Dr. Rajesh Tandon
Affiliation(s) of Keynote Speaker: President of Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) & Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education
Keynote Speech Abstract
Quality assurance in Higher Education has become a major challenge around the world, especially in those countries where rapid expansion of the higher education system has taken place. Most approaches to quality assurance focus on creating internal systems and mechanisms inside universities and institutions themselves. Important as this approach is, it is necessary, but not sufficient to ensure sustained quality improvements. Examples are emerging from around the world where meaningful societal engagement by universities improves quality of teaching and research. Such a societal engagement can be designed for all three missions of universities—teaching, research and service. Drawing on international experiences, and based on his considerable practice in India, Dr Tandon will speak about external societal engagement as an approach to quality improvement in higher education.
Keynote Speaker Short Biography
A Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University and an electronics engineer (IIT, Kanpur) with a graduation in management (IIM, Calcutta), Dr Rajesh Tandon is an internationally acclaimed leader and practitioner of participatory research and development. He founded the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a voluntary organisation providing support to grassroots initiatives in South Asia, and continues to be its Chief Functionary since 1982.
Participatory Research (PR), the forte of PRIA’s work, is a methodology that values experiential knowledge and practitioner’s wisdom in addition to the more formal knowledge available in academia and books. In order to bridge the divide between the world of practice and the world of research, Dr Tandon has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote engagement of institutions of higher education with civil society and local communities to foster knowledge generation and mutual learning. This work found further support when he was appointed in 2012 as UNESCO Co-Chair on Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education (www.unsecochair-cbrsr.org). The UNESCO Chair grows out of and supports UNESCO’s global lead to play ‘a key role in assisting countries to build knowledge societies’.
Dr Tandon has authored more than 100 articles, a dozen books and numerous training manuals on themes such as democratic governance, civic engagement, civil society, governance and management of NGOs, participatory research and people-centred development. He has authored/co-authored several books, including Global Governance, Civil Society and Participatory Democracy: A View from Below (forthcoming); Civil Society and Governance (2003), Reviving Democracy (2003), and Voluntary Action, Civil Society and the State (2002); and co-edited Higher Education and Community-Based Research: Creating a Global Vision (forthcoming), Globalising Citizens: New Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion (2010), Participatory Citizenship: Identity, Exclusion, Inclusion (2006) and Participatory Research: Revisiting the Roots (2002). Co-author of Global Governance, Civil Society and Participatory Democracy: A View from Below (2014), Strengthening Community University Research Partnerships: Global Perspectives (2015), Institutionalizing Community-University Research Partnerships: A User’s Manual (2015), Training the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers: A Guide for Trainers (2016), Training the Next Generation of Community Based Researchers, University of Victoria (2016).
Tandon serves as chairperson of the Global Alliance on Community-Engaged Research (GACER) network, which facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information worldwide to further community-based research. He presented the GACER policy brief, “Higher Education, Community Engagement and the World We Want,” at the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in Paris in July 2009, and is co-editor of the GUNI Report on “Engagement, Knowledge & Higher Education: Rethinking Social Responsibility” (2013) and GUNi 6th Report on Towards a Socially Responsible University: Balancing the Global with the Local (2017).
He has been inducted to the International Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) Hall of Fame (class of 2011). The award recognizes innovative leaders who believe passionately in the evolutionary power