Community Development

August 25, 2009

Metamorphosis of a material- Adding colour to social policy

I don’t exactly remember in which year we introduced the Social Policy, Planning and Development paper, but able to recollect what triggered me to take initiative to include it as a separate paper. A feedback given by a student that she felt handicapped to perform better in her UGC JRF exam because of insufficient exposure to policy related concepts. Sensitive enough to appreciate her comment, I took initiative to prepare the syllabus without having any expertise in the subject matter.

When I referred the social work syllabi of various universities I found only in two places i.e.in TISS and DSW, social policy was included as a separate paper at that time. I prepared a concoction out of these two and the syllabus was passed in the university without questions, because it was our Director Dr.Raja then the syndicate member in MKU presented it in the academic council.

When commenting on the present education, I read somewhere that syllabus is prepared by those who do not know how to teach and taught by those who do not understand the spirit of the syllabus. It is true as far as myself is concerned.

Since I initiated, I took the responsibility to handle it. My attempt to understand the subject from the faculty of Public Administration in MK University was frustrating. I don’t want to go into the sickening politics prevailed in the department of PA some 2 decades before.

It was Dr.Narayana Raja, our present principal, who then doing his M.Phil in TISS helped me to get xerox copies of some literature and it was he informed me that TISS deputed its faculty for a six months programme on social policy in UK before introducing that paper. That is the reason TISS excel at national & international level.

With humility and curiosity, I started teaching the subject. I don’t know whether I did a justice to the subject and to my students, but the subject matter of social policy widened my horizons of thinking and understanding. Studying policy as an academic subject definitely sharpens one’s intelligence.

In order to make the subject understandable to the students I prepared transparencies and notes. Though I am not handling the subject at present for the past several years, the material prepared by me is used by the students in various colleges. The material got metamorphosed from handwritten copy to cyclostyled copies and fortunately I retained some though I missed a lot.

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Social policy has given me a lot – widened my horizons of thinking; it helped me to better appreciate and understand the PIP (Policy, Institutions and Processes) in livelihood concept, myself in turn have not contributed anything to enrich the subject matter of social policy. So, I thought of adding colour to the material that I have collected some two decades before and that is metamorphosed into An Introduction to Social Policy – A Primer.

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