Kerala NRI plans to set up IIPM in his home state

Report by India Education bureau; Kochi: There are schools, colleges or institutes for any profession — doctors, engineers, lawyers, business leaders, even sportspersons. You name it and there is one for everyone, almost. But not for politicians! Not at least in India!
Things are going to change now and Kerala is poised to take the lead.
Blazing a new trail in Indian academia, Mr. Vinson X. Palathingal, a Keralite by origin and a successful IT entrepreneur based in the US, plans to set up an Indian Institute of Political Management (IIPM) in Kerala with the objective of producing well-informed leaders that would provide quality political leadership to the India of 21st century.
The plan is to be announced during the three-day Emerging Kerala meet, which gets underway in Kochi on September 12.
“India is the largest democracy in the world where politics and government are part of pretty much everything people do. Still, the vast majority of educated, middle-class citizens despise politicians, and never want their children to have anything to do with politics. This dichotomy obviously does not bode well for the dream of a great future for India,” says Mr. Vinson.
“Considering that most talented young adults tend to choose technical professions and show little interest in public life, it is safe to assume that the political leadership of tomorrow will belong to the mediocre. If the country is to develop into a major powerhouse in the world during our lifetime, we need to see young leaders with higher intellectual and mental capacities enter politics, and be adequately enabled to run the country into the future.”
The IT entrepreneur, who heads two companies — Amaram Technology Corp and Amsco Global LLC, both in Washington DC — says his inspiration to set up an IIPM in India comes from George Washington University (GWU) in the US, which offers masters and certificate programmes exclusively devoted to various aspects of political management.
The GWU’s establishment of the Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) is the result of a realisation that political management is a subject that is pivotal in making a democratic system smooth, participative and effective, he points out.
The proposed institute in India will be a place for higher learning offering Post-Graduate degrees and certificates. In all, there will be four Masters Degree programmes and six Graduate Certificate programmes. The Masters Programme will be in the areas of Political Management, Legislative Affairs, Strategic Public Relations, and Coalition Management.
Graduate Certificate Programmes are proposed in Campaign Strategy, Community Advocacy, Online Politics, Public Relations, Civil Services Management, and Political Action Committee Management.
“The IIPM will be modelled after and in collaboration with GSPM. We envision that this will become a prestigious institute at par with the IITs and IIMs of India and will eventually expand into a multi-state system that caters to the needs of students from all over India and beyond,” goes his thinking.
As part of the IIPM programme, students will be given an opportunity to study abroad in Washington DC for one and a half years, thereby exposing India’s future leaders to the systems outside. “This way they will get to know how things are done differently. This is very critical for India’s growth,” he says.
 Mr. Vinson argues that post-independence India placed great emphasis on education, and the country as a whole takes academics very seriously. “An academic degree for the political profession is certain to capture the attention of students with natural talent for government and political affairs, and will encourage them to follow their true interests and dreams instead of settling for a technical profession because of pressure from their families and society.”
The IIPM will help students to learn the intricacies and nuances of Indian political system and also change their mindsets about politicians. Such an institute will eventually help bring respect to the profession of politics and raise the calibre and quality of young leaders who are considering pursuing this vital field, he points out.
“We understand that this is an uncharted territory in the Indian educational system. However, considering the importance of raising the calibre and quality of our politicians for the great future of our country, we believe that not only do the benefits far outweigh the risks, but that such an institution is of urgent need in India,”  he states, emphatically.
Once famous for its rabble-rousing campuses, Kerala is now witnessing the retreat of politics from colleges as young minds think about chasing the greenbacks in the US or discuss prospects of landing cushy jobs in the IT sector.
“Such a scenario only makes it more imperative for setting up an IIPM, and I believe it is an idea whose time has come,” says Mr. Vinson.