n Journal of Public Administration - Ethics course in public administration curriculum

Volume 49, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Within liberal democratic countries, demands that ethics of public office be formally codified are becoming louder. Ethics committees are a growth in many organisations. Ethics education policies are in the public sector are developed on an ad hoc basis, rather than drawn from any systematically considered ethical theory or embedded within any pragmatic, workable education programme. Many militaries around the world are setting a good example by implementing ethics programmes directly based on the work of academic philosophers and social scientists therefore public administration must follow. Philosophical principles around ethics programmes are, however, often very different schools of public administration and management. If the South African Public Administration curriculum in universities is to maintain its professional focus, certain valuable intellectual investigation must be sacrificed. One can hope that graduates in public administration already acquired a rich background in the liberal arts. But, one cannot demand extensive philosophical investigations from public administration students after starting their professional studies. To take political philosophy as part of a course in ethics will not be fair to the students or to philosophy itself. Therefore, academics must look elsewhere for the foundation of the course in ethics. This article outlines a method of integrating the study of ethics in the South African public administration curriculum.

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