Duke University is a highly selective research university with schools of medicine, public policy, environment, engineering, divinity, law, nursing and business. The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organisation of the General Electric Company, works to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems.
With financial support and initial funding from GE Foundation, VNU-HCMC has collaborated with scholars from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and Nicholas School of the Enviroment since October 2009 to design a master’s degree programme on public policy for environmental protection for Vietnam, which is planned to begin in October 2011.
One of the current challenges in Vietnam is that the majority of civil servants and leaders particularly in the field of public policy are working without having had the benefit of advanced academic and professional training that would be particularly helpful to initiate and handle thechanges necessary to move smoothly to a more market-based economy.
Another important challenge in the development of public policy formulation and management in Vietnam is to ensure that policies are formulated within every ministry in consultation and linkage with other ministries, so as to avoid the risks of duplication and inconsistency, which would undermine their effectiveness.
Moreover, public policies in Vietnam are often designed and implemented focusing on economic development and/or social services delivery without giving due consideration to potential environmental impacts. This raises the risk that the gain in GDP might not compare with the financial and ecological losses that would result in cases where the environment would be heavily damaged.
This programme is therefore designed to equip civil servants and others in the public sector with the skills to consider environmental factors and how to forecast or mitigate the possible environmental impacts in the process of public policy development.
Further, a comprehensive and systematic training programme for civil servants in the field of public policy development and management particularly for environmental protection is not currently in place apart from short-term training courses on public policy analysis and project evaluation and management in the framework of international projects on administrative reform.
Meanwhile, current post graduate degree training programmes offered by The National Public Administration Academy and the National Political Academy are often concentrated on the political aspect of governance.
Song Ngoc (vir.com.vn)