I : PLANET (Programme of Loyola Academy for Neighbourhood Empowerment and Transformation)
Title of the Practice:
PLANET (Programme of Loyola Academy for Neighbourhood Empowerment and Transformation)
In 2011, Loyola Academy launched the PLANET Programme with the aim of consolidating all its social extension and outreach programmes and activities, and to foster social consciousness and social commitment in students by integrating PLANET into the Curriculum. PLANET was also conceived with the objective of supporting the local community. PLANET was conceptualized as a link between the society and young minds. It was to help stimulate individual initiative, self-determination, and leadership in students, while benefitting the society.
Objectives of the Practice:
After its inception in the year 2011, the PLANET programme formalized and consolidated all the social extension and outreach programmes and activities of the College as part of the Curriculum. The programme has the following objectives:
- To implement the mission of the college and the Society of Jesus, “to form men and women for and with others.”
- To inculcate and to infuse in students social responsibility and a compassionate commitment and conscience for the society and the neighbourhood.
- To benefit society by rendering various services.
- To work with NGOs and Government Organizations for societal development and on various other socially relevant themes.
- To empower the rural masses and thereby establish close linkages between the Urban center and the rural community.
Evidence of Success:
- Participation in the PLANET Programme has been made mandatory for all the first year students of the college, through its integration into the Course Curriculum. PLANET has been given a mandatory One (1) Credit under the Choice-Based Credit System.
- In order to avail the mandatory One (1) Credit, first year students must compulsorily participate in social extension and outreach programmes of the college. Any student, who does not participate in the programme in the first year of the course, must participate in the programme during the subsequent year for availing the mandatory One (1) Credit.
- The PLANET Programme has a dedicated cell of its own with a Programme Coordinator who looks into the mandatory participation of all first year students.
- As part of the PLANET Programme, the first year students of a specific department and the PLANET Programme Coordinator, on pre-planned dates (mentioned in the academic calendar), plan, execute and organize various social extension and outreach programmes. The duration of such programmes and activities may span from a day to a few weeks.
- The various social extension activities and programmes under PLANET include: (a) village adoption, (b) providing assistance to Government Schools, orphanages, juvenile homes, prisons, retirement homes, destitute homes, disabled homes, (c) promoting environmental consciousness through various awareness campaigns, (d) conducting
drives intended at raising awareness about cleanliness & hygiene, blood donation, helping the poor, and many other noble causes.
Problems Encountered and Resources Required:
- The programme has had a 100% participation rate among first-year students for all the academic years since its inception. This is partly due the PLANET programme’s integration into the curriculum.
- Feedback from students and the beneficiaries of the programme has been overwhelmingly positive. The PLANET Programme has inspired various students in the college to take part in social outreach and charitable activities on their own.
- After the inception of the programme, the college has organized more number of social extension and outreach activities. The college has also adopted a few villages like Konaipally, Masireddypalli and Kanukunta as part of the programme.
- Apart from departmental visits for service and assistance, under the PLANET Programme, to Government Schools, orphanages, juvenile homes, prisons, retirement homes, destitute homes, and disabled homes, a total of 10 initiatives were taken to engage with and contribute to the local community in the year 2013-14. Similarly, 7 initiatives in 2014-15, 12 in 2015-16, 13 in 2016-17, 8 in 2017-18 and 12 in 2018-19 were taken and successfully implemented.
Mobilizing all first-year students to participate in social extension and outreach programmes has always been a challenge. However, once convinced, students themselves act as catalysts to the success of such programmes. All resources that were required for the initiation of such activities and programmes are available in the college therefore, their smooth conduct could be ensured.