Bankim Sardar College – A College with Potential for Excellence
1. Title of the Practice
Bibidher Majhe Dekho Milano Mahan (Identifying Unity in Diversity and be inclusive)
2. Objectives of the Practice
The objective is the enrichment of students by way of extending them beyond the narrow concept of self.
The life process of people differs across person, place, culture, religion etc. Such diversity often causes disharmony. Thus one holistic objective of people is to remain identified with the diverse life processes of others and find out the unity in diversity. HEIs can play a pivotal role in imbibing the vision of harmony and unity among the students by way of observing and commemorating observable days, identifying citizenship roles by way of establishing neighbourhood relation and most importantly strengthening cultural exchange among diverse communities.
3. The Context
Students who are living in this part of the mother earth are predominantly introvert in nature and lack exposure to the diverse life processes beyond their narrow geographical boundary. Students in this college come from pre-dominantly rural background and belong to SC, OBC and minority communities (about 85%). Teachers on the other hand come from urban areas. It is felt that the college in general and the teachers in particular can therefore play a greater role in making the students much more open minded and free thinkers by way of appraising them with the larger life processes of communities beyond the narrow provincial domain in which the students live. Under the context of such diversity, the college plans to observe “dibash” (days) following a pre-scheduled calendar where each dibash holds different connotation and enables the students to get identified with different value systems.
4. The Practice
The IQAC aims to organize
1. Regular counseling of the students by the Principal
2. Cultural visits for the students every year – to places like Santiniketan (the place of Kabi Guru Rabindranath Tagore), Belurmath (the place of Sri Ramakrishna & Swami Vivekananda), Kolkata (The City of Joy) and also cultural exchange programmes where teachers and students from other premiere institutions (e.g. Patha Bhavana, Visva Bharati) come to the college for conducting cultural programmes with the college and school students of the Sunderbans.
3. The celebration of the birth anniversaries of Swami Vivekananda, Subhash Chandra Bose, S. Radhakrishnan, APJ Abdul Kalam every year and the birth centenaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
4. The celebration of the Communal Harmony day on the day of Rakhi Bandhan when the teachers, the staff and the students go out to the local villages and spread the spirit of oneness and harmony. College students and school students in unison participate in Rakhi Bandhan and conduct cultural programmes. The college also observed the 125th year of Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda as Sampriti Saptaha.
5. Regular visits to the neighbouring villages on the days of Netaji Birthday, Republic Day and the Independence Day. Teachers, staff and the students take part in such march to the villages and such visits help the students and teachers to get identified with the life process of the villagers and spread a feeling of oneness among the villagers.
6. Occasional visits to the local primary schools to encourage the young students to come to the college and learn computers courses from the college students. The objective is to imbibe the dream of higher education among the young kids.
7. The celebration of the Fisherman’s day by celebrating and observing the meen mangal utsav. The objective is to recognise the contribution of the fisherman community of this region
8. Free legal aid service camps (in collaboration with the advocates of the Law College) for the residents of adjoining villages with the objective of making the villagers feel at home and discuss their legal issues.
9. Regular extension services by the NSS and the NCC units of the college often in collaboration with the West Beacon Scout with the objective of making the students to learn to think for the society beyond narrow self interest.
5. Evidence of Success
The objective was to encourage the students to learn to extend them beyond the narrow domain of their self-interest and spread their being to the neighboring villages, get identified with their objective problems and realities.
After three years of effort in this regard, most of the students today by and large have started appreciating that they cannot afford to live within the narrow boundaries of their home and have started identifying themselves with the world beyond.
This is becoming evident as they are showing larger interests to participate in inter-college events and writing papers, letters and essays on inter-temporal and inter-spatial issues.
6. Problems Encountered and Resources Required
The practice does encounter problems in the areas of time resources. With the introduction of the CBCS and the semester system time is becoming the limiting factor, for both the teachers and the students, in actualizing the practice. Furthermore, there are inhibitions in the minds of the local people about the manner in which free thinking is encouraged. Finally, as students in general are accepting “broadmindedness” as a social value, some narrow minded parochial “non-students” feel insecure and pose resistance to the best practices.
