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Social Consciousness In Students Essential

As an educationist, I believe moulding personality traits in students hinged on heightened social consciousness, and offering value-based education will go a long way in nurturing a sustainable ecosystem for social entrepreneurship. However, B-Schools have for long focussed on the economic value creation process while teaching our students and making them ready for corporate life.

As an educationist, I believe moulding personality traits in students hinged on heightened social consciousness, and offering value-based education will go a long way in nurturing a sustainable ecosystem for social entrepreneurship.

However, B-Schools have for long focussed on the economic value creation process while teaching our students and making them ready for corporate life. Social consciousness has not been receiving the focus and B-School faculties have slowly begun to realise this. At the intellectual or academic level, the questions are many: whether this should be addressed through class room-based training or field training? Should it be superficial and symbolic or in-depth and intensive? In my view, our students should be given deep academic orientation and real life exposure to equip them to build enterprises of the future which will create enormous social and economic capital.

Without coming face-to-face with the problems of the marginalised, deprived and the disadvantaged, it is impossible to genuinely understand the life and challenges of the underprivileged. Only when our students experience such realities will they truly comprehend the meaning of social inclusion, social responsibility and social concern.

At this juncture, I would like to bring up the issue of social responsibility of students. Are students today concerned about what is happening around? Or are they indifferent, which is still worse. Can we cultivate in them a level of social consciousness so that they can at least be part of attempts to offer solutions and conversations in this regard? A serious brainstorming touching these questions made us at Rajagiri to intervene constructively in the perception-building process of our students, right from the beginning of their courses.

As part of the curriculum we have a Rural Sensitisation Camp. Students select a rural setting, go as a group and serve the local community. Our students find this academic event truly transformational. As a management representative I can state that this programme has helped us enforce discipline better than any of the traditional methods like fines. This is because the programme is such an eye-opening experience that students return with greater sense of appreciation and value for what they are blessed with in life and, as a result, develop a higher degree of responsibility and self-restraint.

We at Rajagiri believe that we have a perfect platform to create social entrepreneurs of the future. This is primarily because we have a social work education and business education programme running simultaneously. We are equipped to combine the best practices in both and create better social value. This realisation has resulted in Social Entrepreneurship Club of Rajagiri (SEC-R), our baby step towards creating an appropriate place for social entrepreneurship in the minds of students. We strongly believe that one of the pillars of teaching in B-Schools should be social entrepreneurship. When I say this, I do not mean like MBA Finance we need a new course for MBA Social Enterprise. That would be premature at this stage but not completely impossible in the future.

We Keralites have the capability, capacity and intellect but what we lack is an attitude: a positive attitude called gratitude. Our cynicism as a population has misplaced our consciousness. With the right academic interventions, we can ensure that our next generation is moulded with a sensitivity that demands social inclusion.

(The author is Executive Director, Rajagiri Business School)

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