Community Partnerships and Education: Paving the Way to Sustainable Development in India
18 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2017 Last revised: 11 Feb 2018
Date Written: December 17, 2017
With the vision of Transforming the World, the United Nations on September 25, 2015 adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030 as the successor to the Millennium Development Goals. With the key focus on sustainability, the SDGs aim to work with environment, economics, and society through an inclusive partnership at the global, national and local levels.
India has embraced the agenda of the SDGs through the National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Ayog and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). One of the key agenda for the nation is social inclusion and ‘empowerment of the poor for removing poverty through education and skill development… of turning distant dreams into immediate possibilities…. of dignity though housing, power, water and sanitation for all’. Development measures in India, with its socio-cultural-economic diversity, demographic magnitude and the colonial baggage have not achieved the expected success since independence. The lack of success of equitable development is visible in the below poverty line population data which ranges approximately from 20-24% in 2015 (depending on the data sources available) and the increasing disparity of income among the rich and the poor.
The concept of social inclusion, represents a vision for “a society for all”, in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play. NITI Aayog provides a platform for cooperative federalism and facilitates the working together of the Union and States as equals in providing policy interventions to the Union Government. Inclusion however, is a participatory idea at all levels of goal setting, execution of processes and its sustained outcomes for reduction of inequalities, discrimination, social justice and cohesion. For India, to ensure successful implementation of sustainable development goals, increased community participation is desirable. It is time to reconfigure the population dividend and emphasize its strength as human capital instead of a developmental hindrance.
This paper outlines a further localized framework for community based partnership and proposes a strategy for development to take forward the UN mandate of “partnership with community to develop strategy for development”. The idea of this partnership is to move beyond the global and governing leadership to the local communities, wanting and expecting change, to actually mobilize resources. This can be achieved through asset and need assessments within the local community to enhance growth and capacity building for a long term sustainable growth and development. This ties in well with the key idea of SDG’s to reduce poverty, hunger, inequality and promotion of health, sanitation and equality in all sectors for enhancement of human development and capacity building. Human development indices are associated not just with the macro-systems but also with the local or the meso-community level and its socio-cultural environment, and therefore needs to be approached from within the local system and parallel organizational and financial support from the government and other bodies such as the corporate and institutional sectors including education systems.
The paper will first outline the meaning and scope of the terms community and development in context of the SDGs, especially Goal 17. Further it will outline the strategy for community development in context of the Institutional Social Responsibility (ISR) and the scope that it represents in reaching out to the community, through the youth in academic and academia affiliated institutions. The paper also aims to explore the scope of community engagement as a means of building human capital for charting the road to development in a sustainable manner. This contention that partnership with the community through ISR for transforming India by 2030 will be fortified through some case studies that have explored community partnerships for sustainable development. Though the suggested strategies cover the urban socio-economic setup of globalized India, nonetheless they reflect the problems faced by most countries across the world.
Keywords: capacity building, community partnership, education, human capital, sustainable development
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