The Master in Public Management Program (MPM) offered by the KDI School of Public Policy and Management has secured accreditation from the prestigious Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), just three years after its inception in 2015.
The Master in Public Management Program was set up especially for students who are keen to learn how to effectively deliver goals and outcomes as part of a government institution.
NASPAA, based in Washington DC, has over 300 member schools from the United States and 14 other countries. The accreditation granted to the KDI School is recognition of its achievement of global standards in public service education.
With the grant of MPM’s certification last summer, all the programs now offered in KDI School – including the Master in Public Policy (MPP) and Master in Development Policy (MDP) programs, respectively — are now considered at par with the government and public policy programs offered in the United States. The MPP program was accredited in 2015 and the MDP program in 2017.
Associate Dean LEE Jinsoo, former chair of the MPM Department, emphasised the program’s strong objectives for delivering quality education, which led to it obtaining the accreditation. “I believe that we have a strong faculty who are excellent academically, and many of them have professional experiences and can provide education based on their experiences. We have excellent students, diverse students from many fields and many countries,” he said.
Members of the MPM faculty, as well as those from the other departments, have experience working for international organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations. KDI school adopts an interdisciplinary approach, and MPM students have the advantage of freely taking courses for the MDP and MPP programs. Thus, they learn not only from the knowledge and experiences of MPM professors but also the faculty of the other two departments.
According to the Dean, the program’s curriculum fulfils the competencies demanded by the NASPAA standards and these include ensuring that students learn to manage public organizations, think critically when problem-solving and decision making, and productively adapt to the changing environment for governance.
“We provide courses in quantitative methods and advanced quantitative courses so that students can learn how to analyze data. We also have some courses related to communication, and how to manage dispute resolution. These are not just academic and professional courses, the curriculum is a combination of courses related to these competencies,” he explained.
As of October 2018, NASPAA has given accreditation to around 200 programs. Most of these are offered in educational institutions in the United States, while some are in Colombia, Venezuela, Egypt, New Zealand, China and South Korea.
In Asia, only Korea’s KDI School and China’s Renmin University of China, Tsinghua and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics have such accreditation. KDI School is the only international school with the NASPAA recognition in Korea and in the region, since the Chinese schools conduct their programs in their local language.
For LEE, the NASPAA accreditation is both an achievement and a challenge for the MPM program and KDI School. The recognition is just the first step in the continued pursuit of providing quality education to prospective public management students. Given the unpredictable and dynamic landscape of governance thanks to technology, constant curriculum development is necessary to keep the program contemporary and cutting edge. “We need to think more about how to improve our program even though we have been accredited, ” he said.
“What would be the shape of public policy education in the 21st century? We know we have AI, and many technology issues. We face big challenges internally and internationally, and so we need to provide education for our students to meet those challenges in this very uncertain world. In that way, we need to move forward even though this is a great achievement, but we will not stop here,” he added.
By Patricia Anne PASION (2018 MDP, Philippines)