India is the country of villages. More than seventy five per cent population lives in the villages. The rich culture of the country is maintained only in the rural India due to which people of the world have accepted and welcomed the Indian culture. Ruralites of the country have maintained the culture and have created a way to the people for their happy and peaceful life. Rural families give support, love, affection self belongingness and we feelings to their members. They also give social security and satisfaction to their members. The family institution satisfies their basic and socio-psychological, educational, professional, occupational needs. The personal, familial, social and occupational problems of the members are also resolved in the process. In short, the responsibilities of the family members are accepted and the social duty is performed by them sincerely, honestly with love and affection. However, industrialization, urbanization, westernization, technological development and globalization are bringing changes in the rural society in India today.
Gram Panchayats administer the respective villages in a conventional style. It provides civic facilities and amenities to the villagers. It is also a source of maintaining the records of the properties of the villagers i.e. House, Land, Agriculture land etc. It also provides social security, peace and democratic service in terms of govt. schemes and projects. Gram panchayat is known as a self-govt. and this self-govt. provides services to the people such as peace, security, cine services, and settlement of disputes, conflicts, justice, and welfare service. This self-Govt. is known as a base of the villagers. Higher caste and rich class people use to dominate over the administration of panchayat for several years. But social laws have been amended today due to which the lower caste and class people are able to get an opportunity to work with them in top position. Thus, the down-trodden people are ruling today in the villages. The women too are getting elected the bodies. However, the real change in terms of values has not taken place because these elected members and the authorities are not able to play their roles fully. The sociologists and the social workers have failed to study this aspect to introduce modernization in administration.
The state government has devised and designed different schemes and projects and provides funds, technology, know how, to enable the village authorities to work for developing the villages. The central and state governments have also devised the scheme for ideal village for motivating the people and organizations for competing to win the prizes and also to inculcate the democratic values. "Non-dispute village" is also one of the ideal schemes designed by the government. Free housings are allotted to the poor people living in below poverty line. Reservation policy for men and women is also one of the progressive practices developed by the government. This policy and practice is developed to create the socialist society. In short, the role of the government is definitely appreciable. However, the question arises here that whether its implementation, execution, functions, fulfillment of objectives, expected progress and development has taken place or not.
Besides the gram panchayats, Taluka Panchayats, Zilla Parishad systems have also been developed for the purpose of the rural development. Men and women from rural area are getting elected from the villages to represent on the bodies of the Taluka panchayats and Zilla Parishads. Normally, these elected members may be educated or uneducated and inexperienced. They are not well-versed with their roles and functions, laws, rules and regulations, office methods and procedures and objectives of the schemes and projects. The government or the educational institutions have not developed any education and training to the elected persons from social work perspectives or sociological perspectives. There may be a general training system in the –line. Resultantly, they are seen functioning as per their own understanding and general knowledge due to which the expected rural development has not taken place.
Today, the drastic change has taken place in the gram Panchayat functions especially "GramSabha". In this Gramsabha the democratic philosophy, participation of the people, solution of the rural problems, law and order, implementation, shortcomings, measures, policy framing, justice, participation in decision making process, etc., are expected to be fulfilled effectively. However, illiteracy, ignorance, lack of information and knowledge, laws, etc., are observed in the rural parts. Hence, the legal, technical and social hindrances are seen in the expected development. For enabling the ruralites to play their social roles in the process of social development, their preparation is expected but for their effective presentation, the social work and sociological training is need. Unfortunately, such system is not developed. Existing NGOs are also unable to function. The said field is neglected in terms of training and development.
In gram panchayat system various positions have been created such as Village Accountant, Gramsevak, police patil, and they are expected to function professionally. Their roles are social development orientated. Hence, social, philosophical, legal, practical, welfare orientation is expected. For that, their personalities are to be developed from sociological and social work perspectives but the expected system has not been developed due to which there are lot of problems in playing the roles and carrying out the functions in social work perspective.
Indian social problems are seen ruining the life of the poor villagers. Slowly and steadily the seriousness is increasing in the rural society but the solution process has not been introduced and developed till today. Some problems are solved in the social system. However, the general social problems have influenced over the rural people negatively. For Example: Illiteracy, ignorance, superstition, untouchability, unemployment, poverty, crime, corruption, communal riots, Gundaism, indebtedness, bad habits, dowry,- family disputes, old-age / elderly persons problems, wife beating, in-laws torture, good-bad occasions, conflict, Hindu Muslim conflict etc. It is expected that these problems are to be resolved locally as also regionally but no attempts have been made by any one. Hence, the development of the real rural life has not taken place.
Certain rural problems i.e. Family conflicts, Quarrellings, Husband-wife disputes, In-laws disputes, property, material problems, etc., were / are resolved at individual level or at conventional institutional level with the help of the traditional methods, i.e. social pressure, social boycott, social threatening, making social loss, etc. But the system for resolving these problems from regional perspectives scientifically has not been developed. These age-old techniques are out dated today. New techniques have to be accepted for the purpose. It is a need of the rural community in this changing society. Hence, there is no alternative to social work profession.
Today, youth organizations, women's organizations, co-operative societies, primary health centers and such other organizations are seen functioning in almost all the villages but these organizations are not seen functioning according to their objectives. Because there is no system in existence for imparting them education and training. In fact, social work training is required to be imparted to make them professional. Attention of the professionals or any other persons has not been focused towards them. For rural development, different government, non-government, semi-government organizations are available but for utilizing them the professional knowledge is required. In short, no govt. mechanism is in a position to focus its attention towards the rural life.
