Siliguri – A college in North Bengal has partnered with five other colleges and universities in three neighboring countries to research on higher education for disadvantaged youth.
The three-year project initiated by International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU) is entitled “Continuing Education of Disadvantaged Adolescents” jointly undertaken in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
There were no takers for the project in neighbouring Nepal.
The research partners include Notre Dame University Dhaka, Salesian College Siliguri Campus, Stella Maris College Chennai, Christ University Bangalore, and Aquinas University Colombo.
“We need to study how to bridge the gap of continuing education for the drop outs,” says Principal of Salesian College Dr George Thadathil explaining the project being at Rana bustee in Sraban Nagar Siliguri.
The joint project by SCSC Alumni, students and faculty was launched officially by the IFCU Deputy Secretary General Dr Barnabe D’Souza on 21 st October 2016.
“This international research could build bridge between what happens with government policy and ground reality,” says Dr D’Souza the first Indian to occupy the post of 92 year old global body which has more than 1,200 universities under it in all five continents.
Dr D’Souza adds, “We equip faculty to be strong in research area and encourage research experience to percolate down.”
The Consultant of Siliguri based research project is Salesian College Siliguri Campus (SCSC) Vice-Principal Dr George Chempakathinal whose doctoral thesis research area was on disadvantaged children.
Dr Chempakathinal lists five areas of research focus saying, “first, research helps institution to become a social catalyst, secondly faculty empowerment builds up research temper; thirdly student involvement allows growth in social concern and responsibility; fourthly the selected research locality gets a development booster, and fifthly research finding will influence policy and policy makers both nationally and internationally.”
“The entire research effort is done in collaboration with respective local administrative bodies,” Dr Chempakathinal reminds.
Dr. D’Souza is a Salesian from Mumbai and holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Coventry, U.K.
He has worked several years at Shelter Don Bosco Wadala Mumbai and was the Founder, Director of the Don Bosco Research Centre and Connect all India – an initiative for Social and Financial Inclusion of poverty groups.
He has brought several innovations for the organizations of the marginalized he has worked with for last 3 decades.