Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration: Studying International Experience

Recently, within the framework of the EU funded project “Support for Public Administration Capacity Building in Turkmenistan”, an online workshop via video conference was held in the Academy of Civil Service under the President of Turkmenistan. The teaching staff and the specialists of the Academy took part in the workshop.

The aim of the workshop is to assist the Academy in the development of a Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration (MPA), based on the best international experience of the leading countries of Europe, as well as the countries of the CIS and taking into account the national characteristics and priorities of the socio-economic development of Turkmenistan.

It should be noted that the Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration is an interdisciplinary program that combines training in the development and implementation of public policy, solving problems at different levels of management and improving the efficiency of organizations and institutions of public administration.

Based on this, the MPA program comprises such studies as general management, HR management, macroeconomic theory, statistics, budgeting, communications, ethics, and political analysis.

Along with the above academic disciplines, it is planned to include subjects in the areas of law, legislation and legal regulation of public policy, which have both a theoretical focus and an applied nature of the educational process, based on the formation of the necessary level of knowledge, skills and competencies in the field of forecasting, planning and management.

In the introductory part of the workshop, an overview lecture was given by Mr. Klaus Erdmann, an international expert from Germany, who presented the experience of a number of foreign countries used in the development and implementation of Master’s courses in Public Administration. A distinctive feature of many foreign MPA programs is that they can have one or more specializations.

For example, often at such programs, students can choose to study the work of non-profit organizations or focus on the international component, through studying international management, foreign policy, international finance, etc. In the United States, Western Europe, and for some time in a number of CIS countries, there are MPA programs specializing in health care, municipal administration, urban management, etc.

Another distinctive feature of the MPA program is a greater emphasis on professionalism and the formation of managerial and organizational skills for future leaders. As a case study, the experience of the leading academic school in Germany Hertie School of Governance (Berlin) was presented, where the Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration is intended for experienced professionals for whom the interaction of government, business and society is an important part of their work.

Each student chooses his/her own specialization, as well as the format of study – either full-time study during the year, or studying in a modular format for two years, while continuing the work (in-service training). Applicants with, at least 2 years of work experience and a first degree in economics, law or social sciences are admitted to the program.

In the second part of the workshop, an exchange of views and a discussion on issues related to the inclusion of particular academic disciplines into the Master’s Program took place. Here it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that in 2020 the Academy of Civil Service admitted students to study at the Master’s Degree Program in two areas: “Digital Management”, the duration of study is 1 year and “The Law on Local Self-Government”, the duration of study is 1,5 years.

The training of highly qualified specialists in the field of digital transformation of the economy and the legal support of public administration at all levels is one of the main tasks of the on-going Master’s courses of the Academy of Civil Service, which gives students the necessary scope of interdisciplinary knowledge, international and national focus and in-depth study of the English language.

Taking into account the importance of the Master’s Degree program in Public Administration, representatives of the Academy of Civil Service spoke in favor of including in the curriculum a set of subjects that contribute to the knowledge enhancement, improvement of managerial and analytical skills of students in such areas as:

  • Digital management of the economy;
  • Modern mechanisms and technologies of Public Administration;
  • State management of foreign economic activity;
  • Management of logistics centers;
  • Management in the social sphere;
  • Regional administration.

At the end of the workshop, representatives of the Academy of Civil Service expressed a wish to continue an active and fruitful cooperation within the framework of the joint project in the area of development of Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration, using innovative approaches to teaching based on interactive methods and digital resources.

“A distinctive feature of the training of master’s students, along with the studying  managerial, economic and general humanitarian disciplines, is the presence of a significant amount of legal disciplines, taking into account the increased scope of functions related to law enforcement and the preparation of legal documents by state and municipal employees”, said Ilmat Khanmedov, head of the Civil Law Department of the Academy of Civil Service.

Akjemal Burunova, Associate Professor of the Department of Economics and Finance, Candidate of Economic Sciences of the Academy of Civil Service drew the attention of the workshop participants to the fact that the direction of study program on Public Administration (Master’s Degree) is aimed at the formation and development of a system of general cultural, general professional and professional competencies, allowing to effectively carry out various types of activities in the field of state and municipal management, in particular: research, organizational and managerial, administrative and technological, consulting and information and analytical, as well as project design.

Concluding the workshop, Babakhan Berdiyev, National Project Coordinator of the Academy of Civil Service, emphasized that the aim of the Master’s Degree Program in Public Administration is to train highly qualified managers with a wide range of analytical and practical skills. Studying Master’s programs at the Academy of Civil Service provides new opportunities for professional growth, both in government and management at various levels, and in business.

The Master’s Programs of the Academy of Civil Service are focused on the formation of a holistic, systematic view of management problems, combined with the development of applied knowledge in a specific area. Fundamental training will allow the graduate to conduct independent research and practical activities, to develop his/her professional competencies in a wide variety of areas in the future.

All programs are taught by the Academy’s leading teachers and invited specialists (guest lecturers). The content of academic disciplines is based on the latest scientific achievements and developments of the teaching staff of the Academy.

The forms of study in the Master’s program are diverse. They include both traditional lectures and seminars, as well as modern interactive teaching methods, such as business games, case studies, round tables, discussions, group project development, etc.

Upon completion of the program, students receive a State Diploma of higher professional education (Master’s Degree).

Hajymyrat Pirmuhammedov

The senior lecturer of the Academy of Civil Service under the President of Turkmenistan