Published: 25th October 2018
Want to study public policy? Indian School of Public Policy's dedicated one-year course should work for you
The one-year programme will be a blended design of theory, perspectives and best-practices of public policy from around the world and is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree
If you are planning to take up a course on policymaking, expensive foreign universities are not your only option anymore. The Indian School of Public Policy (ISPP), the country’s first school of public policy focused on the design and management of institutions was recently launched by former-policy makers, industry-leaders, philanthropists and academicians. The institution is in search of a campus in South Delhi but promises to start their first batch on August 19, 2019.
The one-year programme will be a blended design of theory, perspectives and best-practices of public policy from around the world, augmented with technical, managerial and leadership skills. It is open to anyone with a bachelor's degree and 2-3 years of experience and will cost them Rs 7 Lakh. ISPP has already secured the commitment of support from industry leaders like Deloitte, Uber, PwC, Twitter, Dasra, Skill India, GMR Group, Samhita and Manipal Education Group besides others who will be involved in the design of the curriculum and will also enable training and professional development opportunities.
For public policy to become a recognised discipline you need more players — the more people discuss the topic, the more people teach it, it becomes a discipline. You need people with different points of view — people from institutions set up by the public sector, private sector, employers from corporate and non-corporate firms. All of these places would require graduates from ISPP. I would like to see our graduates going out to do different things — be it politics, corporate sector or a think tank
Luis Miranda, Member of the Governing Council
Talking about the problems of policy framing in a developing country like India, Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society (CCS) said, "One major challenge is that there is no open platform for the citizen to engage with the policy-making process. If there is a draft bill that is being presented in the Parliament and you as a citizen of India want to give a feedback to it or have a particular point of view, there is no formal platform for you to provide it. In some cases, the Parliament does put out requests through newspaper advertisements asking for feedback on a bill but you never know what happens to it. This, according to me, is the greatest lacuna in why we don't get the right policies. The policies are for the citizen but they never get to be part of it. Our aim at ISPP will be to train the young generation so that they can engage with the policy-making process professionally. They would be seen as a policy professional and their viewpoint would have more weight than the average citizen."
The government departments are said to have redundancies and a closer inspection would tell you that it is absolutely true. "Rajiv Mehrishi, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, had a very interesting point — if you look at the Public Works Department, their entire staff are engineers. But the nature of the work of the PWD has changed over the years. They don't build anything anymore, they outsource the work to the private sector. The department is now more of a contract manager. But the department has made no change in their hiring pattern," added Parth.
They are still stuffing the department with engineers when they need a legal counsel to make sense of the nitty-gritty of the contracts. These are the questions we are hoping to raise during the course or at least expose the students to these challenges. The HR policy of the government needs to be looked at and the change each department has gone through must be analysed and then rethink about the type of people we actually need in the departments
Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
ISPP wants to give students a framework to analyse things while working on certain specific areas — the discipline of evidence-based decision making, the ability to write and expose interdisciplinary knowledge. "We need to prepare them for not one but multiple careers. One needs to add to or transform his/her skill set as the type of job changes with time," Luis said. Dr Shubhashis Gangopadhyay will be the Founding Dean of the school. He is also the Founder-Director of the India Development Foundation, former Professor at the ISI and an advisor to the Government of India in several capacities. Patrons of ISPP include Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys; Former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India; Vallabh Bhanshali, Co-founder, Enam Group; Founder Director FLAME University; Jaithirth Rao, Founder, Former Chairman and Managing Director, Mphasis; Chairman, Value and Budget Housing Corporation among others. Governing Council members include Luis Miranda, Chairman, Centre for Civil Society (CCS); Founder and Former Chairman, IDFC Private Equity; Member, Global Advisory Board, Chicago Booth School of Business; Parth Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society (CCS); and Balaji Srinivasan, Vice President, Global Initiatives and Strategy and Senior Provost, University of Chicago.