University system has devised and designed the social work education and training for rural development. The trained professional social workers are expected to design need based developmental projects, professional NGOs professional service, fieldwork training, use of social work techniques, methods, institutional services, resolving the problems of the people efficiently and effectively, setting up the sanskar kendras creating awareness, developing the rural healthy community, enhancing the knowledge, school social work, for deeply rooting the social work profession in the soil. It is also expected that for practicing social work in the rural society, the social work techniques should be used to resolve the problems of the people at individual, group, community, and the institutional level. Social work professionals should function as a "change agents" in the society and try to bring integration, unity and solidarity in the community. Unfortunately, schools of social work have not developed the theoretical and practical syllabi of social work for the same. Rural India is deprived of getting all these expected social services. At the same time the social work profession has remained backward. It has been pushed back in terms of employment and self employment. Due to that the parallel profession like Business Administration has entered in the field of social work and that has become a challenge to the profession. It will definitely become a serious challenge and 'headache' to the profession in near future in this competitive world and there will be a problem of the existence of social work.
To make this course sound theoretically and practically the following theoretical base is definitely be prepared and developed.
1) Rural Sociology 2) Rural Economics 3) Rural Politics 4) Rural psychology 5) Rural Social Organizations 6) Rural Administration 7) Rural Schemes and Project 8) Rural Social Problems 9) Rural Unity and Social Harmony 10) Rural Development 11) Social Reformation 12) Rural Social Policy and practice 13) Rural Technology 14) Rural Social Health 15) Rural Education 16) Rural Social Services 17) Rural Social work 18) Gandhian Philosophy of Rural Development 19) Rural development perspective against globalization
Professional Rural Social Work Practice
Students of these specializations are expected to design the indigenous field development projects and set up their independent professional NGOs and practice social work to resolve the problems of the people. This is the dire need of the society and professional responsibility of the social workers. However, the trained professionals have not been taught and trained for the purpose. Their theoretical and practical training at present is very ordinary and technical and not professional. Resultantly, the social work practice has remained ordinary and backward. The trained social workers are seen accepting some kind of jobs in some or the other type of organizations.
A majority of the trained social workers are seen working in the agency setting and not in the community setting. It is observed and experienced that the Govt. or private handsome salaried jobs are not available in this field because the university system and schools of social work have failed to highlight the skills, techniques, methods, field knowledge, administrative capacities and capabilities of the trained social workers to the govt. as well as private, co-operative and such organizations for creating and developing the positions. Social work profession is very vast and acceptable to different fields & organizations but the schools of social work and the social work educators have fallen short in achieving the professional target. The trained social workers are perfectly suitable in the jobs. In other words, right men for right places in the govt. private and co-operative sectors. For example: 1) Rural Administrator, Rural Development officer, Community Organizer, Rural social consultant, Professional Counsellor, Rural Social worker, Rural health development officer, Rural social and professional Trainers, Rural Field practitioners and for such other jobs. However, the university system or schools of social work have failed to create such professional jobs and job descriptions, roles and social work functions, subjects, aspects, to be dealt with, and the probable results and efforts have also not taken to develop the professional employment and fields. Resultantly, the trained social workers are seen accepting any kind of jobs in any fields for their survival. This is how the social work profession is under-estimated and underutilized. Neither professionals nor the University authorities have taken care to correct the same.
In fact, rural area is very vast and there is a tremendous scope for self-employment and social work practice but unfortunately, the universities and the schools of social work have failed to impart training to set up the professional NGOs and also to design the developmental field projects. Govt. of India has also designed number of different field project and schemes but such training is also not imparted to the students. Hence, the students are not trained for field practices and also for creating their own world of social work. This itself indicates that the present training system in social work education especially in rural areas is hotch potch and not the professional. The said field is known as a profession but these professionals are, seen undergoing training under the non-trained professionals. The trained professional themselves are responsible for their own professional suicide and murder. The professionals have also not bothered to identify the needs of the community and the nation for helping them resolve their different and various problems for paving their paths of progress; instead they put the profession under- utilized.
This rural development specialized trained manpower can design independent field projects and set up their careers in the line and contribute in the field and dominate over the field of social services of the counter parts. For example, 1) Family welfare services 2) Social Organizations 3) Community Development 4) Social work Training 5) Social problems 6) Rural problems and technology 7) School social work 8) Health social work 9) Crime prevention. Thus, hundreds of projects can be designed and practice social work. The trained social workers can design projects on each and every social problem and render preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. In one village a number of NGOs can work without any duplication of services. Social work professionals have to plan about the utilization of the expertized services.
Suggestive Clues For Professional And Rural Development
In seventy five years of social work education in India the professional rural social work has not imprinted its image and utilized its professional speciality for solution of the problems for rural development. Now, the parallel professions have entered the field and they have created challenges before the social work profession. The said challenge has threatened the profession and has become difficult for survival. This is high time to stop the under-utilization and hotch potch training and mediocre social work practice.
To revise and develop the course of rural social work, the following suggestions may be useful, fruitful, practicable and beneficial.
Dr. Iqbal Suleman Subhedar
Suleman Subhedar Institute, Nipani – 591237, Karnataka
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