Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Public Policy as Education

The GPPF (Greek Public Policy Forum) is a unique think-tank in the sense that it tries to form bonds between applied politics and theoretical politics (politics versus policy). Policymaking, based on serious studies and in-depth analysis of the evolutionary course of social formations, can definitely boost social reforms to the benefit of both social groups and individuals.

Rarely do individuals embrace innovation and reforms. The very problem lies in the inability of governments and political parties to realize how difficult it is to convince individuals used to living in a stable and yet parochial environment to move on and change. Change is a traumatic experience; therefore, abandoning a previous state requires both logical persuasion and psychological elevation. Very few politicians combine scientific knowledge with communication skills. The majority of them are either dry technocrats or fierce populistsPolitics is not only a science but also an art. Not only does it apply to the brain but also to the heart.
One cannot expect individuals, who are usually trapped in their microcosm, unable to acquire a wider scope of the world, to want to abandon their present routine and opt for the unknown. Without emotional involvement privileged groups cannot empathize with other less privileged ones. Conflicts between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ are perpetuated. The former group resists change whereas the latter one fights against the established authority. The conflict between preserving established values and revolting against them, the everlasting combat between progressive versus conservative, will never stop. It is the role of public policy to bridge the gap between these two extremes, educate the mind, analyze facts and offer plausible and viable solutions without disregarding the emotional nature of human beings.
Public policy experts, by offering their valuable advice, are expected to be able to predict, amend, and prevent the extreme reactions of the public. Their responsibility is not only to offer expertise but also to educate voters, administrators, and members of governments as well as political parties.

Diana Papaeliou (teacher/ educator)

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