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Rural Academics

May 26, 2011

The National Council of Rural Institutes had its origins in a suggestion, in 1949, by the then newly formed University Education Commission with Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan as Chairman, that emphasised the need for great advancement of Rural Higher Education through a system of rural colleges and universities.

The NCRI was formed, finally, in 1995, and is located in Hyderabad (in about as non-rural a setting as could be imagined!)  with the prime objective to strengthen rural India in a holistic manner, using education as an instrument of social advancement, in the following ways:

  • Promote Rural Higher Education on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary ideas on education so as to take up challenges of micro planning for transformation of rural areas as envisaged in NPE 1986 (as modified in 1992); and as it was suggested by Radhakrishnan Commission (1948);
  • Consolidate network and develop Rural Institutes and endow them for recognition;
  • To develop Rural Institutes into Regional Development Institutes and Rural Universities which shall function as hubs for knowledge connectivity and emerge into effective agent for rural transformation in backward regions through voluntary initiatives wherever possible;
  • To regulate the quality of education of rural institutes and educational programmes in the area of rural higher education of all the Universities in India;
  • Design a variety of courses at tertiary level around emerging rural occupations;
  • Strengthen teacher training facilities for Gandhian Basic Education;
  • Strengthen the content of all these institutions with emphasis on science, technology and management on one hand and traditional wisdom on the other;
  • Promote vocational training programmes and initiatives for self-reliance;
  • Encourage field-oriented courses of rural institutes;
  • Promote action research as a tool for social and rural development;
  • Promote extension services to the community through micro level planning; and
  • Advise the Government of India on all such matters pertaining to rural institutes as may be referred to it from time to time.

Two of their recent books on Gandhiji’s thinking on rural education have been published by Serials Publications, a New Delhi based publishing house. Perspectives on Nai Talim, edited by S V Prabhath, is on Gandhiji’s  all-inclusive concept of education. ‘Nai Talim’ is education for social transformation. The objective is to create a new society based on equality and free from exploitation by ensuring educational, economic, and social development, of the especially disadvantaged segments of society. Education should not be only limited to mastering of fundamental scientific principles of any branch of science or art and developing sense of professionalism alone. Leadership and commitment are qualities that are expected to be developed in an individual by education.

Gandhi today is a collection of essays on the current relevance of Gandhi, from the perspective of rural higher education.  Prof. J N Sharma of the Panjab University says … The book is a work of conviction and hope. Some of very profound, provocative and engaging articles have been included in this volume which should be read by all. A treasure trove of reflections on Gandhi, the compilation unfolds his thoughts and deeds. The collection also mirrors the many fold contribution of Gandhi to humanity. The outstanding work is bound to blaze a new trail of Gandhian alternatives because the collection includes the very best in the field. The sweep and richness of the book will help the reader to contextualize and grow their own understanding of the ideals and principles of the Mahatma. The work is an invaluable edition in the Gandhian Thought.

Both books (and other Serials Publications) can be found in the SwB Bookstore. 

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