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Is effective leadership of development organisations merely about the ability to implement multiple projects, programmes and managing teams? Or, are organisational leaders expected to have broader understanding of development theories, India’s overall development journey, frameworks of development action, and organisational cultures and leadership approaches? Should leadership of development organisations be based on the same organisational principles which apply in the corporate world? Or, does the development ecosystem and organisational context require us to rethink some of these foundational principles?

Azim Premji University’s Postgraduate Diploma in Development Leadership emerges from and responds to such questions to enable mid to senior level professionals to prepare themselves for leadership roles in their organisations. This programme aims to advance participants’ understanding of development leadership beyond programmatic considerations, by helping them anchor their rich experiences within broader understanding of civil society and its trajectories.

What does the programme offer?

This programme will help participants to:

  1. Deepen perspectives on the wider historical processes and lived experiences shaping development realities in India to better inform their work
  2. Imagine alternative development outcomes and approaches, which foster equity, justice and sustainability
  3. Strengthen capabilities of leadership to build inclusive, adaptive and collaborative organisations
  4. Enhance analytical, communication and other competencies for oversight of financial management, data analysis and communication for development action and advocacy.
Who should join?

The diploma programme is designed for professionals with 8+ years of experience in the development sector, who are already in leadership roles in development organisations or are soon to embark on such roles. The programme will be conducted in English.

Structure

The 11-month Postgraduate Diploma programme (Starting in December 2021) offers a blend of contact classes and online learning across 3 terms. Each term has an on-campus residential component (~ 3 weeks) and an online component (~ 3 months) transacted over weekends (live lectures, online discussions, assignments and guided project work). The programme is designed to allow participants to continue their existing work and employment, while being enrolled in the programme.

Calendar (tentative dates)

Term On-Campus Online
Term 1 December 13 - 31, 2021 January 10 - April 10, 2022
Term 2 May 16 - June 4, 2022 June 13 - August 13, 2022
Term 3 ------ August 22 - October 1, 2022
October 31 - November 19, 2022 ------
Content

The programme comprises 10 courses and 2 projects. It also includes interactions with institution builders and organisational leaders from the development sector.

Term, Duration and Mode Courses and Projects (and credits) Total credits
Term 1
3 weeks on campus
12 weeks online
  • India’s Experience of Development (2 credits)
  • Contemporary Development Realities in India (2)
  • Approaches to Development Action (2)
  • Project A: Reflections on Development Practice (2)
8
Term 2
3 weeks on campus
8 weeks online
  • Development Theories and Critiques (2)
  • Competencies for Effective Communication (1)
  • Shaping Organisational Culture (2)
  • Data Analysis for Social Action (3)
8
Term 3
6 weeks online
3 weeks on campus
  • Project B: Leading Organisational Change (2)
  • Principles of Financial Management (2)
  • Leadership Practices for Development Organisations (2)
6
All terms
Sessions on campus
Seminar Course: Emerging Themes in Development (0 credits) 0
Total 22
Pedagogy

Being designed for experienced organisational professionals, the programme assumes that participants will bring deep experience of grassroots work, and will build on that experience in class transactions. It relies on peer group learning, practice-based readings, guest lectures, discussions, films and simulations.

Eligibility

The programme is open to those working in NGOs, social movements and other grassroots organisations. The eligibility criteria are:

  • Undergraduate degree in any discipline
  • Eight or more years of work in the development sector, in any domain, preferably with marginalized groups in urban or rural locations
  • Functional fluency in English (reading, writing, spoken)
  • Currently in leadership roles in their respective organisations, or likely to move into such roles within the next three years
  • Consent and recommendation of the applicant’s current employer.

We encourage applications from women and other groups which are underrepresented in the leadership of social sector organizations in the country.

Participants who need to bring young children with them, please contact us to discuss child care requirements.

Admissions Process
Step 1: Application (Deadline 30th April 2021)
  • Submit online application form
  • Recommendation form to be submitted by applicant's current employer
Step 2: Written component (June 2021)
  • Written response to reflective questions (online)
Step 3: Personal interviews (July 2021)
  • Discussion with a panel

Applications will be evaluated based on the candidates’ depth of field experience, present or future leadership roles, capability for reflexivity in the organisational context, and ability to complete the course requirements.

