2021/22 graduate Tauqeer Kurd discusses what it's like to study MSc Development Administration and Planning at UCL.
Currently I am serving as Deputy Secretary (National Assembly), Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs at Islamabad. As a career civil servant and having served at various senior positions as Director Gwadar, Gwadar Port Authority, Deputy Secretary to Chief Minister Balochistan, Director Finance, Quetta Development Authority, Deputy Secretary at Services and General Administration Department, Deputy Secretary at Finance Department, Balochistan, I have experienced development practices very closely and also headed many public sector developmental projects during my career at various positions. I believe more than anyone else that it is upon us, the development practitioners, to deliver, administer and ensure that the public exchequer is being expended properly and development projects achieve true value for money. This is only possible through a planned and integrated Public Policy framework. Hence, that has been the reason that had sparked my interest in DAP—being multidimensional in its approach through its various modules, wherein i have learned international best practices and i got the opportunity to empower myself as a policymaker with necessary skills in policy analysis, public sector reforms, project management and contemporary developmental theories.
As a Chevening Scholar I had to enlist three universities with the Chevening Secretariat. I wanted to undergo a programme related to "Development" keeping in view my career, and during my research i found UCL being one of the top universities in the world and DAP as multi-faceted programme that could enhance and broaden my vision on “Development”.
Since achieving independence, Pakistan has grappled with a significant rural population, which has resulted in a deceleration of the pace of development. This, in turn, has exacerbated socio-political, economic, and regional challenges within the realm of policy formulation and implementation. Before I came to the United Kingdom and got engaged in module activities and practical experiences, my understanding of development was limited, both in terms of theory and its international dimensions. My exposure to development discussions has offered me new perspectives for analyzing developmental challenges and has equipped me with tools to be used in the planning and execution of development initiatives, especially in the post-colonial era. To effectively achieve its goals, development should be seen as a means of bringing about positive social transformations that have tangible impacts on marginalized communities. Assessing the common interests in a society characterized by numerous distinct interest groups is consistently challenging. Over the course of my professional journey across various roles in different organizations, I have discerned ample opportunities for enhancement across all sectors of development, including but not limited to community development, urban planning, healthcare, and education. My exposure to the developmental knowledge, practices, skills, and expertise gained during my tenure in London at UCL undergoing DAP programme, provided me with a comprehensive vantage point for analyzing and adopting innovative technologies. The application of these insights within various tiers of government administration has equipped me to effectively address contemporary economic policy dilemmas. The acquisition of DAP is a privilege to pursue my desired career path, where I will implement an integrated approach to governmental policies for resolving societal issues.
My favorite aspect of DAP could have been our visit to Uganda which could not take place owing to COVID restrictions, however our visit to Cardiff was memorable since it not only developed bonding amongst the fellow participants but also enhanced our knowledge of ‘field’. I have come to understand that every field is adaptable and can be influenced by external factors. Each field, I believe, has its own set of limitations and advantages. During this period, I began to contemplate the commitment of our development partners from Uganda, who collaborated with us in Cardiff during the practical sessions. They strongly embrace the concept of decolonizing knowledge. The principles of participatory approaches for co-producing knowledge were deeply ingrained in all our development partners, particularly AcTogether, a non-governmental organization (NGO) closely affiliated with the National Slum Dweller Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) and other stakeholders. Together, we worked on community-driven initiatives through advocacy, planning, and community engagement, with the ultimate aim of uplifting the urban poor in Uganda.
I am planning to serve as Director General (DG), Gwadar Development Authority, Government of Balochistan next year, intending to set the tone for putting the economic activity of the area on reform and development trajectory. I will implement projects that are more focused on water management, electricity, schools, and hospitals of Gwadar.