In the past school year, our colleague Mariann Dósa was tutoring Roma and refugee students in Public Policy in the two master's studies preparatory programs of Central European University: the Roma Graduate Preparatory Program and the Open Learning Initiative. You can read an account of the classes by a student of RGPP below.
After gaining working experience with international organizations, ministries, agencies, local self-governments, as well as with Roma CSOs and networks in Serbia, I decided to pursue further academic development in the field of public policy in order to achieve more for Roma community in Serbia. As a next step, I have chosen the Roma Graduates Preparation Program (RGPP) of Central European University, where I have, among others, attended the ten-months-long course of Introduction to Public Policy.
During very complex and extensive, but foremost enjoyable course, I have been guided toward thinking analytically and critically about policy problems, solutions, and alternative perspectives to mainstream paradigms. The course was designed around raising awareness and debating fundamental policy issues, concepts, and theories in the field of public policy through critical readings, in-class discussions and presentations, and writing practice.
The course was a perfect environment and opportunity to explore the general questions like What is Public Policy, What is the relationship between policy, politics, and power?, as well as more specific: What are Social, Health, Educational, Employment, Minority policies. I have personally appreciated very much further course’s focus on theories and conceptual tools utilized in understanding, justifying as well as criticizing policies. This enabled me to learn about and practice using these explanatory and critiquing tools and applying it in greater depth on the policy issues that Roma communities are facing on a daily bases. Ultimately, during the course, I had the opportunity to learn about the research process and methods of pursuing research in the field of public policy, as well. Guided by the mentor, I have worked on a final research paper, at the same time learning about different research approaches and methods in public policy, which is the essential tool in bringing evidence to policy discussion.
At first, I have applied to RGPP to advance my English language skills and to prepare myself for further MA Public Administration Studies. However, Introduction to Public Policy course gave me not only fundamental skills and knowledge about the field of public policy but moreover, tools and self-confidence to bring desired changes to my community.