Tata-Dhan Academy: PDM


Programme in Development Management

A Decade’s Experience of Development Management Education

Early in August 2010, eight students graduated from the Tata-Dhan Academy to enter into their careers in the development sector. They represented our ninth batch of graduates. To date, more than one hundred students—117 students from 17 states to be precise—have moved on from the Academy to help to improve the lives of thousands of people throughout India. These graduates are working on diverse projects ranging from primary education to water management to self-help group promotion to environmental protection to… well… at the Tata-Dhan Academy, we like to think that our graduates would be able to handle anything that is put in front of them!

This flexibility is the result of a decade’s worth of refinement of a curriculum that has grown from a one-year programme comprising 16 courses to a two-year programme comprising 32 courses and extensive field practice. The Programme in Development Management today is a unique and challenging learning experience.

Through a carefully selected range of courses, our students learn about the development theories and concepts that have shaped India’s development sector, and understand the need and processes of organizing communities to take charge of their own development. They improve their professional communication skills, learn how to apply research to improve development action, and study management-related courses like project management, economics, accounting, and human resource development. They develop personal leadership skills, and learn the value of introspection in ensuring ethical, reasoned development action.

However, lessons from the classroom comprise only about half of the time the students spend with us. The other half is spent engaged in field activities which prepare students for direct development action. In the process, they learn how to work in teams and learn about their own competence in logically designing and implementing community-based and community-oriented development projects.

The curriculum offered at the Tata-Dhan Academy is regularly evolving. We use an integrated feedback mechanism to ensure that the Programme in Development Management course is appropriately preparing students to do the type of work that will be demanded of them in the development sector. Some of the feedback processes include ongoing contact with our designated placement organizations to find out how well our graduates are performing, conducting trainings and workshops with other NGOs during which emerging field-level challenges are identified, and undertaking original development-related studies to explore the changes in the sector.

All of these formal and informal efforts help the Tata-Dhan Academy make advances towards one of its missions: to build the capacity of the development sector by improving the quality of practitioners and development work.

Beyond what happens in the classroom and in the field, students engage themselves in other curricular and extracurricular activities. This newsletter is one of our student initiatives, first introduced a few years ago. Its production has been on a hiatus for some time, and we are glad to see the students taking responsibility for reintroducing the newsletter as one of the many activities that keep them busy during their two years with us. It is a great opportunity for students to express some of their development interests, interact with experienced development practitioners, and engage themselves with faculty in a non-classroom setting. We also hope that it is a good opportunity for you—the reader—to share your feedback with us to help us in our goal of improving our Programme in Development Management.

A Umarani, Director, Tata-Dhan Academy

TDA News

PDM Alumni

Three PDM alumni, Mr Subhadarshee Nayak (PDM 5), Mr Alok Kumar Dubey, and Ms Shaktiprava Maharana (PDM 6) have been selected as recipients of the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program.


PDM 9 recently completed the two year Programme in Development Management and have been placed. Three of the graduates joined DHAN Foundation, four joined the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), and one joined Sahabhagi Vikash Abhiyan. Mr Rajkumar Gupta coauthored a paper titled “Food Insecurity among the Tribals of Madhya Pradesh: Causes and Consequences” that was presented at a national seminar at IIMB.

PDM 10

After completing their third term, the PDM 10 students went to the field for their first Development Practice Segment. The students are working in four states (Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh) and are working on community projects with both Kalanjiam Community Banking Programme and DHAN Vayalagam (Tank) Foundation.

PDM 11

PDM 11 celebrated Independence Day at the new Tata-Dhan Academy campus. The chief guest, Prof._Venkatraman, spoke on some interesting facts about India’s independence and the students presented a brief cultural show depicting the struggle made by the heroes and freedom fighters who brought our country closer to independence. At the end of the event, the students planted trees in their new campus.


Filed under: General TDA, PDM 10, PDM 11, PDM 9, Spectrum, Uncategorized, , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. pathinettampadian says:

    I am Pathinettampadian from PDM 7… I read your post but the content was not about our batch… What is this? Please try to add something about my batchmates.

    With regards,
    M. Pathinettampadian
    Project Executive
    DHAN Vayalagam Tank Foundation
    Thirumangalam, Madurai Vayalagam Region

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