Public Policy Education In India — Need, Challenges, Role And Road Ahead

by M Shree Bharath

According to a recent comment by International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, India remains a relative “bright spot” in the world economy, and will alone contribute 15% of global growth in 2023. There is a lot of room for growth in public policy, and there is much that the right policies and policy makers can add to this growth path.

Need for Public Policy Education

Public policy education is an essential component of development, as it enables individuals to acquire the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to deal with complex global issues. With a deep understanding of the policy-making process, individuals are equipped with the right skills to identify problems, develop solutions, and make informed decisions that positively impact their communities.

India faces a wide range of policy-level challenges, which cripple the country’s socio-economic fabric, adversely impacting healthcare, education, sanitation and the environment. India’s large and diverse population also presents a unique challenge that requires innovative and effective public policy solutions. To address these challenges, India needs a well-trained workforce equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to develop, implement and evaluate effective public policy solutions.

breaking down challenges

Despite the clear need for a structured public policy education in India, ground-level realities hinder coverage and access. Lack of access to quality education, especially in rural areas, is a primary challenge due to the absence of qualified teachers and adequate infrastructure. Another major issue is the lack of representation in public policy schools, with most students enrolled in these programs coming from privileged backgrounds, thus limiting the diversity of ideas and perspectives needed for effective public policy solutions.

Many public policy programs in India focus on theoretical knowledge with less emphasis on practical experience. Practical experience is vital in providing students with the necessary skills to effectively address real-world public policy challenges. Its scarcity presents another significant challenge.

Role of Public Policy Education

The policy has an important role to play in changing the geopolitical dynamics of India.

“India’s per capita growth is only one-fourth that of China and with the right policy, the growth could potentially be above 7% and this would give India the opportunity to become a very strong economic power and a major geopolitical power. is taking the lead, both in Asia and globally, according to Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics and international trade at the New York University Stern School of Business.

There is a need for the government and private entities to acknowledge the critical role of public policy education in India’s development and churn out experts with the skills and knowledge needed to develop and implement effective solutions. A well-trained workforce can provide innovative and effective solutions that address the unique challenges facing India today.

At the heart of a successful public policy pedagogy should be inclusive education and hands-on learning experiences. Adequate representation of students from cultural and economic strata will ensure diverse perspectives. Meanwhile, a practical experience as part of the public policy pedagogy will enable students to learn real-time how to address real-world public policy issues and work effectively in public policy roles.

Collaboration – The Way Forward

The binding factor of a successful public policy teaching is collaboration – at an individual level, between individuals from different fields and backgrounds to promote interdisciplinary learning, and at an organizational level – between universities and government agencies. This collaboration can also help bridge the gap between academia and the public sector, thereby enabling effective policy implementation.

Despite the huge demand for public policy experts over the past few decades, a good number of public policy schools are concentrated in western and developed countries. There is a need now more than ever to create such parallels in developing countries like India to take advantage of the existing skills gap in the domestic market.

The author is the President of GITAM (Deemed to be University) and founder of the Kautilya School of Public Policy.

[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.]

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