A Study of the Non-profit Sector in India – A Certificate Programme

The NGO certificate programme titled ‘A Study of the Non-profit Sector in India’ commenced on 28th February 2020 with 21 students consisting of UG, PG and Ph.D. students as well as some administrative staff from CVV. The resource person and subject expert for the course was Dr. Meenaz Kassam, who has served as both Graduate Faculty, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto and Associate Professor, American University of Sharjah. Post her retirement she takes specially designed modules related to the non-profit sector worldwide, at the University of Toronto.

In the first two long weekends, Dr. Kassam guided the class on two books titled, ‘Grassroots NGO’ and ‘From Sewa to Cyber Space’ in intense classroom sessions with PPT and weekly tests. Thereafter due to the COVID19 situation, everyone dispersed in different directions to be home and safe.

After a week’s hiatus, on Friday 20th March 2020 the class reconvened online on Zoom, to study the third book, ‘Philanthropy in India – Promise to Practice’. Given the fact that the 21 students, the resource person and the coordinator are currently located across four states and one in Dubai, it was tough but interesting to gather together for three days to continue the course. The students answered a test based on the two books and over the two days, five teams of students put across their portions of the book earmarked by Dr. Kassam, using a PPT.  Dr. Kassam then wrapped up the session with a summary.

The group met again online on 27th March for a test based on the third text. Both tests were online and time-bound. It was interesting to conduct an online test. The theory portion of the course concluded with guidance from Dr. Kassam on how one should approach an NGO for a detailed study. Once the lockdown is lifted, the students have to submit an analytical report team wise based on field experience.

All the instructions and PPT connected to the sessions have been made available online, for ready reference when they start the practical exercise.

The sequence of the long weekends would typically be like this –

  • An hour-long test based on the previous week’s portion
  • Introductory and critical inputs by Dr. Kassam on the current text
  • Segregating portions for team study
  • Team presentation
  • Summarising and wrapping up of the text by Dr. Kassam 
  • PPTs put in order and sent to dr. Kassam for corrections 
  • Handing over of corrected PPT to the class
  • Test based on the consolidated PPT and the study

The team managed to continue the course online seamlessly, at par with the face-to-face sessions. A noteworthy point is that student attendance was high and so was the interaction. Everyone enthusiastically answered the tests and prepared for their respective portions for the PPT classes. Dr. Kassam was an inspiring teacher. The challenges of online classes were overcome with continuous, patient and quick IT support from Kiran.

Overall, it was an enriching experience and the merit of sustaining the programme goes to all!