Doing well by doing good

Doing well by doing good

Public policy concentrates on the procedures by which different sorts of approaches and guiding principles that influence an individual’s decisions on public services are made and implemented. One will find out about the official, authoritative and regulatory procedures required, and in addition how to break down and create strategies for making better policies. Students additionally learn to construct their comprehension of a more extensive financial, political and social sphere to be considered in their decision making.

Students who pursue a degree in public policy go on to work in non-profit organisations, consulting firms, international organizations, and governments, serving public interest. These professionals offer solutions to global challenges employing quantitative analysis, economics, finance, management skills, etc. Whether your focus is on your local community or the society on a whole, a career in Public Policy is apt for those who want to make a difference to the world around us.

The best way to make use of your degree is to take up a cause that you’re extremely passionate about, and find an organisation that shares the same passion as you, to work for. Public Policy and Public Administration used to be seen as degrees taken up by mid-career bureaucrats. However, today more so than ever before, the Indian government has been hiring individuals from outside the civil service to help carry forward India’s Governance through the challenges of the 21st century. The next generation of India’s policy makers, more than ever before, will have to navigate the nexus between politics, governance, private sector and civil society. According to senior civil servants, this trend is likely to continue.

In this edition of GV, we share our insights about a career in this seemingly burgeoning field, and also on what experts have to say:

Public Policy careers gaining traction in India and around the world

The momentum of public policy is getting a lot of traction in India and around the world, government are promptly looking out for collaborations with public policy focused think tanks. In recent years, private and non-profit organisations increasingly require greater engagement with government regulators and thus, there is a greater demand for professionals skilled in public policy and international affairs to take up these roles. Things have changed so much today with everyone from large multinational corporations to start-ups creating public policy roles so that they can represent their interests and influence government regulation in their field.

Popular courses in Public Policy which can be pursued by interested candidates in India

Public policy as a taught discipline at the graduate level is new in India. Indeed Jindal School of Government and Public Policy – Jindal Global University is the first university in the country that has a Master’s programme in public policy. A few others  are now developing a MA programme in public policy. Some other degrees that could be considered by  students interested in public policy programme include  development studies/gender studies, development economics which are being offered by several universities.

A master in Public Policy gives potential leaders the skills essential to move ahead in the field of public service. Masters in public policy or commonly called MPP degree helps to sharpen the skills of scholars in order to take opposite actions when it comes to the subject of public policy decisions.

The best colleges in India for pursuing a course in a Public Policy Course are listed below-

1.         Indira Gandhi National Open University- IGNOU.

2.         Jindal School of Government and Public Policy- JSGP.

3.         Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phoole University.

4.         National Law School of India University- NLSIU Bangalore.

5.         RNB Global University.

6.         St. Xavier’s College Mumbai.

7.         University of Madras.

Reasons behind growing popularity among youngsters in participating in policy making with the government in India

India’s youth, like youth elsewhere, is restless and seeks opportunities to make a good living. It recognises the shortcomings in India’s policy making and its implementation process. The youth values democracy and the right to vote in the country. Furthermore, it has access to several avenues and platforms, including through the reach offered by social media, to voice its concerns and make a difference to the business-as-usual approach in the country. All this has encouraged the youth to participate in the policy making process in the country.

Since public policy mainly revolves around government administration, how can one pursue their aims for contributing to public policy in private sector?

India has become the first country in the world that has a law on corporate social responsibility, which makes it mandatory for corporates above a certain threshold to contribute a fixed proportion of their profits for funding CSR activities. On an annual basis, this amounts to a spending of about Rs 30,000 crore by the corporate sector on activities identified for CSR under the act. There is therefore a huge demand emerging for persons who understand public policy and development practice to work in the corporate sector. At the same time, the process of policy making is becoming more transparent and participatory, which provides the scope for people to contribute to the process of policy formulation and its effective implementation.

What makes the discipline of ‘public policy’ different from other academic degrees? Public Policy unlike other post-graduate degrees is truly multidisciplinary. It combines theoretical and conceptual study of relevant subjects with practice. It seeks to provide students with solid grounding in policy making processes and trains them to apply ethics, economics, politics, social theory and public leadership to policy design, programme implementation and evaluation. Public policy as a ‘practice’ means thinking critically about public policy as it is presently manifested, and thinking critically about what public policy could become if it is to be true to its proper purposes. As a discipline public policy is primarily focused on people, recognizing that technical expertise is meant to serve the interests of people, and policy decisions should be made after due deliberation, with ample opportunities afforded to ordinary people to shape those policy decisions.


Skill set and education to excel in Public Policy

A graduate student in any disciple who has an open mind to pursue a multi-disciplinary study at the post -graduate level in public policy. There is a need for good engineers, doctors, social scientists and students trained in science streams to enrich the policy making process in the country. While some familiarity with quantitative analytical skills is beneficial, it is not necessary. Above all it is the motivation of the candidate to make a difference to the society at large that will help in making her /him a good policy practitioner.

Public policy in India has been typically associated with the work that the civil servants and politicians do. However, that is not so in the developed countries. It is a much broader process which involves other stakeholders in the society, who are adequately informed and participate in the policy making process at multiple levels. Also, the high- level policy makers in developed countries invariably come from academia and business. India is only now opening up to such a model and only gradually so. This will change in the near future as complexities of policy making and governance in a globalised world will make it necessary to get the state-of-the-art expertise into the policy making process.

Opportunities to study abroad

Courses and degrees offered by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy is one of Asia’s leading public policy schools in Asia. Their mission is to improve standards of governance and transform lives.  The school offers six Master programmes and a PhD which seeks to provide thought leadership on Asia’s role in a changing world. The following courses are available:

  • Master in International affairs.
  • Master in Public Policy.
  • Double Master Degree in Public Policy and European Affairs.
  • Master in Public Administrations.
  • Master in Public Management.
  • Master in Public Administrations and Management.
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy.

The adoption of innovative teaching methods helps students to acquire knowledge and practical understanding of the real world. A strong focus on team-teaching with experts from different disciplines also exposes students to diverse views.

What are the necessary qualifications and other requisites to get admission for such programmes?

TOEFL / IELTS is mandatory for all MPP, MPA and MPM applicants except those with a Bachelor’s degree conducted entirely in English. MIA applicants can choose to submit either a GRE, GMAT or LSAT score. LKY School runs on a yearly enrolment and the next cycle of applications for Academic Year 2019 will commence on 1 August 2018.

Key application steps

Before you proceed to make an online application, here are some key steps to take note of.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an online application. To access the online application system, you will be required to enter your e-mail address and a 6-character password. You will not be able to change this e-mail address once you have registered. You can however, access your application to make any additions or edits before submission.

To be considered for the 2018 intake, the application and all supporting documents must be completed and submitted by 11:59pm (Singapore time, GMT+8) on the day of the deadline.

It is recommended that you have soft copies of the required documents before you commence. It will take you about 30 minutes or more to complete your application.

By Raghunandan Ramachandran

Edition: 15 Jan, 2018 - 14 Feb, 2018

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