Wed, Sep 18, 2019

It would be difficult to find someone who in their childhood never wrote an essay on science, technology and society. As any other child I nurtured the dream of making inventions that would put an end to poverty, ensure education for all, develop scientific strategies to deal with natural calamities and destruction, provide means for the physically handicapped (the term ‘differently abled’ was not in vogue at that time) to cope with their disability, and several such issues. We seek reprieve in justifying that service to the society is rendered implicitly by imparting education to the students (who can make it to the university) and through whatever research and development work that we are associated with. Needless to say that the connection in most cases is not only remote but construed to satisfy our conscience. Thus the need to establish an organic link between community service and activities of the institutionalised academia has long been felt. Responding to this state of affairs, Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Shibpur created a School of Community Science and Technology (SOCSAT), in an attempt to render community service at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries through direct inputs from faculty members of the university. The school started functioning in January 2004 with an objective to foster sustainable development of different marginalized communities by empowering stakeholders with inputs from institutionalized science & technology community.

The school was set up with an objective to integrate the efforts of some of the faculty members of the university to foster sustainable developments through continuous endeavours of community service with inputs from institutionalized S&T community. Besides organizing several seminars, workshops and hand-on training programmes on advanced pottery, metal art, batik, jute diversification, advance food processing & preservation technology, the school has also organized short term courses on computer hardware training for the rural youths and undertaken a major initiative in installation of community filters for arsenic removal from drinking water. The programmes were geared towards empowering different marginalized sections of the society by imparting awareness and training with special focus to address gender equity and ecological problems.

Community development seeks to empower individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to effect change in their own communities. The school was working for last more than 3 years for facilitating the development and growth of the unorganized sector in our state as well as country. The role of the school is not going to be limited to exporting technologies and conducting surveys with different communities. The school is working with the community at the grass-root level with people’s participation, as marginalised people can involve at the process of their development. The living conditions of the villagers are appalling; not only are the people deprived of food, but water, sanitation, and electricity as well.