Evaluation of teaching public policy programs in East Asia..

A nice paper by Xun Wu, Allen Yuhung Lai (both of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) and Do Lim Choi of Chungnam National University.

They evaluate public policy programs taught in East Asia. The demand for such programs has risen as countries have moved towards democracy and demand for better governance.

Public policy courses have increasingly become an indispensible part in professional training programs in public affairs in East Asia in response to rapid changes in political, social and economic environment in the region. In this paper, we examine the current trends in public policy education in East Asia through the lens of syllabi of public policy courses offered in graduate programs in leading universities in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Our comparative analysis points to three main challenges in teaching public policy in East Asia: insufficient attention to policy knowledge rooted in the local context, inadequate teaching capacity and under-representation of policy analysis.

 So they just look at four countries. Findings are interesting.

First of all, public policy education in East Asia has been heavily influenced by the theories, practices, learning materials from Western countries. Textbooks written by Western scholars are often assigned as required textbooks in public policy courses, and the textbooks written by local scholars are also largely dominated by theories and practices from Western countries. Although local cases are indeed included in the textbooks, our in-depth analysis of such cases included in selected textbooks suggests that they are often used to vindicate theories or approaches generated by Western scholars. The under-representation of work by local scholars in leading textbooks demonstrates that public policy research in East Asia has not kept pace with the demand for public policy education.

Second, the fast growing demand for public policy education has posed significant challenges in the area of teaching capacity. While the scholars trained in various disciplines may bring fresh perspectives into public policy teaching and research, there is a danger of undermining core values and approaches of the field.

Third, there is an imbalance of attention paid to descriptive, analytical and prescriptive aspects in the study of public policy, as seen from the under-representation of policy analysis in public policy courses. Insufficient attention has been paid to the development of skills and craft in conducting policy analysis. The lack of emphasis on policy analysis may potentially undermine the potential of public policy education in improving the quality of policy-making through better policy analysis.

Hmm…This impact of western domination is a problem in most areas. In social science areas this becomes a problem as we see things only from West perspective but domestic contexts are very different.

The paper covers some basic issues wrt to teaching public policy and some literature survey as well.

What about India? Mukul Asher argues for pub pol education in India.  Google search tells me many B-schools are offering this program. Time to take a review…

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