India needs public policy education

Source- The post is based on the article “India needs public policy education” published in “The Hindu” on 30th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Governance

Relevance– Reforms in administration

News– The article explains the importance of public policy education.

What are issues with public management education in India?

Lack of institutions– Most executives in government require an understanding of public management. However, the supply of formal education in public management is inadequate as compared to business management education.

As per data from the AICTE, there are 3,182 institutions with an approved intake of 4.22 lakh in business management programmes. But only about 130 universities offer public administration programmes and only 29 institutes that offer public policy programmes.

Lack of opportunities– There are few jobs available for people pursuing courses in public management. The private sector offers limited opportunities in government advisory roles, consulting and Corporate Social Responsibility.

For public sector opportunities, students have to go through competitive exams. Therefore, neither educational institutes nor students find any incentive to prefer public management courses.

Lack of public policy training– There are very few civil servants who have got exposure to public management before joining service. Most of them undergo the departmental induction training programme.

There are a few opportunities for in­service officers to study public management in India and

abroad. In the 10 years between 2012 and 2021, 194 civil service officers went abroad to study public management at the Master’s level.

Within the country, there are five institutions in which 194 civil service officers have been sponsored by the government for full time public policy courses in the last three years.

What is the way forward to boost public management education in India?

Public management should be one of the compulsory subjects for the UPSC civil service examination. This will help in multiple ways.

Existing training institutions of the government should have a larger component of public policy as part of induction training. They should build up a case study bank for training.

The government can create certain specialised positions of public policy analysts, to be picked up from the market directly. New job avenues for the graduates of public policy programmes can be created by this.

How introducing public management as an optional subject in UPSC creates a win-win situation?

First, civil servants who join the government would have formal education in public management before they enter service.

Second, this creates an opportunity or incentive for universities and private institutions to offer the subject at the graduate or postgraduate level. Public policy education, research and case studies will get a major boost from this new demand.

Third, those who don’t clear the exam would develop better understanding in public management. It will  make them better citizens as well as effective private sector managers.

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