Young civil servants learn policy development and bond over hawker fare at the LKY School

21 Apr 2014

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Essentials of Policy Development (EPD), Open Enrolment Programme
LKY School NUS, 21-25 April 2014

During the week of 21-25 April, about 40 young policy advisors and other civil servants from 19 different ministries and agencies in Singapore and the Philippines attended the inaugural run of the Essentials of Policy Development (EPD) open enrolment programme to explore ways to analyse, formulate and evaluate policies using real world examples. Over a five day period, these talented future leaders debated current policy issues ranging from taxi services, low birth rates, gay marriages, and ageing demographics, and predicted the city-state’s future over the next 20 years.


The programme, designed for policy analysts with a minimum two years of work experience, was developed by Associate Professor Wu Xun, Director of the Water Policy Institute of LKY School to strengthen analytical skills, build managerial capacity, improve political capacity and expose policy analysts to different approaches of managing policy failures. Experienced practitioners and academics including Professor M. Ramesh, Assistant Professor Eduardo Araral, Mr. Donald Low, Associate Dean of Executive Education and Research and Visiting Faculty Steven Kelman of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government challenged participants to think about the role of policy entrepreneurship and, using real world examples and case studies, how to translate problems into policies and implement effective policy changes.

Participants shared their views on socio-economic issues that are relevant today in Singapore and openly discussed the case studies.

Ms. Wee Choo Low from the Policy, Planning and Research Division, Central Narcotics Bureau of Singapore reflected: “What is refreshing about the programme, on a personal level, is the timely reminder to policy makers that not all problems require a heavy-handed approach to manage; that sometimes a lighter touch, a clearer articulation of issues and considerations, an understanding of the different perspectives stakeholders have or even a nudge, may be all that it takes for the situation to improve.”

While Ms. Maria Victoria Larrazabal, Consultant from City Government of Cabanatuan, Province of Nueva Ecija in the Philippines, the only international participant on the programme said: “The programme provided me with a deeper insight on policy formulation and development from a framework that is distinct from the Philippines yet congruent in many significant ways. Singapore’s development is seen by its ASEAN neighbours as worthy of much emulation and my experience in LKY School validates the many reasons why…”


LKY School provides an international environment that encourages participants to view and approach domestic policy challenges from different perspectives. Many of the participants said the programme provided an opportunity to learn from other countries’ experiences without having to go overseas for practical exposure.

During lunches and tea breaks, participants had the opportunity to informally share their experiences on the challenges faced by their departments and agencies. These lunches provided at the School, catered food that offered such delicacies as tasty Korean strawberries and French pancakes, made the week long journey all the more enjoyable and helped unite the group in a truly Singaporean way.

The second run of the EPD programme will be held on 11-15 August 2014 at the LKY School. Applications are being accepted until 10 July 2014.

For more details, please contact programme officers at Executive Education: McRhon Banderlipe, Aika Bolat and Zha Jie.

Aika Bolat

Master in Public Policy Candidate (2008)