IQAC

BEST PRACTICES

Service Learning

Title of the Practice: Service Learning

The mission statement of Sacred Heart College emphasises four core values – holistic development, nation building, progress of humanity, and the dissemination of knowledge. With these objectives the college has designed a platform – for learning through civic engagement – called Service Learning Programme.  The Programme is conceived as a sensitising project wherein all undergraduates are to do a minimum of 40 hours of mandatory social service.

Objectives of the Practice

  1. To encourage physical and mental well-being and to take joy in effort.
  2. To enable them to relate the knowledge gained to the real life situations
  3. To build sensitivity towards fellow beings and the environment
  4. To assist the local community
  5. To encourage cleanliness and the preservation of the natural environment.
Scheme

Category

Duration

Weightage

Credits

UG Students

40 – 500 hours

1.5 weight for Manual work / Hour

1 Extra Credit


The Context

The rapid urbanisation and the rising trend of consumerism are steadily turning the state into a feedlot where the young people grow up with little awareness of the human effort behind the items they consume, especially the agricultural products. Similarly, the race for success and self-aggrandisement are turning the youth apathetic towards the disadvantaged communities. As an institution founded on the Christian values of love and service, the college considers as its mission to instil in the students a caring attitude not only to fellow human beings, especially those underprivileged, but also to all life forms around them. This includes the caring of the environment and sustainable practises in agriculture.

The multi-pronged-programme launched by the college is an exercise in experiential learning. Is has taken Sustainable practises, Sensitisation activities, Awareness programmes and Swatch mission as its core areas service.


The Practice

Sensitisation Drive

The student groups visit old-age homes; destitute/isolation wards and child cancer wards of hospitals periodically. Another initiative is “u3a” to train the elderly in computer, internet, smart phones, paper bag making etc.

Awareness Campaigns

Our volunteers organise cancer awareness classes with the support of medical practitioners. Periodical health check-up for the detection of cancer and lifestyle diseases, eye diseases etc., are held. 

Swatch Bharat

Weekly cleaning drives of public places, including the removal of litter and plastic waste, beautifying vacant lots and creating awareness among the public about cleanliness is an important activity.

Environment Conservation

Used pens are collected (around 5 kg/month!), recycle them and put them on sale through the Honesty Shop*.  Moreover, paper pens and handicraft items are made from waste paper and sold in the college.

Organic Farming

To initiate the youth into farming and to teach the local community sustainable agricultural practices, the college purchased 2 hectares of fallow land in a nearby village, and has been doing organic farming with the involvement of student volunteers.


Evidences of success

  • The sensitisation programmes have been hugely successful as the participants are able to empathise with the aged and the suffering.
  • The age-friendly programmes have provided the aged with a sense of independence and empowerment and even find post-retirement employment. It has shown to improve their mental health of both the students and the aged. The programme has won many accolades.
  • The swatch project is now being supported by the civic authorities. It has also helped the cultivation of the value of cleanliness.
  • The organic farming project has evoked the interest of the local community and the fallow land is now returning into farmland with guidance of the Service Learning team.


Problems Encountered & Resources Required

The students as well as the public were sceptical initially. However as the programme progressed enrolment increased and more public support came in terms of human resource and sponsorships. Fitting the programme into the schedule of the semester system was the first challenge.  The logistics involved is another. Moreover, raising additional human and material resources remains a challenge.