NEW DELHI: The groundwork for implementation of the programme, in the form of training of faculty having been completed, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked higher education institutions (HEIs) to start a 2-credit course on community engagement and social responsibility.
This is part of UGC’s long-standing commitment to strengthening the social relevance of HEIs. It was ten years back, in 2012, that the Ministry of Education (then known as the Ministry of Human Resource Development) had developed a scheme to promote stronger community engagement amongst HEIs in the country.
Called the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA), its second iteration was launched in February 2018 as UBA 2.0. In June 2018 UGC set up a subject expert group (SEG) on curricular reforms to achieve the objectives of UBA 2.0. The idea was to ensure that community engagement is not seen as a standalone activity and is integrated in the regular curriculum of the university.
Across the world, HEIs are being encouraged to foster social responsibility and community engagement in their teaching and research activities over the past decade.
A declaration from the second Unesco Conference on Higher Education held in Paris in July 2009 had stated explicitly that, “Higher education has the social responsibility to advance our understanding of multifaceted issues…and our ability to respond to them…Through its core missions of teaching, research and service, it should lead society in generating knowledge to address global challenges, inter alia, food security, climate change, water management, intercultural dialogue, renewable energy and public health.”