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Social Pedagogy: An upcoming multi-disciplinary area of knowledge and professional specialization
Social Pedagogy is an upcoming area of study as a part of applied social sciences that attempts to understand the theory and practice of relationship-centred way of functioning of various social entities in various care and educational settings cutting across various age groups and ability ranges, as I gathered from the conversation with the Paula Ahola, who is doing her masters in social pedagogy in Finland to become a professional pedagogue and currently doing her internship at Disha Foundation in Jaipur.

As we know that pedagogy is a term of Greek origin, which means 'leading the child' to 'learning and life' but currently it has connotation of 'science of teaching and learning' that stresses the need of making learning process-based along with continuous experimentation and innovation in learning environment and learning experiences to make learning happen.

When we attach prefix 'social' with 'pedagogy' to get a new concept label 'social pedagogy', it gets related to learning and action to encompass society at its various social groups and societal institutions. In the society, two social institutions are most important, the family and the school. Currently, both basic societal institutions are having weak socio-pedagogical and instruction-pedagogical foundations.

If we go by the interpretation of the noted social pedagogue and thinker Paulo Frerrie, faulty ways of upbringing children and their education have become oppressive. He says that 'the oppressors, whose tranquillity rests on, how well people fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it.' Thus, social pedagogy deems that in the present times, upbringing children and their education is a shared responsibility of parents and society both.

It is being held that social pedagogy aims at providing a holistic perspective within a given social setting to take principled action since it is a multi-disciplinary subject that  draws its strength from the theories, principles, values, concepts and practices from related disciplines such as sociology, social-psychology, humanistic education, philosophy, medical sciences, spirituality and social work.

Now, post graduation and doctoral level course are available in the western countries to prepare social pedagogues with professional certification to work within a range of different age groups, social settings and ability settings, from early years through adulthood to working with the disabled, disadvantaged adult groups and older people. In India, there is a need to start courses on social pedagogy in India and such a lead can only be taken by institutions IGNOU and some autonomous colleges who try out multidisciplinary courses as curriculum initiatives.

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