GUWAHATI, Nov 17 - A university community in North East India has become a trendsetter in offering development communication services when students of the Schools of Technology and Social Sciences decided to reach out to its neighbourhod communities.
It all started three years ago when its masters students of social work fanned out to do a social audit and needs assessment of its neighbourhood communities and launched free tuition classes for high school students.
“Three years ago we started off with two-hour evening sessions in mathematics, English and science for 40 neighbourhood students studying in Classes VIII, IX and X,” said Assistant Professor of social work Victor Nazary, coordinator of the Swastyayan programme at the Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) in Guwahati.
Swastyayan – a commitment – offers free tuition classes for high school students, as well as skilling them with personality development, spoken English and leadership techniques.
Today there are over 300 boys and girls given free tuition by some 60 ADBU students and faculty volunteers from Monday to Friday for two hours in the same classrooms where B Tech students hold classes.
Besides social work and B Tech department staff and students, other departments like psychological counselling, human rights and mass communication have volunteered to join the programme.
Last month, the psychological counselling department started a counselling centre offering free counselling sessions every Friday afternoon for the Swastyayan students and their parents.
“The purpose of the centre is to promote the relevance and benefits of counselling, as well as provide free counselling sessions to the Swastyayan community,” said Sabatina Changmai, an MA student in psychology.
The human rights department ensures that in the neighbourhood communities of the university children enjoy child rights, especially with regard to education, prevention of child labour and trafficking.
This week, the mass communication department teamed up with the local community radio – Radio Luit – to highlight social issues and aired three programmes highlighting health issues, busting examination stress and a Children’s Day special.
Swastyayan’s third annual day was held on Saturday marking Children’s Day with a two-hour programme for students and their parents in the presence of ADBU Pro Vice-Chancellor Fr Joseph Nellanatt and directors of the Schools of Technology and Social Sciences Prof Manoranjan Kalita and Dr Riju Sharma.
State Deputy Director of Higher Education Chinmoyee Talukdar, the chief guest at the event, encouraged all to emulate the example of the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s passion for learning and integrity, and make use of every opportunity ADBU is providing.