Director, Colleagues and Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It gives me very great pleasure to send this message of congratulations to the SRC team to mark the launching of the Certificate in Community Development by distance learning. I am most disappointed that I cannot be with you in person but hope you will accept this humble video message in my stead.
I first met the team, led by Dr Sureshkumar and Mr Swaraj in 2010 when I visited Trivandrum to discuss how COL could support their objective of supporting skills training for Preraks. Their vision was that IT-enabled Community Education Centres could lead to rapid community development and improve the welfare of the people. The CECs would become a service hub for all government and non-government initiatives. They aimed to create a programme for mainstreaming of the marginalized. The idea was to create a group of ‘smart’ Preraks who could oversee the implementation of all initiatives at the local level.
Commonwealth of Learning is an intergovernmental agency working to support governments and institutions to increase access to education and learning through the use of appropriate technologies. We focus on ‘learning for development’. All of the aspirations for the CCD fall very much into the core mandate and values of COL. So we were happy to support the SRC Team with technical assistance and capacity building, plus support for materials development for the Certificate in Community Development.
Launching a distance learning programme is always a challenge. We work with course teams throughout the Commonwealth and we know there are many hurdles along the way. But the SRC team – Coordinated by Swaraj – has stuck with the high points and low points and has now created the printed modules for the new programme ready for launch. I know they still have great aspirations to create more materials in additional media and we will look at how we might support that too.
When I first visited Trivandrum, I met the Principal Secretary for Education in the Government of Kerala who was the SRC Board Chair. It is gratifying to see that this programme has enjoyed strong support from his office and we trust this support will continue. I know the target audience for the CCD has been expanded to include groups such as Anganwadi workers, Accredited Social Health Activists, NGO workers and Tribal Promoters. We believe the CCD will have a positive impact on the development indicators of your State.
I am very proud of the CCD Course Team and congratulate them on their great achievement. We look forward to receiving reports of the progress of the Preraks and other learners. I believe it will contribute to community development in Kerala and we are proud to be partners of the State Resource Centre in this endeavor.