The distinctiveness of this college is Mentoring of students by teachers. The objective of mentoring is
1. 1. make them feel at home
2. 2. build their self belief “even I can do” and
3. 3. reflect their pent up potential in a College with Potential for Excellence
The college is located in the Sunderbans, and inhabitants of the region are constrained to feel alienated from mainstream India and when asked to perform they pause and feel “can I do it?” This College with Potential for Excellence – believes the students too have beautiful minds - the SUNDARMON – ???????? – ???????? and the college goes forward relentlessly in search of the Sundarmon (the excellence) in the Sunderbans and make the students feel “even I can do.”
Vidy? Vimuktaye – our core value - enshrines our vision as Enlightenment (emancipate and liberate from all darkness and bondages) Empowerment (building self belief) Enrichment (building qualities to enrich society) and all performances of the institution aim at fulfilling these vision through the constant acts of mentoring of students by the teachers.
Towards enlightening the students, the college adheres to a number of “distinctive practice” remaining in touch with the learners through 24x7 mentoring and monitoring and pursuing to make the students feel at home while in campus.
Towards empowering the students, the college organizes a college week whose name is Sundarmon. This college week is not the same as what is being called as fest) where hired artists and celebrities come from outside and perform and earn. But in Sundarmon, the main objective is to organize several skill-displaying events and make the students participate and perform and learn.
The success of Sundarmon depends on a year-long talent search by the mentors amongst the students who have pent up talents but never had the opportunity to bring them out before others. The mentors try to find out the talents in each department by way of organising smaller events throughout the year at the departmental levels. For example, students are allowed to celebrate Teachers’ Day at the Departmental level every year over and above the Teachers’ Day being celebrated by the college. After the talent search is made, the IQAC declares the several events of the Sundarmon programme ranging from dance competition to debate to bio data contest. Principal encourages the teachers to play the role of mentors and guide the students to take part in any/all of the events. The mentors work relentlessly to give training and guidance for two to three months involving rounds of rehearsal The performers are than elevated to perform in the Sundarmon function.
For example, a teacher-mentor has thirty five student-mentees who have shown their interests to perform dance. The mentor declares that a National Integration Dance contest will be held during Sundarmon where each group of five mentees will represent a state – Punjab, Assam, Goa, Bengal etc and perform the respective folk dances of these states. This event requires videos of the folk dances of other states, identification with their culture, script building, costumes, anchoring and above all repeated words of confidence building, “you can do it.”
Another example can be drawn in this regard. A teacher acting as a Mentor encourages the students to learn to draw their SWOT. Students learn how to write a bio-data that includes their strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. Then they are required to prepare PowerPoint slides to present their SWOT before the Principal and judges during the Sundarmon followed by interview questions about their selves. This entire exercise is conducted to develop a self directional skill and attitude among the students.
Let us cite another example. The teacher mentors of Political Science department take their students to the West Bengal State Assembly and make them aware about the live proceedings of legislative practices. Then teachers as mentors guide the students in the department to perform a mock parliament session where students enact in several roles and successfully create the ambience of legislative assembly in the college campus.
Another example that requires to be mentioned is the one where teacher as mentor encourages the students to think laterally by way of introducing to the idea of lateral thinking (Edward Bono) and preparing question answers on lateral thinking. Then, during the final round a quiz contest on lateral thinking is organised where students contest and perform.
Mentoring has assumed a new dimension during the COVID 19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown. Each teacher as a mentor is attached to 30 to 40 students and he/she as a group admin opens a whatsapp group where the Principal also joins and thus enables each student to remain in constant touch with the HoI. The students are receiving round the clock counselling from the teachers with regard to their regular online classes, project preparation and submission, internal assessment through google evaluation, training for making use of the college portal for university examination etc. Principal issues notifications to all students through the mentors and thus students remain well appraised about their examination schedules mode of examinations etc. Teachers and mentors also keep in touch to do make stress counselling of the students and never allow them to feel that they are alone during this lock down. Mentors have also guided the students to keep them safe from the COVID 19, following the importance of masks, sanitisation social distancing etc. Mentors have also guided the NCC cadets of the college to reach out to the neighbourhood villages and act as volunteers to help them in their distress.
All these acts of mentoring by the teachers are the distinctive performance of the institution to realize its vision, priority & thrust and realization of its core value Vidy? Vimuktaye.