Researchers from AdmEthics group publish a paper on the contribution of teaching ethics to the development of moral competence of Public Administration students

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The article “Contribution of ethics education to public administration students’ moral competence development”, written by the researchers Everton Silveira de Souza, Mauricio C. Serafim, and Laís Silveira Santos, was published this week in the journal Education Policy Analysis Archives.

The paper starts with the notion that public management is pervaded by moral dilemmas, whose solutions are not necessarily expressed in specific codes of conduct, protocols, laws or regulations. Therefore, it is fundamental that public managers can deal with these complex situations and moral deliberations. But how to prepare them for it? Can ethics education assist public managers in making difficult decisions?

These concerns – and many others – were the initial part of ​​the research presented in the paper, where the authors discussed the influence of the discipline “Ethics in Public Administration” on the moral competence of Public Administration undergraduate students in a higher education institution located in the southern region of Brazil. A questionnaire called the Moral Competence Test (MCT) was applied and thematic discussions were held with the students (focus group). To effectively raise students’ moral competence, it’s highly recommended to conduct the discipline of ethics from an active teaching methodology, suggesting the inclusion of debates about moral dilemmas in the classroom.

The theme of teaching ethics and its relationship with public management has been studied by the AdmEthics Group since 2016, including a research line dedicated to this theme, entitled “Innovative Practices in Research, Teaching and Learning Ethics in Administration”. In 2018, members of the group also published the article “Teaching Ethics in Public Field Courses: An Analysis from Pedagogical Course Projects and National Curriculum Guidelines” that discussed how teaching ethics occurs and assists the professional education of undergraduate students in Public Administration in Brazil.

The results of these studies can contribute to public policies in the area of ​​education in public universities by addressing and presenting empirical support to the problem of undergraduate teaching ethics, as well as in the search for more effective ways for the moral development of students, aiming the improvement of democratic education.

Cited papers:

Souza, E. S., Serafim, M. C., & Santos, L. S. (2019). A contribuição do ensino de ética no desenvolvimento da competência moral de discentes em administração pública. Arquivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas, 27(104). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.27.4088

Santos, L. S., Serafim, M. C., Zappellini, M. B., Zappellini, S. M. K. C., & Borges, M. K. (2018). Ensino de ética em cursos do campo de públicas: Uma análise a partir de Projetos Pedagógicos de Curso e das Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais. Arquivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas, 26(18). http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.26.3290

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