Rose Wachuka Macharia, MPP Class of 2015, joined the course with an academic and professional background in law. The Master of Public Policy course served as a bridge into the area of governance, and since completing the course she has worked for the Kenyan Government; initially in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and now in the Ministry of Education. She is currently Chief of Staff in the Ministry of Education's Cabinet Office.
Studying for an MPP gave Rose the opportunity to think in detail about her own approach to policy, and situate it in comparison to others.
“At the very core of the course was the Foundations module that taught me how to place my own assumptions, political preferences and biases with regards to current public policy issues. It also taught me how to place the approaches of others, including those of leaders, in this same framework.”
In this way, she was able to develop strong problem-solving skills which have been essential in her further career.
“The greatest advantage of the understanding of policy and different approaches to it is the ability to ask questions that expand the scope for finding solutions. Related to this, the MPP course also exposed me to the interface between politics and public policy. I am now able to analyse diverse group or individual interests and fashion solutions that make concessions easier.”
The course’s focus on practical application also stands out for Rose, and she has been able to use the skills gained through Applied Policy modules in her current work. “The financial components equipped me with the capacity to sit in sector budgeting teams without feeling overwhelmed or lost. What I learnt in the communications module allows me to communicate with efficiency and impact. The MPP has made my job in the Kenyan Government a lot more enjoyable and easier!”
The Ministry of Education is Kenya's largest Ministry, and as Chief of Staff, Rose is responsible for coordinating the interaction between the Cabinet Office and the rest of the Ministry, with a technical advisory role on education policy. At present, the Ministry’s key policy goal is to increase access to secondary education.
“Kenya's current focus in education is achieving 100% transition from primary to secondary education. Primary education has been free and compulsory since 2003. The effect of this has been 96.1% primary school participation and survival rate to the last primary school grade in Kenya. Secondary education, however, is just at 51%. The mandate of the Ministry is to bring this rate up to 100%, through policies such as free day secondary schools.”
The Ministry is also tasked with managing university education, vocational and technical training and post-training skills development for national development. “All these departments communicate with the Minister for Education on a regular basis to meet the shared goal of the Ministry: to offer quality education and training to all. My office facilitates this collaboration and furthers the mission.”