The Establishment of Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA)

The Graduate School of Public Administration was established in 1955 as Thailand’s first graduate school offering graduate-level courses in public administration. Over the six decades, GSPA’s study programs have been committed to continuously improve its courses relating to circumstances and demands from public. Graduates from GSPA hold important positions in various public and private sector careers. Also, they are recognized in contributing to country development.

The Graduate School of Public Administration is the first graduate school in Thailand offering graduate-level courses in public administration. Initially, GSPA was established as part of Thammasat University under Royal Decree which was effective on July 6, 1955 under the initiative of leading Thai scholars, namely Dr. Malai Huwanan and Mr. Chao Pattanacharoon, with the sponsorship from General Plaek. Phibunsongkram (President of Thammasat University at the time), and the significant assistance from Indiana University.  With the agreement between Thammasat University and Indiana University, GSPA was established under Thammasat University and started to offer graduate study courses in 1956. Regarding to the establishment of school, faculty members from Indiana University largely contributed to the curricula and courses up until 1963.

On April 1, 1966, the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) was established by the Royal Thai Government with being stipulated in the National Institute of Development Administration Act B.E. 2509 (1966). The Graduate School of Public Administration became one of its founding schools. The GSPA has been increasing potential graduates in public administration. Later, the school started offering a Ph.D. program in Public Administration in the first semester of 1984. Also, it has been offering the Ph.D. program on a part-time basis in the second semester of 1987.

Since the GSPA was established as the first graduate school in public administration of Thailand, the aim to provide learners the keen insight of the field with the indispensable assistance of Indiana University (IU) is now actualized as the GSPA is deemed as a leading school with the great evidence of graduates who have been taking a crucial role in various sectors in the country. Having said that, Patrick O’Meara, a former Indiana University professor, who experienced the GSPA development gave his opinion in the occasion of 50 anniversaries that “In Thailand, as in many other parts of the world, sources of funding are changing, calling for imagination and innovation in order to continue serving new populations and new constituencies. Public administration at NIDA is uniquely poised to branch out in new directions not only within Thailand but within the greater Southeast Asian region. It has the human and physical resources to take the lead in dynamic and creative directions. Through new technologies, distance learning, short- and long-term training programs, and workshops and conferences, it can enhance its existing stature and make a decisive impact. I was particularly impressed with the resources at the School and its command of technology for instruction and outreach.”

GSPA in Ages

In the first decade after founded in 1955, the mission of cooperation to educate the study of public administration in Thailand is evidently based on a personal relationship between the U.S. officials, especially Ford foundation, and the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA), and Thai authority. The programs conducted at that time were intensely inspected by faculty who were taking a lead in founding NIDA with observing the crucial pedagogy of lesson-learnt method. Because of many graduate students in the early period were from the bureaucratic system, education which was accordingly based on their professional experiences is intensely focused in order that students can apply studied courses in their careers.

In later decades, GSPA, a leading school in NIDA, has been better developing academics in many aspects. For example, returning to be a full-time professor of doctoral graduates from the U.S., conducting research and trainings which make officials beneficial from new learning from the westernized discipline. Meanwhile the higher education is the main accountability of establishing the school, GSPA therefore now offers the full-time Ph.D. programs in Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Governance and Development as the international program serving particularly for domestic and international students. In the same time, with a goal of achieving the equal education, GSPA began conducting the Master of Public Administration degree in provinces in order to provide the higher education for general enthusiastic people who need to be more specialized in public affairs study.            

To date, the GSPA has been offering Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) for non-office hours study in various provincial offices namely Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, and Surat Thani while the Master of Public Private Management (M.P.P.M.) has been conducting in Chonburi provincial office. With the academic potent and locations, the GSPA has continued developing outcome-based educational standards including curricula, facilities, and the use of new technologies in order to improve the ultimate educational quality in provinces since the establishment up until now.

Regarding the continuous improvement in all respects, the M.P.A. offered by the GSPA has been qualified by the AUN-QA (Asean University Network Quality Assurance) in all locations that we conduct the M.P.A. Still, despite the evidently qualified programs, GSPA has always determined to better enhance our higher education as we are expecting to be a World Class University of the region.


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