University Practice Connect is a collaboration between academics and development practitioners, which brings the two together to co-create this mutually benefitting space for learnings and experiences; for strategy-formulation and problem-solving.
The need for this platform was felt by our own faculty and students who are regularly on field visits to study, experience and learn. Development issues of a vast and diverse county such as ours are complex with challenges arising out of our assorted social, religious, economic, cultural and geographical factors. If the scale is vast, the complexities run deep. But this is not to present a despairing picture because even as grassroots development organizations engage with the community they want to serve, the academicians study and understand the peculiarities and complexities of specific contexts – and both are bound together by their common interest and focus of work.
Development practitioners both from the government and the non-governmental organizations through their interactions and observations, gain insights and knowledge that can be of immense value to others. However, practitioners themselves are largely constrained by the nature and demands of their work; and the scarcity of time and resources to document these learnings. In cases where they do, this documentation is not easily accessible to others. On the other end of the spectrum are the academics and researchers of development who focus on understanding social problems and documenting their assessment of development interventions, who may often miss the real challenges encountered in the field.
University Practice Connect then is a mutual learning space on development issues that presents learnings, experiences that provide academic insights as well as first-hand experiences on the field. The focus is to reduce the gap between the evolving theory of practice and the work that organizations are relentlessly involved with to make a difference on the ground.
University Practice Connect also furthers the organization’s stated vision to contribute to the realisation of a just, equitable, and humane society. What you will find on this website are the collaborative efforts of the two parties that have come together. This is presented here as:
Lessons from Practice: What is happening in the field? Which organizations or individuals are working towards what ends? What have been their successes and challenges? A comprehensive insight from the practice of specific organisations is presented here. In this section, the collaboration between academics and practitioners has been most fruitful as academics have ventured in the field and put into words their own lived experiences with those of the practitioners who have shared their efforts and learnings openly and with complete trust in this collaboration.
Insights from Social Contexts: What happens when a state achieves ‘full’ literacy? Does education promote development or vice versa? Focussing on specific social settings experts present their views. Practitioners will be able to relate to these social contexts in their own field and as we proceed, we see them contributing to this to make this section richer with their experiences.
Notes on Strategy: Why do we need to strengthen government schools? Why is it important for a practitioner venturing into the field to understand the local political economy of the place? Academics involved in theory and research develop insights, formulate strategies and best practices for various social, cultural and political situations. These are collated here so practitioners while they focus on their field work, know that they are also in sync with the macro-level objectives for sustainable development.
Personal Reflections on Practice: This is a human-interest section where anyone who has been on the field is welcome to share their personal experiences.