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Seminar on ‘Social Responsibility in Higher Education’


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Date(s) - 03/02/2016
12:00 am


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Social responsibility in higher education implies the relevance and contributions of the universities to the future development of individuals and societies; it implies that teaching and research as the core functions of the university are linked closely with the elaboration and promotion of shared societal visions and common public goods. Its fundamental objective is to promote the social usefulness of knowledge, and its relevance goes beyond responding to the needs of economic development. It requires a two-way perspective between universities and society, which involves directly multiplying the critical uses of knowledge in society.

The Final Communiqué from the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education of July 8, 2009 opens with a section on the “Social Responsibility in Higher Education”.  Item 1 notes: “Higher education is a public good and the responsibility of all stakeholders.” Item 2 notes: “Higher education has the social responsibility to advance our understanding of multifaceted issues…and our ability to respond to them… It should lead society in generating global knowledge to address global challenges, inter alia, food security, climate change, water management, intercultural dialogue, renewable energy and public health.”

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), as agents of knowledge creation, exchange and dissemination need to become more conscious of its importance and responsibility towards society. In today’s context, as the accelerated changes pose challenges to them, they are obligated to address and redefine their traditional roles, to review their perspectives on social responsibility and to consider its implications. Therefore, research areas must reflect the treasury of our thoughts, the riches of our indigenous traditions and the felt necessities of our societies. This must be aligned with facilitative learning environments in which students do not experience learning as a burden, but as a force that liberates the soul and uplifts the society. Thus, the time is ripe for ‘reviewing and reconsidering the interchange of value between university and society; that is to say, we need to begin thinking on the lines of ‘social relevance of universities’.

Programme Outline
Chair: Professor S R Hashim, Chairman, Indian Association of Social Science Institutions (IASSI)

3:00 – 3:05 pm: Welcome note
3:05- 3:20 pm: Setting the stage: Broad overview by Dr Rajesh Tandon, President, PRIA & Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research & Social Responsibility in Higher Education
3:20-3:40 pm: Presentation of the South African Perspective, by Prof Darren Brendan Lortan, Acting Director of Community Engagement and Senior Lecturer in Mathematics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Durban Institute of Technology, Durban, South Africa
3:40-4:00 pm: Presentation of the Canadian perspective, by Dr Andrew Petter, President, Simon Fraser University (SFU), Canada
4:00-4:45 pm: Open discussions
4:45-4:55 pm: Comments by the Chair
4:55-5:00 pm: Valedictory remarks
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