Jaipur & all other Rajasthan districts to make 'Community Outreach' compulsory in higher education

Rajasthan Government mandates social work in higher education for a holistic learning

The 'Joy of Giving' takes the higher pedestal in colleges and universities in Rajasthan, as the state government makes community outreach programmes a compulsory and credited subject in higher education. This alteration in their syllabus will introduce students to social work, instilling core values of empathy, leadership and teamwork among students, providing them with an all-rounding and holistic education system. A first in the country, this initiative of the state is a part of the government's pipelined 'Aanandam' scheme which is inspired by the Gandhian approach, inspiring students to contribute towards society.


Credit points for Social Work

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This educational approach towards wholesome development of young minds, 'Aanandam' would allow the students to decide the mode of service they wish to deliver, be it cleaning the campus or associating with some non-governmental organisation. The flexibility of the service with moreover not add to the academic burden or financial burden on the state exchequer. The programme exists in the idea of action and does not require classroom lectures. The teacher's role in the process will be limited to guidance and not require physical evaluation.

This is for the first time that any state has introduced community and outreach service as a part of their academic curriculum. This novelty has paved a way for the students to not only contribute towards society but develop a better understanding of their social construct, administrative set and duties as an educated individual. A highly interactive session like such will also assist the students in polishing their communicative skills and constructing valuable interpersonal relations with people and professionals they come in touch with this programme. All these works of community and social service will further ornate their resumes for study abroad applications, especially in colleges that observe social outreach as an academic process.

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Secretary, Higher and Technical Education, who played a key role in introducing 'Aanandam' said, "It has been felt for long that our education system is not generating happy youth. There is a need for holistic education. Therefore, 'Aanandam' is being introduced as a mandatory credited subject in the curriculums of Higher and Technical Education. It will nurture the leadership qualities among our youth by connecting them with the community and its problems. It will make them more understanding and empathetic. It will reorient the purpose of education in the long run towards real happiness."

What does the course offer?

The credit course is designed to engage students in acts of goodness like caring, sharing, giving time and energy, taking up a group project for serving the local community. This dedicated work will be journaled per day in a diary or register to maintain records. Besides encouraging students to do an individual act of goodness, which will also be recorded in the register, one community service project per semester is what has been prescribed as the subject syllabus. Each service project will win two credits for students or 50 marks would be allotted for every 4-month service. The mentors who are none other than faculty members will maintain a register to record which will be submitted to the school principal every day.

The suggestive list of the project will include:
1. Literacy programmes
2. Livelihood projects
3. Time giving activities to adopted communities like building awareness for government programmes and also holding sessions for yoga, meditation or physical exercises.
4. Activities for the restoration of art and culture.
5. Activities towards environmental awareness and appreciating cultural diversities.
6. Activities towards first-aid training and animal care.
7. Project activities like helping plant a community garden, taking up local social problems and devising solutions, attending to problems of the elderly.

The project mentors will review the project on a monthly basis and submit their report to the college nodal officer that will be compiled and shared with higher authorities on Google spreadsheets. The principal will choose the most viable project report, taking the number of beneficiaries and impact on society into consideration. This mission statement will be uploaded on the Higher and Technical Education website and college page.

Besides marks and grades, state-level awards apart from certificate/letter of appreciation will also be given by Director, College Education/Department of Higher and Technical Education, after assessment from State Level Project Assessment Committees. Separate Project Assessment Committees (PACs) will be constituted at university and state levels for this purpose.


-With Inputs from IANS

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