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Public Administration Education in the CEE Countries: How has it Developed during the Recent Decades ?


This paper presents findings on the developments of PA education in 11 CEE countries and discusses various patterns based on the data on the historical background of PA education, forming thus the initial outcome of a more complex research carried out within the PAQUALITY project. The analysis is based around two main contextual factors: the role of imprinting (path-dependence) of the PA education in the framework of history and evolved PA ideologies, and the development of PA as discipline; and the role of institutional and HE legal factors on the current existence and status of PA education in the selected cluster of countries. The research question relates to the potential observation of differences in the development and current status of PA education in 11 CEE countries today. For this purpose, we utilize a co-variational international comparative case-study methodological approach, since this is a variable-centered approach, as it is acknowledged that a full-fledged theory might be absent in the framework of this specific investigation. The results indicate that we can argue in favor of the role of path-dependence in shaping PA education in CEE countries, where different starting points affected the outcomes in the content of current PA education. However, path-dependence is not to be taken as a sole factor corresponding to the development of the PA discipline in specific countries, as also more context-based factors and legal provisions do play the role. The outcome is that there is a lack of uniformity of PA education across CEE countries, where the country-specific context is the major factor in shaping the structure and content of programs, in some instances even creating new “sciences”. Although it would be expected to have some convergence in PA programs after almost three decades after the political and economic transformations started, we can even argue that PA education is more diverse now. This would give a specific role to the internalization and / or international accreditation in re-shaping and reversing the divergence processes in the future, but the anticipation for program consolidation might also be the factor that could have converging effects.

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