While reflecting on the essential requisites for a good educational institution, the introduction to National Education Policy 2020, highlights the assurance that â€śevery student feels welcomed and cared forâ€¦(and)â€¦a wide range of learning experiences are offeredâ€ť (5). This leads naturally to the conclusion that â€śthe fundamental principles that will guide both the education system at large, as well as the individual institutions within it are," inter alia, "life skills such as communication (5) ." The policy document reminds us later that this focus has been a part of "a long tradition of holistic and multidisciplinary learning...(at) universities such as Takshashila and Nalandaâ€ť in India (36). The claim that communication is among the most indispensable soft skills, the document tells us, is borne out by the fact that it is mentioned among the 64 kalas or â€śartsâ€ť mentioned in â€śancient Indian literary works such as Banabhattaâ€™s Kadambari," histories of ancient Indian universities as well as in most conceptions of "liberal arts" in the West. In keeping with the significance accorded to communication skills in NEP 2020 for the role in facilitating a â€śholistic and multidisciplinary education (that) would aim to develop all capacities of human beings -intellectual, aesthetic, social, physical, emotional, and moral in an integrated mannerâ€¦(and) will help develop well-rounded individuals that possess critical 21st-century capacitiesâ€ť, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi, has established the Centre for Writing and Communication, SBSC (36).
Mr. Gaurav Kumar
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Dr. Nida Arshi
Assistant Professor, Department of History
The Centre for Writing and Communication (CWC), SBSC, established under the sagacious leadership of our honourable Principal, Prof. Arun Kumar Attree, is a one-of-a-kind space for DU. It intends to blaze a trail of best practices for HEIs by emerging as a one-stop hub for students who want to improve their English language proficiency, need guidance on independent research, creative writing or publication, or want to perform well during an interview, entrance exam, competition, or any such events that test a multitude of communication and interpersonal skills, thus. This is in accordance with the NEP 2020, which is firm about â€śdeveloping a research mindset in the countryâ€ť through all possible means (46). The Centre intends to provide the academic resources, pastoral care and mentoring for students, and a space for interdisciplinarity that constitute the foundation for any HEIâ€™s endeavour to grow as an institution that focuses on research and writing as much as teaching and student support. Eventually, we should be able to design structures and courses that will enable us to engage with students, employees, and faculty members enrolled/associated with our college as well as those from other institutions/organizations by offering online/offline resources/courses focused on specific disciplines, areas (thesis, brainstorming, creativity, citation, etc.), skills (communication/interpersonal/soft skills) or fields (marketing, scientific research and communication, etc.).
The Centre for Writing and Communication intends to develop communication, critical thinking, and research skills within the college community by working with a diverse section of students, teachers, and external experts and offering a multidisciplinary understanding of best practices in writing, communication, and research. The primary impetus for the establishment of the Centre was the aspiration to ensure parity among our students and give each of them an opportunity and a relaxed space to work on their communication and soft skills so that their creativity and critical thinking can flourish unhindered by lack of confidence or exposure to the English language. This should enable our students to meet any challenges of higher education, competitive exams, research, or the global job market. To this end, the Centre has resolved to offer English language support to students comparatively unfamiliar with English through Add-On courses focused on English Grammar and core competencies of Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking, guided conversation/practice circles, personalized tutoring sessions and regular workshops/events on academic/creative writing, research, and publication.
In order to actualize its vision and mission statements, the Centre has started its journey with a focus on the following objectives:
â€˘ Offering English language support to students comparatively unfamiliar with English through Add-on courses focused on English Grammar and core competencies of Listening, Writing, Reading, and Speaking, guided conversation/practice circles, language buddy programs (peer-mediated learning), individual consultations, and personalized curation of resources (books, webpages, movies, etc.) that will help them become better, confident communicators
â€˘ Helping students develop and practice the requisites of oral communication, critical thinking, and soft skills in order to prepare them for competitive exams, interviews, presentations, etc.
â€˘ Familiarizing students with fundamentals of academic writing and encouraging them to produce a body of writing/research suitable for publication, archiving, etc., through regular workshops and lectures by professionals/experts in various fields as well as faculty members from various departments
â€˘ Developing a mechanism to offer students the space to review and improve their communication pieces (e.g., assignments, papers, presentations, speeches, a piece of creative writing, etc.) during one-on-one tutoring sessions
At the outset, the Centre recorded more than 150 student registrations and conducted its Orientation/Inaugural Programme on 24th January 2023, wherein the Centre was inaugurated by our honourable Principal, who was kind enough to share his profound and motivational insights about communication and writing. The Coordinator of the Centre, Mr. Gaurav Kumar, introduced the students to the ethos, modalities, and methodologies of the activities proposed by the Centre. Thereafter, the Centre has been conducting weekly Grammar Classes, wherein students are introduced to aspects of English grammar through a student-centric pedagogy, and Conversation Circles, wherein students practice their communication and soft skills during conversations on popular topics of interest, under the leadership of a peer educator and a faculty member. The Centre plans to launch a series of workshops/talks on writing and research to supplement these activities soon. It remains firm in its commitment to the goal of ensuring that all students of the college get an opportunity to cultivate their minds and personalities so that they can confidently meet the challenges posed by a globalized economy with a multitude of career paths that demand skills such as intellectual flexibility, linguistic dexterity, and critical/interdisciplinary thinking/analysis/synthesis.