The British Council, the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) and the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), are holding Education Dialogue on Consultations on Community Engagement and Social Responsibility in Higher Education Institutions in the North East at IIT Guwahati, Assam on 17 and 18 September 2014.

As public institutions, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) world-wide are being challenged to demonstrate their societal relevance through their core functions of teaching and research. With rapid growth in enrolments in post-secondary education, the issues related to social relevance of curriculum, inclusion of indigenous knowledge, access to hitherto excluded students and direct contribution to problems in their communities have gained ascendancy in India.

In the face of growing isolation of HEIs from society, there is a need for renewed effort for HEIs for genuinely engaging with community, conduct socially relevant research and education and foster social responsibility amongst students as part of their core mission. For this purpose, a National Initiative to Foster Social Responsibility in Higher Education would be launched. An Alliance for Community Engagement, an independent association of practitioners, academics and community leaders would be created to support its implementation.

In light of the above, it is imperative that:

  • Mapping and research of current practices in community engagement and social responsibility is undertaken

  • Dialogues across civil society, academia and policy-makers in different provinces and regions are conducted in order to build shared understanding of and common actions for realizing the above initiative.

  • Therefore, as part of the Education dialogue series, British Council and UNESCO Chair partnered to take the above agenda forward in the North East during June-September’ 2014.


  • To assess the current levels and quality of community engagement by HEIs in the state.

  • To analyze best practices and meanings of social responsibility as practiced in the state.

  • To identify strategies to scale up community engagement in the state in light of the new policy.