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Dialogue on Community Engagement and Social Responsibility in Higher Education


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Date(s) - 03/03/2014 - 04/03/2014
12:00 am


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As public institutions, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) world-wide are being challenged to demonstrate their societal relevance through their core functions of teaching and research. With rapid growth in enrolments in post-secondary education, the issues related to social relevance of curriculum, inclusion of indigenous knowledge, access to hitherto excluded students and direct contribution to problems in their communities have gained ascendancy in India.

As part of the Global Education dialogue series, the UNESCO Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education and the British Council are partnering to take the above agenda forward through a series of dialogues to be held during January-March 2014. The first of these dialogues, to be held on 3 and 4 March 2014 at North Bengal University in Siliguri, West Bengal, aims to strengthen and support community engagement in higher education in West Bengal. Over two days delegates will assess the current levels and quality of community engagement by HEIs in the state; analyse best practices and meanings of social responsibility as practiced in the state; learn from innovative policies and practices in the UK in the field of public engagement and social responsibility; and identify strategies to scale-up community engagement.

The British Council and PRIA have also undertaken a study in North Bengal to map and research current practices in community engagement in HEIs in the region. The results of this research will be shared at the dialogue.

Delegates from India and the UK will be attending. Participants from the UK include Professor Michael Osborne, Chair of Adult & Lifelong Education (Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education); Dr. Emma McKenna from Queen’s University, Belfast, specializing in Education and Skills Development; and Dr. Jenni Chambers, Senior Policy Manager, RCUK Public Engagement with Research. Joining them will be Professor Somnath Ghosh, Vice-Chancellor, North Bengal University; Professor Yasin, Head, Department of Lifelong Learning & Extension, North Bengal University; Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President, PRIA and UNESCO Chair; and Ms. Manjula Rao, Assistant Director, Internationalising Higher Education, British Council.

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