For enquiries: [email protected]

Fees
  • For Partner or small NGOs: Rs. 30,000 (approx.) for tuition and accommodation (incl. GST)
  • For all other organisations: Rs. 60,000 (approx.) for tuition and accommodation (incl. GST)
  • Additional fee waivers will be considered upon request from organisations or participants

Faqs

1. What is the PG Diploma in Development Leadership programme about?

This programme will help participants develop a strong grasp of the conceptual and ethical dimensions of development action, deepen their understanding of organisational cultures and leadership, and strengthen competencies for oversight of financial management, data analysis and communication for development action and advocacy. For more details, please refer to the programme brochure.

2. Who is this programme designed for?

The programme is designed for mid to senior level professionals in the development sector who are likely to take on senior leadership roles in their organisations. It is expected that the participants have a minimum of eight years of experience and will continue to work during the programme.

3. How is this programme different from development management or leadership programmes?

The programme does not focus on operational tools and techniques for the day-to-day management of social sector organisations and their initiatives. Instead, it emphasises the conceptual, historical and cultural aspects for strengthening organisational leadership in a rapidly evolving social sector.

4. What is the programme structure?

The programme uses a mix of face-to-face classes and online learning spread over 11-months. The programme is divided into three terms. Each term will have an on-campus residential component (of three weeks) and an online component (weekend work comprising live lectures, online group discussions, assignments and project work). For more details, please refer to the programme brochure.

5. What qualification will I receive on successful completion of the programme?

On successful completion, the participant will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Leadership from Azim Premji University.

6. What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Undergraduate degree in any discipline
  • Eight or more years of work in the development sector (NGOs, social movements and other grassroots organisations) in any domain, preferably with marginalized groups in urban or rural locations.
  • Functional fluency in English (reading, writing, spoken)
  • Currently in leadership roles in their respective organisations, or likely to move into such roles within the next three years
  • Consent and recommendation of the applicant’s current employer.

7. I am presently not working but meet the other eligibility requirements. Can I still apply?

We require that participants be part of an organisation while they are enrolled in the programme, as some aspects (e.g. project work) require that participants work closely with their organisations. If an applicant is moving to a new organisation, consent from the new organisation will be required.

8. What if I leave my present organisation mid-way through the programme?

Please refer to Q.7. Any exceptions will be made at the discretion of the university.

9. Is the organisation’s recommendation mandatory?

Yes. The primary motivation of this programme is to strengthen the leadership capacities of social sector organisations in the country. It is important that the candidate’s organisation is aligned with this objective. In addition, the participant and the organisation will need to make significant investments of time and effort in this process, and thus a recommendation from the organisation becomes necessary.

10. Is the organisation’s recommendation still required if I self-finance my programme fees?

Yes. Please refer to Q.7 and Q.9

11. Will this be an intensive programme?

Yes, the programme will require strong and sustained commitment from participants to fulfil the attendance, participation and assessment requirements (assignments, projects and group interactions). As the programme will run in parallel with work responsibilities, participants need to effectively balance the significant demands of the programme.

12. What are the English requirements for the programme?

The programme requires functional fluency in English. All courses and class discussions will be conducted mainly in English, though participants can ask questions in any Indian language that is understood by the faculty. Participants will be expected to read material in English. Assignments and projects will need to be submitted in English.

13. Can I select which courses within the programme to join?

No, the courses cannot be attempted selectively. All courses are mandatory.

14. How many days will I need to be away from work?

Over the 11-month period, participants have to spend three weeks each term (i.e. total 9 weeks) on campus. The remaining interactions will be online and designed to make use of weekends (approximately 28 full Saturdays for live, online classes).

15. What is the batch size?

The programme can accommodate 30 to 40 participants per batch.

16. Is there placement assistance after the programme?

There is no placement assistance envisaged after the programme.

17. What are the fees for the programme?

The fee for the programme is INR 30,000 (approx) for partner or small NGO's including tuition fees and accommodation for the on-campus classes. This is at the discretion of the University. For all other organisations, the fee is INR 60,000 (approx.). Other expenses such as travel, food, etc. will have to be borne by the participant or their organisation.

18. Will I get a stipend?

No, this programme does not provide a stipend.

19. Is financial assistance available?

Yes, financial assistance / fee waiver will be considered upon request from organisations or participants, at the discretion of the University. Please contact us for more details.

  • Applications for the academic session 2021 -22 are now closed.
  • If you only want to receive regular programme updates (information sessions, webinars, etc) please fill out the registration form below.
  • We will intimate you, when we invite applications for the next academic session.
Name*
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Name of the organisation working in*
Present work location*
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Work experience in the development sector (in years)*
Please fill in the Education Details as applicable:
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Postgraduation (if any)
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Do write to us at [email protected] if you have any questions about this Programme