CERSSE has become a well known destination for research in social sciences and education with its unique approach and vibrant team
Data being analyzed on computers using the latest software, discussions going on theories and their political application, surveys, conferences, seminars being planned, the Centre for Research in Social Sciences and Education (CERSSE) of Jain University is a busy place. Research scholars, academicians and experts in various branches of social sciences and education can be found having debates, discussions, and in some cases working quietly on their projects, exploring their chosen areas of study.This burgeoning research centre was established in 2002, seven years before the Deemed to be University status was bestowed on Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain College.
A Hub of Knowledge
Social Sciences and Education have a significant impact on the well being of the society. They are the indicators of society’s economic, political and culturual health. Research in these domains culminates further weightage when we consider their place in policy making.
The establishment of the research centre is an interesting story in itself. Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Director of CERSSE and Pro- Vice Chancellor of Jain University had worked in Bangalore University for two decades. He was teaching and pursuing research at BU. “I took voluntary retirement and joined here. I was handling some of the research projects at that time and located them at International Teacher’s Training Academy (iACT).” It became the starting point for what would later develop into CERSSE.
While iACT focused on research and training in education during its early stage, gradually the scope increased with new research projects and scholars from varying backgrounds becoming a part of it. “When we started off in 2002, we had two objectives in mind, to train teachers at all levels both within and outside the institution and to conduct research in social sciences and related areas,” explained Dr. Shastri. iACT became the south centre for Lokniti, a Delhi based organization. It is a group of scholars from across India, one from every state who does election studies and also an academic programme located at the Center of the Study of Development Society (CSDS).
One of the very first projects that the Centre did was the WVS. Next big project that followed was the India Study which was a part of the Global Integrity Project where countries were mapped in terms of their integrity quotient. The project continued for two years and combined the characteristics of both perception and evidence based studies. Ranking of India in the project was based on the study conducted by the Centre. During its early years, the Centre had started taking a collaborative approach to research and was consorting with professors from various international universities on several projects. Mission 10X was one project that witnessed the Centre becoming involved with the industry and take steps towards establishing an industry-academia partnership. Wipro felt that the engineers were not work ready after completing their studies. The question was how could the gap that remained after the engineers were trained could be fulfilled. The company consulted Dr. Shastri and his team. The team devised a solution for ensured training of students batch after batch for becoming industry trained. “We devised a programme in collaboration with Wipro under which teachers were trained. The focus was on teaching methodologies and industry requirements for engineers. It was a five day plus two day plus one day module,” informed Dr. Shastri. Later the programme was scaled up and by 2010, about 25000 teachers were trained under it. The programme and workshops for teachers was based on the premises that the move from teaching to learning was not so much about products and processes but about attitudes. Apart from these projects, the centre also continued to provide training programmes for the faculty members of the institutions under umbrella of the Jain Group of Institutions.
CERSSE, as it is known today, came into being in 2009 and later the research and projects going on at the University was bifurcated under two heads. “In 2012, the University decided to have an academic staff college. Therefore, CERSSE remained focused exclusively on research and consultancy activities in social sciences and education while the Academic Staff College focused on conducting training and workshops for the faculty members of Jain University and beyond,” explained Dr. Shastri. And ever since CERSSE is moving forward with a clearly defined vision to undertake relevant research, consultancy and extension activities in the field of social sciences and education.