Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) along with Pradan, an NGO working towards development in the rural sector, has launched a new MPhil programme in development practice to begin from the academic session of 2012-13. The two-year (four semester) programme has a total intake of 25 students. The course is intended for those who are interested in community service and grassroots development.
According to Dr Anup Dhar, faculty, school of human studies and in-charge of the development practice programme, the university already has development studies as a full-fledged course, which basically involves research; but there was a need to have a professional course as well, which will go beyond research and actually focus on practice. The programme is a blend of classroom and field study.
"We are setting up a development centre at the university, which will become a training hub for students. As part of the course curriculum, students will study development, psychological processes and group learning from both management and psychological perspectives," says Dhar.
Further, elaborating on the module of the course, he says, while the first semester is exclusively on theory, students will have a 10-week village stay and study, twice, during the second and third semesters. This is when they will study and work along with the village people on their problems. The fourth semester is the action-research phase, exclusively in the villages, as students will be initiating change projects, thereby, creating self-help groups and other such strategies.
"The project in the last semester is meant for students to usher in a small change in the village and people's life there. They will be required to initiate a feasible action-research project and document the entire process to bring about some degree of change. This project will serve as their dissertation for the programme," informs Dhar.
To facilitate students during their stay in the villages and project work, a fellowship of Rs 15,000 will be given to them throughout the programme. Eligible students require a Masters with 55% aggregate marks in the social sciences, humanities and natural sciences or professional degrees like law, engineering, agriculture and medicine.
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