Students and social transformation
SOCIETAL development requires significant human efforts in right direction and at right time.
Developing societies transform themselves through consistent and objective growth to become a developed society.
The holistic transformation is possible only when all instruments of development are closely integrated, milestones are clearly defined and objectives are clearly understood.
Among all the aspects of social development, human development is most significant. Human development emphasizes on providing opportunities for the individuals to develop skills, education and experience of highest quality.
Once the skilled manpower is available it can change the fate and destiny of the nation and can ensure that transformation from developing to developed society can become possible with a sustainable pace.
Young students can play a key role in the social development of a country. It is important that the intellectual and physical potential of the students is well understood and their abilities are used positively. In order to do this, incentivization-based approach can be used.
For example, in the recent past the college students used to do a physical training called NCC and the graduates of this training used to get 20 additional marks in the university admission.
By virtue of this incentivization the students used to be very excited about this training and used to feel proud of presenting themselves as second line of defense for protection of the nation.
In semester system it is very easy to engage the students in social activities. In this system, along with the mid and final term exams, teachers give projects and assignments to the students.
Generally these projects are purely academic and the social transformation is not the prime objective of these assignments and projects.
The projects are given to assess that whether the student has understood the subject? And if the student can reproduce the contents accurately or not.
The knowledge that the teachers disseminate has an applied aspect as well. It is very important that the students not only understand this applied aspect but they can use this aspect for the betterment of the society.
The contribution of the students can be as small as developing a website or a business model to bring transparency in the accounts of a small enterprise and can be as big as helping the society to change in parts if not in totality.
Almost in all disciplines there is a larger need that projects are given which are applied and have (at least) some social impact.
For the purpose of incentivization, universities can take approval from their respective statuary bodies to assign 5% marks in each course for the social services.
Examples of social services include but are not limited to the following: (a). Planting a tree, (b). Participation in cleanliness campaign, (c). Identification of deficiencies in civic facilities, (d). Participation in awareness campaign against drugs, (e).Provision of digital gadgets for student facing digital divide, (f). Teaching to students who cannot afford to go to schools, (g). Supporting in development of skilled labour, (h). Supporting small enterprises to bring transparency in accounts, (i). Preaching ethics and good behaviour, (j). Providing help in learning other languages (k). Providing support to learn computing for using in different applications etc.
The teachers may think of a number of other projects of applied nature to improve the quality of life.
Through this process, the students come to know their role as a transformer of this society and gain confidence in their abilities.
This process further helps the students to learn that their services matter to the society. This visible confidence also convinces other students to become instrument of positive change.
The transforming society gradually becomes more livable and quality of life improves resultantly.
From the social service experience, the students learn about the nature of challenges of practical life. This exercise may help them in finding opportunities out of the unfavorable situations.
—The author is an Associate Professor of Computing at NUML Islamabad: