Published: 24th November 2018
Want to be a Politician? Learn from the best at this TN Political Leadership Academy
Arthashastra Leadership Foundation's Diploma in Political Leadership is set to create more efficient politicians in the future
It is not news that there is no educational mandate to contest in elections in India. Anyone from a chaiwala to an economist can represent people and work for them. This sets a democracy apart from all other systems of government. But knowledge about the socio-political system always comes in handy for a politician. That was exactly what the founders of Coimbatore-based Arthashastra Leadership Foundation thought when they came up with the Political Leadership Academy, that will offer courses to train youngsters to be efficient politicians in the future.
The six-month-long full-time Diploma programme comprises different modules in regional, national and global political affairs. "The idea here is to create future leaders who know what to do after they assume office. Today, most elected representatives have no formal education about the system and that creates a handicap in their performance initially," says K Ramasubramanian, who is among the trustees. "There are certain criteria to apply for any job, but not to become a politician," he adds. A few of the other trustees who may also act as lecturers here include Mylapore MLA and former top cop, Dr R Nataraj, Former Union Minister E Ponnuswamy while Dr M S Swaminathan of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board.
Being a veteran in politics, Ramasubramanian talks to us about his stint in the field and the changes that he wishes to see. "I know the practical difficulties of being a politician. An auto driver and an IAS officer can both contest to be an MLA on the same platform. Their credentials and experience don't match and don't matter. Here the ability to garner votes is what matters. That must be changed because it is not good for democracy," he says.
All you need to apply for this course is a bachelor's degree in any subject and an interest in politics. Also, one must be over 21 to apply. While the academic board is almost nearing the completion of the curriculum design, the course is set to begin in January 2019. While the students will learn theories and concepts in the first five months, the last month will be dedicated to field trips, where they get to see the functioning of local bodies and media houses.
A batch will have a maximum of 50 students and the board is working to make the course as affordable as possible. "We're yet to decide a fee structure. We will keep it as affordable as possible. We want the common man to pursue this course and we don't intend to make money out of it," Ramasubramanian says. He also says that the board wants to expand the diploma and start a Post Graduate Diploma and Bachelor's Degree in the future, besides a three-month online diploma.