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Universities are not businesses, but are important for corporate productivity since their graduates occupy corporate sector decision making and leadership positions. The development of their skills, later attitudes and work practices are closely dependent on social-accountability attitudes held by them and their teachers during their formative university years. Since the working graduate is involved in delivering corporate responsibility of an organization, a greater importance becomes attached to their formative years. Due to this importance, a questionnaire-survey was conducted to ascertain the perceptions with regard to social responsibility held by higher education stakeholders within the university system, targeting university student leaders (StL; n=22) and academics (n=121; 23 senior lecturers: SL, 70 probationary lecturers: PL, 28 contract lecturers/tutors/demonstrators: CL) from 8 universities. The perception of respondents (over 64% in staff and 59% in StL) was that the social responsibility contribution by lecturers was insufficient. With regard to personal contributions to social responsibility, numbers who felt satisfied declined progressively with age (with 50%, 36%, 14% and 9%) of StL, CL, PL and SL, respectively. Since over 89% of all respondents declared their desire to increase their social accountability contribution to the university, universities have an unparalleled opportunity to harness their human resources to deliver an enhanced social responsibility. The presentation will discuss how this obligation could be carried out by a change in teaching and learning culture in the university mediated through staff and student skill-development programmes where the concept of a ‘quality’ graduate’, as identified by respondents, could be produced.

Keywords: Learning, Skill Development, Social Responsibility, Teaching


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Author Biography

Y.M.S.K. Weerakoon

Senior Lecturer, Staff Development Centre, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka