Alarmed by the increasing lack of civic sense in this garden city-turned-IT hub, Bangalore University plans to educate thousands of undergraduate students to be responsible citizens through a customised course at the undergraduate level.
"The course topics are practical and relevant and focus on manifestations and consequences of citizens' civic behavior and the role of citizens," Priya Krishnamurthy, executive trustee of the NGO Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA) that is helping the university, told IANS.
"Beginning with civic sense around behaviour like littering, spitting, defacing public monuments, dumping of household waste, wasting natural resources etc, the curriculum moves on to a more expanded understanding of civic sense which is active citizenship, with real-life stories and case studies of citizens actively engaging with the governance processes to bring about positive change," she said.
She added that the course would be introduced as a compulsory subject in all undergraduate courses in colleges under Bangalore University and would also include an examination and a compulsory project.
The examination will be only to test the knowledge the students have gained from the course and a pass in this subject will not be made a must to get one's graduation, a Bangalore varsity spokesperson said.
The university's academic council will meet later this month to consider the course material. If the material and other details like making attendance compulsory are approved, the course may be introduced in all the 654 colleges affiliated to the varsity from the academic session beginning later this year, the spokesperson said.
The idea to start a course in civic sense stemmed from the university's concern over the increasing unhygienic conditions in the city. As a precursor, it had in September organised a month-long civic sense campaign in all its colleges.
A massive and sustained drive to instil civic sense has become all the more urgent as this once paradise for retirees has become one of the fastest growing cities in Asia.
The city is home to Indian IT majors like Infosys and Wipro and BT firms such as Biocon. Several multinational firms like Honeywell, Oracle, Accenture and IBM have also set up huge offices attracted by the availability of a talented workforce, apart from the city's famed air-conditioned weather almost through the year.
The city's population now stands at around 8.5 million as it has become one of the hottest destinations for jobs for youth across India.
The rapid growth of the city since it turned into a tech-hub in the 1990s has left its infrastructure - roads to waste management - in shambles. For instance, the city generates 3,500 tonnes of garbage a day and has nearly one vehicle for every two persons.
Public toilets have become a rarity at most busy places and people relieve themselves at street corners making walking along these roads a stinking affair.
"In our mad rush to accomplish personal goals and material gains, somehow most Indians do not care much for civic sense, or civic sense as an ethic has become a low priority," the varsity statement on the need for such a campaign had said.
The statement noted that most people were oblivious to "implications of road rage, eve teasing, jay walking, general apathy and lack of compassion and love for fellow beings, littering, loud and rude behaviour, vandalizing public property. There are spit marks, urine, random garbage, eve teasing and stalking at every nook and corner of Bangalore."