Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology (NCET), a self-financing engineering college, was started in the year 2001 under the aegis of Nagarjuna Education Society, Bangalore. Nagarjuna Education Society (NES) was established in 1995 under the able guidance of Sri J.V.Rangaraju, leading industrialist and philanthropist.
It is said, ‘the future of the country is dependent on the future of its villages.’ We all know that 70% of India lives in its villages. Hence, an explicit focus on rural development is required for the progress of the country. In order to achieve this, Sri Sathya Annapoorna Trust has designed a holistic program termed as Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP). This program has been designed to provide a platform where college students can apply their skills to uplift the villages.
The idea of designing an Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP) curriculum emerged from a discussion between the Principal of the Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology, Devanahalli, Bangalore (NCET) and the Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust (SSSAT), Chikkaballapur in 2017. When SSSAT explained the various rural-centric programs that the trust was engaged in, the principal expressed an interest in exposing the engineering students of NCET to rural problems with an aim to inculcate in them a desire to understand, analyze and address those problems by leveraging their education and skills. The SSSAT agreed to help formulate a 1-credit practical course on rural development.
The Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust has formulated multi-semester multi-credit courses on Integrated Rural Development wherein students of Nagarjuna college got enrolled in order to engage themselves in community service and to provide impact in all the sections of the society, especially targeting the villages for development.
Since the goal of this course was to give a practical exposure to university and college students, the lecture sessions in the course were supplemented with practical on-field studies and activities.
In 2017 Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust entered into a partnership with Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology (NCET) at Chikkaballapur to offer this course on INTEGRATED RURAL DEVELOPMENT, for about 600 students of the semesters 3 and 4.
The Engineering course carried a credit of 3 hours of theory and 25 hours of practical, in the form of visits to villages. The course was launched at the college premises, and began with a theory session for all the 600 students. Annapoorna volunteers who were familiar with Chikkaballapur villages took the students to the village, and acted as mentors, instructors and graders of students’ projects. These engineering students were exposed to the rural living conditions and understood the issues in the villages. They also undertook projects under the mentorship of Annapoorna team, wherein projects were taken up in areas such as Nutrition, Healthcare, Educare and Sanitation.
It was a great opportunity for the students to be exposed to the ground realities of the rural ecosystem, while also training them in problem-solving, communication, leadership and other soft skills at a practical level.
This has also helped Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust to acquire a large pool of young volunteer base who can assist in covering a large number of villages and their needs at considerable depth.