The Master of Public Policy and Leadership (MPPL) programme at East Delta University (EDU) in Chattogram is observing its one year of journey this month.
MPPL, the first postgraduate programme in Bangladesh that has brilliantly combined leadership and policy studies together, was launched at the university a year ago, said a press release.
The key objective of the programme is to develop ethical and effective leaders who can bring planned change while maintaining institutional stability and managerial flexibility.
Sumaiya Sharmin, a MPPL student and an instructor at a private university, said, "Graduating from an internationally accredited university in Chattogram, I could not settle for any less when it came to my master's degree."
"The MPPL programme is of international standard and has helped me acquire necessary research skills to pursue my goal of becoming a researcher," she said.
Devayan Chakraborty, an entrepreneur, said, "I am self-employed and have previously served in the Bangladesh Navy for nine years as an officer. I joined MPPL because I think this programme includes many elements which will come handy in the near future where people will actually survive through their emotional intelligence and cognitive leadership capabilities."
The one-year, 36 credit master's programme, offered under three different modes (taught, mixed and research), focuses on bringing professionals under one roof, steering to classes full of interaction, debates and experience sharing.
With the choice of modes, the blended learning approach, convenient class timing, or exceptional faculties from abroad, MPPL is gradually getting popularity among managers, leaders and policymakers.
One of the core strengths of the programme is the brilliant pool of faculty members. Dr Debasish Chakraborty, dean of the School of Business, Seton Hill University, Pennsylvania, USA, said, "I am very impressed with the MPPL curriculum that puts holistic focus on non-profit management to build a deep understanding of both the science and arts of public administration and leadership."
"I would like to congratulate EDU for undertaking this bold initiative and completing a successful year."
Dr Md Aminul Islam, professor at the School of Business and Technoprneurship, Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Malaysia, said, "I loved being part of the MPPL teaching team. The programme is developed with a market-based approach and I believe graduates of this programme will receive excellent training to efficiently lead organisations in future."
Tasmeem Chowdhury Bonhi, MPPL programme coordinator, said, "Whether you work for business, government, non-profits or as an entrepreneur, professionals are working on policies daily that address public problems. MPPL is the hub of policy discourse at EDU, the aim is to provide our students with application-based knowledge on current issues in the policy management sphere."
Mohammad Lutfur Rahman, deputy manager at Midas Safety, a Chattogram University of Engineering and Technology alumni and a MPPL student, said, "What attracted me to the MPPL programme is its interdisciplinary character. Working at a managerial level, I could relate to the wide range of course contents and implement my learning at work."
Leading the programme is Dr Mohammad Rokibul Kabir, associate dean of the School of Business Administration. He said, "The recent pandemic has catalysed the process of digitalisation at a meteoric speed. Decision-making process involves predicting the future and a understanding of how the subsequent law and the policy-making process will affect the business."
"Relevant acumen will give the professionals a competitive edge in the industry. The MPPL programme is what will help our future leaders attain that edge."
MPPL programme was conceived by Sayeed Al Noman, Mphil, University of Oxford. He is the founding vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees.
He said, "Uniqueness of this programme is its progressiveness. Even before the coronavirus crisis hit the world, this programme has been utilising blended learning (a combination of physical and online classes). Public policy has been profoundly altered by the current digital transformation and our curriculum has efficiently captured the impact on public policy, resource efficiency, social interactions and security. I urge you to have a look at this programme."
The practice of blended learning, continuing since the beginning of the programme, has had a great impact on EDU. During the pandemic, EDU was able to continue its academic activities through online classes from the very first day of lockdown.
To ensure smooth participation of faculties and students in online classes, everyone is given free SIM card and 30 gigabytes of mobile data per month by the EDU authorities.
To break the digital divide, EDU launched a project called eGift, a concept conceived by Sayeed Al Noman in collaboration with Grameenphone. The impact of the initiative is immense and visible across the student community of Bangladesh.