A three-day UGC sponsored programme on Training of Master Trainers on Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) was held under the aegis of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 of the Union Ministry of Education at the North Eastern Regional Centre, Tezpur University, Assam. Thirty-six teaching and research professionals from various colleges and universities from the region participated in the programme. The participants were drawn from the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura. One of the seven regional centres across India, Tezpur University conducted the Programme as a host of the North-Eastern Zone.
The objective of the programme was to introduce academicians and research professionals to Community Based Participatory Research and to train them to understand the processes and challenges in development and community-based communication. The Master Trainers will subsequently convey the acquired knowledge and expertise to the students according to the UGC-proposed two credit courses on community engagement for UG and PG students to be introduced in accordance with the goals of the National Education Policy 2020. During this programme, the master trainers visited the nearby villages of the university, namely, Harigaon, Jharoni and Napaam, for hands on training on community based participatory communication and research.
Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President, Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and Mr. Pradyut Bhattacharjee, Co-Founder and Former Executive Director, Seven Sisters Development Assistance (SeSTA) graced the program as resource persons.
The inaugural session of the program which took place in blended mode on 26th July was attended by Prof. Subramaniam Natarajan, Former Vice- Chancellor GRI- DU and Member, Subject Expert Group of UGC (SEG-UGC), Prof. Dhruba Kumar Bhattacharya, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Tezpur University, Prof. Joya Chakraborty, Chief Coordinator, North East Regional Centre (CBPR) and Head, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University along with the resource persons Dr. Rajesh Tandon and Mr. Pradyut Bhattacharjee.
Dr. Diksha Rajput, Deputy Secretary, UGC, Prof. K. K. Agarwal, Chairman, National Board of Accreditation and UGC-SEG, Dr. Ujjvala Chakaradeo, Vice-Chancellor, Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University, Mumbai and Member UGC-SEG, Dr. Kamal Bijlani, Director, E-learning Research Lab, Amrita Vishwavidyapetham and Member, UGC-SEG, joined the session via the online mode.
In his inaugural address Prof. Dhruba Kumar Bhattacharyya, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Tezpur University spoke about the importance of community engagement and how participatory research can help contribute towards social change. Prof. Subramaniam Natarajan, Former Vice-Chancellor, The Gandhigram Rural Institute – Deemed to be University (GRI-DU) and Member, UGC-SEG, in his keynote address presented the idea behind the programme and also related it to the execution of the programme focusing on the role of institutional social responsibility and the Ministry of Education and UGC’s role in developing a curriculum framework for participatory research education which can promote experiential learning on community engagement for development.
Prof. Vinod Kumar Jain, Vice-Chancellor, Tezpur University attended the valedictory session of the programme on 28th July. In his brief note, he shared on the importance of community engagement and how it supports policy decision making at the higher level. He also focused on the collective role of diverse communities and the role of higher institutions in contributing multi-disciplinary knowledge for building a prosperous society.
Prof. Joya Chakraborty in her concluding remarks shared her experiences of hosting the event and interacting with the participants. She also highlighted the need for and importance of extending the programme in Northeast India because of the cultural and social diversity of the region. The importance of networking and communication among other institutions for facilitating a process of co-learning and building a repository of knowledge was also highlighted in her note.