A Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Joseph Atsu Ayee, has urged tertiary institutions to start a full programme in Public Policy and Analysis to enable them to produce graduates who will be capable of dealing with challenges facing public service delivery.
He said any decision taken by the government to solve a problem is a public policy, and since all public policies must solve problems, it was important for tertiary institutions to introduce such discipline to train students to enable them to use the knowledge they had acquired to help solve some of the problems affecting the public sector for the development of the nation.
He said the 1992 Constitution, Local Government Act, an Act of Parliament, budget, the recent verdict by the Supreme Court on the 2020 Election Petition, among others, were all public policies meant to solve problems.
Prof. Ayee, who was sharing his views with the Daily Graphic on how to improve the quality of public service delivery, said because a large proportion of tertiary institutions in Ghana ran Public Administration programmes but not Public Policy, the nation had not been able to produce professionals in that field to transform the weak public sector institutions into strong institutions.
‘‘We have two disciplines – Public Policy and Public Administration but when it comes to the teaching of Public Policy as a programme, there is nothing like that. Public Policy has been a component of Public Policy and Administration which is being run by most tertiary institutions.
He said the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) had also moved away from its core mandate of offering training programmes for the public sector to recruit Business Administration students under its Business School to enable it to raise funds to support the institution.
Prof. Ayee said there was the need to transform the curriculum of all the institutions offering programmes on Public Policy and Administration to see how best it could be changed because there must be a link between teaching and resources.
‘‘I know the University of Nairobi runs a full PhD programme in Public Policy and Analysis which none of our tertiary institutions does. In our case, lack of textbooks to run such programme and the non-existence of a professional association to promote Public Policy are worrisome,’’ he emphasised.
Prof. Ayee said the institutions which were currently running Public Policy and Administration programmes should also involve practitioners to enable students to gain knowledge about how to practise it.
He said this would bridge the gap between theory and practice and would also give the universities the opportunity to train students for the job market.
He said the Sustainable Development Goals 16 talked about strong institutions so the nation needed strong ministries, strong agencies, a strong public sector, etc. to promote rule of law and deliver quality service.