Published: 28th July 2021
This new BA degree in Public Policy, with former IAS, IPS officers as mentors, is built for UPSC aspirants
The degree is being offered by Crescent Institute in Chennai and the first intake is currently on. Will students take the plunge?
Thousands of students in India spend years of their lives cramming for the UPSC exams, often neglecting their graduate studies in the process. If you are one of them, there is a new three-year undergraduate degree in Public Policy where retired bureaucrats specially train you to take on various competitive exams and to understand what a life in public service entails. It was launched on Wednesday by Chennai-based Crescent Institute of Science and Technology.
The course promises students an insider's view by getting on board retired or serving officials from Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services and Indian Administrative Services. Retired IAS officer Dr Santhosh Babu will be one of the mentors for the programme. He said, "This BA in Public Policy course has a little bit of everything for those who aspire to crack civil services." Babu is an MBBS graduate turned Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of the 1995 batch, of the Tamil Nadu cadre. A Chevening Gurukul Scholar from the London School of Economics and Political Science, he most recently contested in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021 on a Makkal Needhi Maiam ticket, before quitting the party.
Explaining the rationale behind engineering such a course and getting on board former bureaucrats to mentor the students, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Dr Peer Mohamed said, "Bureaucrats understand the nuances of public policy and students will be trained in understanding the problems of the society."
Among other bureaucrats associated with the programmes are retired IPS officer V Kamaraja, and retired IAS officer S Sasikanth Senthil. The course is under the leadership of K M Ilanchezhian, who served as an Asst Commandant with the Central Reserve Police Force. "We offer most of everything [subjects], we want our students to be generalists and not necessarily experts," he said. Some of the subjects offered include Constitutional Framework, World Physical Geography, Analytical Reasoning, Introduction to Psychology, Economics, History (Ancient, Medieval and Modern) and Introduction to Sociology.
The college will be taking in 121 students this year and the intake may increase from the next academic year depending on the response. There is no entrance test, however, and applicants will have to give an interview. Even though the course is designed for students to appear for civil services, they are also allowed to sit for on-campus placements. The fee for the course differs on the basis of marks earned in the qualifying Class 12 examination.
Those who scored less than 80 per cent will be charged Rs 50,000 per semester, for the ones who scored above 80 per cent the fees are Rs 37,000 per semester, and for 90 per cent and above the fees will be Rs 25,000 per semester. However, Illanchezhian added that more fee concessions can be offered for students who portray high potential during the college interview.