The study of public administration may be divided into different fields of specialisation. Traditional approaches to public administration are used to improve our knowledge of government and society. This approach centres around questions such as: what socio-economic conditions and political systems operate to shape the content of public policy; or, what impact does public policy have on society and the political system? Another realm of public administration relates to the study of public policy for professional reasons: understanding the causes and consequences of public policy. While the study of public administration traditionally focused on institutional structures and philosophical justification for government, more recently the field of public administration has developed so that the study of public policy is as important as the institutions that formulate it. This shift in focus is concerned with the description and explanation of the causes and consequences of government activity. This approach centres on questions such as: what kinds of policies would best achieve certain prescribed political aims or societal objectives? Finally, the study of public administration is also concerned with policy recommendations, that is, specific policy prescriptions and recommendations about the types of policies that are right or reasonable for government to pursue. In the New Public Management (NPM) discourse, administrators are expected to go beyond mere policy recommendation to include policy formulation, analysis, implementation, evaluation and modification of the whole policy process.
Recently the application of private sector principles or market mechanisms in the public sector has meant that public administration as a discipline of study borrows extensively from business management, finance and economics. As a profession, public administrators increasingly work with and in the private sector. The application of NPM means that the traditional training of public administrators has also changed to incorporate more commercial or private sector ideas.
At the NTISD, the philosophy is to pursue all forms of public administration within the BA programme. The ideology is to train students to acquire a broad knowledge and understanding of public administration as a discipline which has it own theories, concepts and ethics and, at the same time, as a profession with its main practice in the public sector. The BA Public Administration curriculum is therefore designed to include general subjects such as economics, law, sociology and political science that will provide students with the analytical tools to understand the broader environment within which public sector organisations operate.
The core Public Administration modules provide a comprehensive overview of the discipline’s key themes and issues. Consideration is given to both the traditional model of Public Administration as well as more recent developments such as New Public Management. The curriculum includes modules on good governance and democracy, strategic management, organisational change and innovation and public sector reforms. This exemplifies its broad and at the same time state-of-the-art focus on public sector decision-making and policy-making functions, on the improvement of service delivery, and on the enhancement of the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector organisations.