|Graduate School of Economics and Public Policy
NSC's mission is to establish a research oriented graduate program in economics and public policy in Kathmandu for the benefit of the whole region.
There is a general feeling that Nepal’s academic institutions do need to focus in producing high quality research scholars with analytical background in economics and data analysis with an interdisciplinary policy angle. Much of the recent advancements in private education sector have come in various technical fields such as, medicine, engineering, pharmacy, nursing, information technology, and business and accounting. Consequently, well-trained policy oriented scholars with a sound background in theory and empiricism are in short supply in the governmental and non-governmental sectors. This initiative is at a preliminary stage to initiate a Graduate School of Economics and Public Policy program in Nepal.
To that end, NSC's affiliated diaspora scholars, scholar friends and its partners in Nepal are at an exploratory stage in seeking to create a core group of scholars who would be interested to establish such a public policy school.
Its focus will be on the behavioral sciences covering, for example, the environment, health, and development. Development is meant to be defined broadly. This will be a collaborative effort among the three parties: North American institutions, regional academic and research institutions, and the Diaspora academicians and their scholar friends. In addition, this Policy School will be promoted as an International Scholars' Knowledge Hub where academicians (domestic and international) and the policy makers will come together to interact to form better public policies. We hope that the graduate students, trained under such environment, will be better policy analysts.
Basic Philosophy and Structure
This proposed structure focuses on the graduate level education in economics. It outlines a semester-based structure for MS/MPhil, and PhD. Importantly, this proposal recommends widening the scope of the mission of the School by including policy angle in its teaching and research programs. The essence of the proposed structure is to lay a solid foundation in theory and analytical skill before embarking on the area of concentrations and policy deliberations. A solid background in theory and analytical skill will empower these graduates to ask important policy questions, set out hypotheses, test them using the real world data, and shed lights on policy implications. Their ability to analyze data within a sound theoretical framework will enhance their marketability and prepare them for further studies.
Many problems are interlinked and an interdisciplinary approach has become essential to disentangle the effects. Thus, this proposal recommends adding the policy angle to the existing proposal: Graduate School of Economics and Public Policy. A wider scope of the School will generate opportunities.
We consider these fields broadly as encompassing socio-economic growth (macro or sectoral), political transition, institutional development, governance and administrative reform, poverty and income distribution, education and health, regional development, gender and ethnicity, trade and remittances, aid and foreign direct investment, resource and environmental management, public-private partnership in technology and investment, child labor, and many other issues. The program is expected to have important implications for public policy in one or more countries of the Himalayan region or South Asia.
Students of public policy program will learn about the nature of collective action, institutions, interest group behavior and public opinion, policy formulation and implementation, and long term policy change. Strength in analytical training in economics will enhance students’ ability to undertake policy analysis especially in the context of problems facing developing countries where data problems, decision infrastructure, and notions of "public interest" all face special needs.
These policy-focused students will be attractive employment candidates for NGOs, INGOS, government agencies, and many public sectors that are engaged in policy and development related work in poverty, natural resource management, water resources, environment, health, population, empowerment, trade, and many more.
A strong and vibrant program in economics and public policy focus can make the School a think tank, in that, the School can provide a forum to bring together the policy makers and bureaucrats within an academic setting. Academicians and policy makers can interact and learn from each other. Funding may be sought to offer small research sabbatical for intellectually oriented policy makers and bureaucrats to spend time at the School to work on important policy questions. Many policy schools in the US have become increasingly interdisciplinary. The School’s core philosophy is still in laying the groundwork in economics, analytical tool, and economic reasoning.
The proposed graduate structure, if run efficiently, could be equivalent to any graduate program in the world. This School can be a shining example of academic excellence not only in Nepal but also in the South Asian region. Another advantage of this structure is that the credits earned at this School could potentially be transferred to other universities (e.g., US universities) based on the mutual understanding. An informal Advisory Group of some American and Nepali scholars has been formed in the US. These scholars come from various reputable universities around the country.