Students' education to benefit villagers

Students' education to benefit villagers

The people in rural areas may soon visit different departments asking for benefits and question Panchayat members on misappropriations with the social outreach programme going to be initiated by St Agnes College Department of Political Science in villages in Mangalore taluk.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, St Agnes College Political Science HoD Chandramohan Marathe said that the College has decided to take students to the grass roots as part of their extension activity.

People in rural areas are often cheated from the rights and many don’t know that benefits are reserved for them from government. The response in the Grama Sabhas is very poor. Middlemen pop up in these cases and help people receive their benefits taking a huge chunk of it as commission. “If people are made aware and given the necessary knowledge, then one can expect better democracy,” he says.

The programmes will kick off with a ‘Janasamparka Abhiyan’ on July 24, and Someshwar village has been taken up as the pilot project. Students will visit door-to-door explaining people the important information and distributing pamphlets that state their rights.

The second phase will include political awareness programmes with street plays and talks from resource persons by inviting the people in a common place and finally the college will organise ‘Legal aid camps’ and arrange for legal experts to take care of the legal issues faced by the people.

The programme will continue in different villages in Mangalore taluk and will be a continuous activity henceforth. The College will try to cover at least 5 villages a year, says Chandramohan.

The main aim of the extension activity is to invite people to attend Grama Sabhas that will be held twice in a year and it also benefits students as they get a practical exposure and an opportunity to interact with people, hence making learning an exciting experience, he says and adds that such activity was initially started by SDM College, Ujire and he was influenced to start it in Mangalore as the concept was a hit in Ujire.

Success in Ujire

SDM College Political Science Department HoD K S Mohan Narayan said that his department had started the outreach programme to grass root levels five years ago, and was the first College in the State to initiate a programme of this kind.

“Less than 100 people used to attend Gram Sabha meetings in Ujire five years ago and today more than 500 participate,” he says and adds that their students also take up voting awareness campaign during elections.

“Many of my old students are now Panchayat leaders and Project Development Officers and fulfill their duties earnestly,” he says.

“Such kind of extension programmes will bridge the gap between the college and society.
It gives students experience as well as helps them to fulfill their duty towards society,” says St Agnes College Principal Dr Sr Marie Prem D’Souza AC.

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