The Graduate School of Public and Development Management (GSPDM) is the Academy’s center for learning for graduate education options in public and development management. It offers creative ways in developing capabilities in managing change, reforming institutions, and addressing human resource problems that influence complex development and governance concerns. Its primary function is building and sustaining, through professional education, a strategic partnership of committed, competent, and responsive development managers from the public, private and NGO sectors who shall empower the people towards their attainment of a better quality of life.

Brief history

The Development Academy of the Philippines enjoys its own Charter and is legally empowered to offer graduate degree programs. Its first degree program, the Master in Public Management (MPM), was created in 1991. In 1992, then President Cory Aquino awarded the Corazon C. Aquino Presidential Endowment Fund to support the creation of the Institute of Public Management (IPM), which was to operate the MPM program.

Then, on 17th January 1994, the DAP Graduate School of Public and Development Management (GSPDM) was brought into being by DAP Board Resolution No. 94-01. All the technical and material resources of the IPM were transferred to the newly created Graduate School.

Since its inception, the GSPDM has guided more than 700 graduates through its master’s degree, diploma, and certificate programs.

A Ladderized Approach

GSPDM degree programs can be completed in ladderized manner. Thus, completing 15 units of Core Courses entitles students to a Certificate (for instance, a ‘Graduate Certificate in Public Management’), which they can take away with them and immediately benefit from without completing the entire Master’s degree program. If they wish to come back to the program, they can complete 15 units of Major Courses, which then entitles them to a Diploma (for instance, a ‘Graduate Diploma in Productivity and Quality Management’). This leaves only the final paper, which, when successfully completed, finally earns the student a Master’s degree.

Customized/Twinning program

GSPDM offers customized Master’s programs to partner institutions. The Major courses of each program are tailored to respond to concerns relevant to the Public Managers’ specific field of work. The concepts and principles learned in the Core courses will underpin the specific policy applications of the Major Courses.

Action Plan and Project

GSPDM degree programs feature a final paper requirement that is equivalent to a Master’s Thesis or a Doctoral Dissertation, but which, in its character and approach, is more practical than theoretical. This Action Plan and Project (APP) represents an ambitious but doable policy or project intended for implementation in the student’s own institution or policy field.

Unlike most graduate degree programs, the programs of GSPDM incorporate student work on the APP into the regular coursework; hence, some sections of the APP are completed by the students as part of the coursework for some of their major courses. This allows students to complete their APP and win their degree in 12 to 15 months for Master’s degree programs, and in as short as 18 months for the Executive Doctorate in Education Leadership program.

Student-centered Learning Experience Design

GSPDM Master’s degree programs use a Student-Centered Learning Experience Design (SCLED). This design is characterized by a de-emphasis on the teacher as the primary actor in the classroom and on the lecture/discussion as the primary mode of instruction. Since graduate students by and large already have extensive knowledge of and experience in the public service, civil society leadership, or private sector management, it is only logical to make use of this knowledge and experience as tools in the learning process. In addition, the classroom gathers the public managers together in one venue, and to use such an opportunity primarily for the usual teacher-centered lecture/discussion is to fail to exploit its full potential. The primary classroom learning activity in SCLED is therefore the small-group guided discussion, designed carefully to channel the energizing presence of the student’s peers – similar to the individual student in work experience but also necessarily different from him or her in many significant ways – as a goad, as an aid, and as a foil in serious study and reflection. In SCLED, the lecture becomes merely a measure for motivation, for contextualization of reference texts, and for filling in the corners. The function of communicating new knowledge is borne primarily by carefully selected reference texts, which the students are expected to study assiduously outside of classroom time.

SCLED is not only student-centered, it is also heuristic. In many educational settings, it is assumed that the student’s main task is to receive information from the Resource Persons, and then to demonstrate an ability to process and apply this information in the student’s own context. Repeated experience has shown this technique to be far less effective than expected or desired, even when it is well executed; additionally, it may have the perverse effect of producing merely skilled technicians managers whose primary role is to execute other people’s ideas. In contrast, SCLED permits, invites, and even compels students to flex their creative visioning and problem-solving muscles; in this way, it encourages leaders to be innovative strategists and policy-makers in their own right.

SCLED is premised on the notion that the learning method has as great, if not a greater, influence on the character of graduates as the learning content.


Executive Order (EO) 910 mandates the establishment by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) of an accreditation and equivalency system for management and development-oriented training and related courses conducted for government personnel by other government agencies and private training institutions.