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Dialogue on Community Engagement and Social Responsibility in Higher Education


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Date(s) - 06/03/2014 - 07/03/2014
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 dialogue to be held on 6 and 7 March 2014 at Panjab University in Chandigarh aims to strengthen and support community engagement in higher education in Punjab. Over two days the 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.

PRIA, in collaboration with the British Council and the Punjab University has also initiated a study to map and research the current practices in community engagement in HEIs in Punjab. The findings will be shared at the dialogue.

Delegates from India and the UK will be attending the dialogue. 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 Dr. Arun Grover, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University; Dr. Ronki Ram, Professor, Panjab University; Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President PRIA and UNESCO Chair; and Ms. Manjula Rao, Assistant Director, Internationalising Higher Education, British Council.

A panel discussion on “University Approach to Widening Access: Opportunities in Community Colleges” is also being organized as part of the dialogue. The chief guest for the event will be Mr K.K. Sharma, Advisor to the Administrator, Chandigarh. Panelists for this session include Dr. Arun K. Grover, Vice Chancellor, Punjab University; Professor Michael Osborne, University of Glasgow; Dr. Rajesh Tandon, UNESCO Chair; and Mr Ajay Mohan Goel from the Wadhwani Foundation.

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