Edited by Jean L. Pyle and Robert Forrant
Chapter 7: Striving Towards Sustainable Development in a Globalizing Economy: Universities and Civil Society Organizations in India
Jamuna Ramakrishna I. INTRODUCTION The title of this chapter uses the word ‘striving.’ The use is intentional. Is sustainable development possible in a globalizing economy? One could evade the question by saying that the answer would depend on how ‘sustainable development’ is deﬁned. But if it came to a point, most civil society organizations (CSOs) in India would express the gravest doubts about such a possibility. Nevertheless one development of the last decade that gives cause for hope is the emergence of a few tentative collaborations between universities and CSOs which attempt to address the impacts of economic liberalization and globalization. The initiatives are small, isolated and driven by individual commitment rather than by institutional policy. The motivations of CSOs and universities vary. Whereas CSOs tend to have short timeframes and value practical outcomes, universities tend to operate in longer time horizons, and interpret excellence quite diﬀerently. In spite of all these ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ these partnerships are worth looking at more closely since they hold the promise of improving the eﬀectiveness of CSOs working for sustainable development while rejuvenating universities – both small but necessary steps towards the ideal of sustainable development. This chapter begins by describing the broader context of higher education and of CSOs in India, so that the environment within which these partnerships must survive can be understood. The emerging, tentative collaborations seem to fall into four basic types of relationships, namely ‘mutual collaboration,’ ‘seeking speciﬁc support,’ ‘providing capacity building...
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