment of viable information management, monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as mechanisms for the collection, storage, and retrieval of input, output, and process data); Formulation of input and output indicators (such as, for inputs, number and qualifications of staff; and for outputs, number of graduates as a percent of total enrolment); Client orientation and commitment to quality service (reflected in the attention given to client demands and expectations in the design of courses, the application of appropriate instructional methodology and techniques, and provision of clientfocused consulting and advisory services); Employee empowerment and motivation (with particular emphasis on encouragement and accommodation of staff inputs into the decision process, and fair, transparent, and consistent application of personnel rules); Commitment to ethnic and cultural diversity and equity (as well as projection of cosmopolitan (or international) outlook in the enrolment of students and recruitment of faculty). Searching for additional answers: administration of survey questionnaire To build on the conclusions reached at earlier meetings and conferences and revisit the issues raised in the papers prepared by experts and professional networks (particularly, the papers by Rossenbaum, Wooldridge, Kolisnichenko, Krogt, EAPAA and NASPAA), the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force requested schools and institutes of public administration in different parts of the world to complete an online questionnaire on standards of excellence. The constraints that the Task Force faced while administering the questionnaire are outlined in the next chapter. Notwithstanding the methodological and technical limitations attendant upon the administration of the research instrument, the initial effort was still able to turn up a few fascinating conclusions about public administration education and training institutions, their programmes, and the measures adopted from time to time to raise and sustain performance standards. These conclusions are reproduced in the chapters that follow. For instance, the next chapter, Chapter Two, describes the challenges facing the Task Force as it set out to design a questionnaire and administer it online. Chapter Three focuses on the ownership and governance structure of the participating institutions, Chapter Four on the institutions mandate, programme orientation and clients, and Chapter Five on the public administration curriculum. Chapter Six examines the systems and mechanisms established to ensure that education and training standards are pitched at consistently high levels, while Chapter Seven looks at the place of research in public administration education and training. Chapters Eight and Nine report on the institutions perceptions of the role of ethnic/cultural diversity on excellence, and of their own capabilities, respectively. The last chapter (Chapter Ten) pulls together highlights of the preceding
18 18 chapters to arrive at some fairly specific conclusions and come up with a set of recommendations on public administration education and training standards.
19 19 Chapter Two SURVEY OF STANDARDS: DESIGN, TESTING AND ADMINISTRATION OF ON- LINE QUESTIONNAIRE Taking into account the challenges confronting public administration systems in the contemporary world, and based on the outcomes of the various meetings organized and the activities carried out under its auspices, the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force on Standards of Excellence in Public Administration Education designed a questionnaire which was administered online to solicit the views of the various institutions on the effectiveness of systems and practices that have been established in pursuit of quality assurance objectives. The aim is to go beyond the desk studies carried out by Kolisnichenko and Krogt, and weigh the responses of the education and training institutes themselves to specific quality assurance questions, notably, ownership and governance of institutions, programme target group, thematic focus, research interests, and institutional capability. It must be stated from the outset that the on-line survey that was eventually carried out did not conform to strict scientific data gathering and validation rules. For these and other reasons, any conclusions drawn from the responses to the questionnaire would need to be revisited as the research methodology is refined and as additional data become available. Still, and notwithstanding the data gaps that need to be filled, the overall response to the questionnaire provides glimpses to standards of excellence in public administration education and training in different parts of the world, thus paving the way to a sustained and systematic review of progress. The first draft of the questionnaire was prepared as far back as October 2005 and circulated to the Task Force members for comments shortly thereafter. Based on the suggestions received from members, a revised draft was produced in readiness for distribution at upcoming regional conferences, particularly, the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPACee) Annual Conference scheduled to be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in May 2006, and the IASIA Annual Conference taking place in Warsaw, Poland, in July The comments received from participants at the latter meeting (the IASIA Regional Conference in Warsaw) eventually led to substantial changes in the questionnaire, with some questions being recast to avoid double interpretation, and with a bank of questions on ethnic and cultural diversity being incorporated in the revised draft. The final draft of the questionnaire was ready by August 2006, and tested for clarity and consistency in September At about the same time (August-September 2006), an Internet search of faculties, academies, colleges, schools, institutes of public administration in different regions of the world was carried out to supplement the list received from the Executive Secretariat of IASIA. The assistance of key regional institutions (such as NISPACee, EAPAA, ARADO, AAPAM, CLAD, EROPA, and ASPAA) was also enlisted to ensure full participation of their institutional members in the exercise.
20 20 Online Survey: the Methodology and its Limitations Online surveys have many advantages over the conventional methods of reaching potential respondents, but they also pose momentous technical and methodological challenges, as the UNDESA/IASIA Task Force subsequently discovered. Thanks to advances in information and communication technology, survey researchers can, with one click, reach a larger population than was once thought possible. Collating, tabulating, and analysing large amounts of data used to be a dreadful chore. Not any longer. With the development of new software, it is now possible to have real-time results of questionnaires that are administered online. Buoyed by the limitless technological possibilities, the Task Force embarked on a search for software which would not only enable a vast number of respondents to complete and return the questionnaire, but would also relieve the researchers of the necessity to wade through the responses before tabulating and analysing them. However, due to budget constraints, the Task Force had no software of its own one that could carry out several different operations at the same time while remaining under the direct control of the Task Force. Fortunately, the Task Force came across a facility provided by a reputable survey research firm, QuestionPro. This facility is made available free of charge on condition that it would be utilized for non-profit purposes. The Task Force would like to take this opportunity to express its deepest gratitude to the QuestionPro for providing this valuable public service. Although the functions carried out by the QuestionPro software are limited, and while some important operations (e.g., dis-aggregation of data by respondents main attributes, and cross tabulation of responses) could not be carried out unless the Task Force had access to an upgraded, albeit, expensive, system, the firm deserves to be commended for placing its facility at the disposal of a non-commercial endeavour like the survey of public administration education and training standards. Availing itself of the QuestionPro medium and software, the Task Force contacted all the institutions on the IASIA ing list, and enlisted the support of regional networks such as EAPAA, NISPACee, AAPAM, CLAD, ARADO, and EROPA. Most of the regional networks subsequently brought the questionnaire to the attention of their member-institutions. Besides contacting institutes and schools of public administration in the various regions (particularly, Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub Saharan Africa, Western Europe), the Task Force posted the questionnaire on UNPAN. Based on the search carried out on the Internet, the Task Force also compiled an additional list of public administration schools to which it sent links to the questionnaire. This is where the survey ran into the first roadblock. A few messages sent to the institutes and schools of administration in October 2006 bounced back, indicating that the addresses were either wrong or no longer in use.