Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences (Dec 2022)

The Low Demand for Public Administration Programs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia: What May be Behind it?

  • Robert Jahoda,
  • Ivan Maly,
  • Juraj Nemec,
  • David Spacek

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. SI
pp. 99 – 117


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The importance of public administration (PA) education and training is obvious, any effective public administration system needs an influx of a new and well-educated workforce. Compared to the (relatively) better situation in other Central and Eastern European countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia represent a very specific case – the falling number of students in PA programs threatens the existence of the only programs with international accreditation (those at Masaryk University Brno and Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica). The aim of this paper was to investigate the reasons why so few students apply and enroll in these EAPAA-accredited programs. Qualitative research is used to achieve this goal. In the opinion of the program chairs and our secondary analysis, there are multiple factors behind the very low level of demand which critically threatens the existence of the best master programs in the countries studied. A very specific issue that appears to be unique for both countries is free public university education with unregulated demand. Such an environment, combined with the performance- based funding of public universities and other higher education institutions, where the number of students is a decisive factor in the amount of the public grant to the university, generates an oversupply of places offered to secondary school graduates. The role of other potential barriers for the interest to study public administration is catalyzed by the ‘oversupply’ conditions. The questionnaire, the statements of program chairs, and our secondary analysis confirm that there is a role to be played by monitoring other potential barriers — the fact that programs are run in economics faculties, limited trust in politicians, government and public administration, the system of access to the civil service and salary levels in the public sector.