Creative and critical engagement with social policies around the world

Students' digital stories of social policies around the world
Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana - SPD critical engagement videos

A series of creative and critical clips translate ISS students’ in-depth engagement with social policies in the realms of health, education, child development, women’s empowerment, social assistance, and housing into digital stories.

These videos of participants in the ISS Major in Social Policy for Development (SPD) highlight that, besides explicit targeting based, for instance, on income levels, many social policies are characterized by other exclusions.

The British Healthy Start Scheme that seeks to encourage good eating habits in children excludes non-nationals who might be disproportionately exposed to poverty. Similarly, migrants and transgender persons who often do not hold the required identification cannot access the Indonesian Non-Cash Food Assistance programme BPNT.

Social policy as part of politics

The clips visibilise various ways in which social policy is part of politics. The clip on the Public Rental Housing Scheme in Hong Kong, reflects that social policies may be both shaped by public protests and implemented as a way to quell them.

The podcast that engages with the Jakarta Pintar Card (KJP), a card entitling Indonesian students to support for education-related expenses, shows that, also in the figurative sense, social policy can be a card in electoral politics: Two consecutive governors of Jakarta won the local elections by establishing the KJP and widening the population entitled to it.

Highlighting the mismatch between policy objectives and actual effects

The student teams tease out mismatches between stated policy objectives, their underlying rationales and effects.

For instance, the Lebanese social transfer Haddi (=‘next to me’) aims at improving children’s health and education. Yet, the US and various European governments’ financial support for Haddi might also be motivated by their effort to keep Syrian and Palestinian refugee populations who represent a large share of the programme’s recipients ‘in place’.

The Indian scheme Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) provides liquid petroleum gas (LPG) connections to women in below poverty line families. The clip that engages with the PMUY critically interrogates the scheme’s goal to empower women, pointing out that the scheme ties women to stereotypical gender roles in the household rather than transforming these roles.

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