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Conclusions and proposals for the improvement of university education in the field of public administration


In the photo above, the panellists during the round table workshop on Public Administration Employers on 18 December 2018

The education received by university students who go on to enter public administration is a key factor in the performance of the specific functions and activities assigned to government authorities.

On 18 December, AQU Catalunya organised a round table workshop on The higher education requirements of public administration. Challenges for the future, which forms part of the cycle of Employers events. The workshop saw the presentation of the results of the survey of employers in public administration, in which they were asked about the education, training and skills of graduates employed in the sector. Using the results and findings of the survey study, the workshop served as a forum for academia and professionals to unite synergies for the purpose of improving the curricula of programmes of study in Public Administration.

The most important conclusions from the Employers survey and the debate are given in the document Conclusions of the round table workshop on Conclusions of the round table workshop on The higher education requirements of public administration. Challenges for the future [ca], and are as follows:

  • Half of all the local administrations surveyed have fewer than ten workers and the proportion of staff with a degree compared to the total is low.
  • Soft skills required in employment with government authorities that need to be improved in university education are practical skills, autonomy at work and problem-solving (a similar result to other programmes of study). There are differences, however, according to the size of the government authority.
  • The level of cooperation with the universities is very low. Only one out of every four authorities offers work experience/placement to students and hardly any make use of university careers and employment services.
  • Skill requirements in the near future are clearly related to ICT skills (especially e-administration) and legal and economic expertise.
  • Positions that will decrease in importance are direct front-line services to the public (due to the promotion of e-administration) and unqualified jobs.

These findings led to the following proposals for improvement from those participating in the round table:

  • All public administrations and authorities, regardless of their size, need qualified staff. The selection and/or training of staff in economics and law is therefore necessary before high quality government services can be guaranteed.
  • Collaboration and cooperation needs to be increased between the Administration and the university careers and employment services. Some local government authorities have great difficulty in finding qualified professionals for temporary contracts and students have very little information about vacancies with government authorities. One possibility is the dissemination by universities among recent graduates of job vacancies in local government authorities.