As part of strategic initiative for capacity development of elected representatives & policy-makers of the Royal Government of Bhutan, a certificate course on Social Policy has been launched at the Sherubtse, a premier College in Kanglung, a province in eastern Bhutan.
The programme is being delivered by Sherubtse College, Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) with technical assistance from the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP), Sonipat, India and UNICEF Bhutan, in both the design and delivery of the course.
The two-week residential programme (from 21st January to 5th February 2016) was launched today (21st January 2016) amidst traditional Marchang ceremony.
Ms. Shaheen Nilofer, Representative, UNICEF Bhutan reiterated that the partnership between RUB-UNICEF-JSGP to deliver the certificate course on social policy aims at transformative leadership at all levels to design and implement effective and evidence-based policy making for positive change. As Bhutan transitions to a Middle Income Country in a few years and with a strong commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), she said this programme becomes even more important to ensure specific focus on equity and efficient service delivery for children, women and vulnerable population groups.
UNICEF Bhutan has identified “Capacity Enhancement” as a key strategy to influence and leverage government resources and align government policies and orient stakeholders in the nation towards the core priorities – of Social Policy, Governance and Programme Evaluation. Towards this, the main objective of the programme is to prepare parliamentarians, civil servants, civil society organizations and professionals in policy leadership along with practical skills and rigorous analysis in designing and implementing of social policies through evidence building.
The UNICEF Representative welcomed the unique cross-country collaboration as an innovative modality to tap into the global knowledge and expertise – of JSGP, UNICEF and in-country resource persons – to mutually generate transformative ideas and action plans to promote evidence and result-based policy making and implementation.
Ms. Nilofer added that this initiative is a great example of South-South cooperation. “There is a rigorous evaluation planned at the end of this course and will provide important lessons to take this forward. UNICEF Bhutan Country Office and the Regional Office for South Asia played the role of a convener/catalyst bringing the right partners and negotiated an institutional process that can sustain itself beyond our involvement,” she said.
The Vice-Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, Nidup Dorji expressed enthusiasm over the unique tripartite affiliation between UNICEF-JSGP-RUB in transforming the public sector management through capacity building. He indicated that this development could promote regional cooperation in knowledge exchange.
Prof. Sudarshan Ramaswamy, Dean-JSGP, said this collaboration holds the promise of generating fresh approaches to policy-making that are grounded in the philosophies, cultures, and civilizational values of the South as distinct from those that emanate from the North. He said Bhutan’s vision of Gross National Happiness is an idea whose time has come because of the 21st century imperatives of environmental sustainability, equity and justice.
Prof. Anuradha Palanichamy, Assistant Dean (International Collaborations), and Programme Coordinator for the UNICEF Bhutan initiative, said that JSGP through this pilot programme seeks to continue engaging with Bhutan’s elected representatives and policy makers to enhance their capacity to appraise policies, strengthen programme implementation and accelerate Bhutan’s commitment and achievements towards global development commitment including the SDGs.
The first batch of learners include 11 Members of Parliament, 10 Chief/Deputy Chief Planning Officer of the Ministries, and Directors of CSOs. The intensive executive programme is structured to deliver both classroom as well as practical learning through webinars, discussion on real case scenarios and thematic debates, using executive education structure and methods with guest lectures from renowned national practitioners including the Prime Minister’s Office, Bhutan, Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, CSOs and Ministry officials.
The session themes include: (i) Enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of service provision, (ii) Establishing performance based management system to deliver on results; (iii) Promoting accountability and policy coherence, (iv) Management and leadership practice, (v) Democratic governance, and (vi) Understanding International Treaties: Responsibilities & Obligations.
The programme is expected to be conducted annually. The Royal University of Bhutan hopes to upgrade the course to a diploma or higher degree in future.
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