Public Policy has always been close to Paul Kelly’s heart and gets him talking enthusiastically. On a recent visit to India, Kelly, who is pro-director for International Partnerships and East Asia and professor of Political Theory, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), feels Indian students need to develop skills for policy application, in a sense, policy entrepreneurship and the character that goes with it – involving critical engagement, being an independent learner and the ability to use relevant knowledge.
Talking about his own institution’s emphasis on Policy education, Kelly says, “Public Policy is being taught across a number of the departments since inception. In a way, the London School of Economics has always been the London School of Public Policy, but the courses that are perhaps most beneficial to Indian students are those that are linked to some of the major global challenges involving demography, global health, health policy, those relating to aging populations and climate change.”
Kelly feels practical experience and exposure are the two key aspects of most Public Policy courses. “We expect students to not only have the intellectual knowledge to do high quality policy analysis in the areas of their interests, but as independent learners they should be proactive in applying their learning in real-world solutions. In the sphere of Masters in Public Administration, Public Policy, for instance, LSE has brought in Capstones (where students absorb what they have learned throughout the course and apply it to examine a particular idea) as part of the formal teaching and assessment of the programme,” he says.
Commenting on the change in public policy teaching over the years, Kelly says the earlier trend of imparting static knowledge has been replaced by a more interactive and engaged learning system.
Kelly observes that his institution’s partnerships with India are teaching-driven through the University of London International Programmes. The tie-up with the Indian School of Business & Finance (ISBF), is based primarily on that where Kelly hopes students will have the same level of opportunities that LSE students are likely to get.
With Brexit drawing near (slated for March 29, 2019), Kelly is optimistic about its impact. “In one respect, Brexit will challenge the UK higher education sector to become competitive. So, despite the complexity and challenges, the universities in the UK are still very much in competition for the highest quality students coming from India. In the long term, as Brexit unfolds, it will create lots of challenges for those interested in Public Policy development, so in a way, that is also a kind of opportunity,” he says.