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 college is located in the Sunderbans. Inhabitants of the region generally feel alienated from mainstream India and when asked to perform any task they pause and feel “can I do it?”
Our college believes that the students too have potential in their - SUNDARMON - and the college goes forward relentlessly in search of the Sundarmon (the potential for excellence) and make them feel “even I can do.”
Our roadmap to find out the potential for excellence is essentially the journey of the students to move from their low self belief “can I do it” to the stronger self belief “even I can do it.”
The journey is not easy. But the college believes it is achievable, provided the teachers make it possible.
Teachers are encouraged to play the role of a mentor. As mentor, the teachers are required to mingle with the students as parents, make them feel at home and constantly encourage them “yes you can do it.”
Vidy? Vimuktaye is our core value which enshrines our vision as
· Enlightenment (emancipate and liberate from all darkness and bondages)
· Empowerment (building self belief)
· Enrichment (building qualities to enrich society)
All performances aim at fulfilling these visions through the constant acts of mentoring of students by the teachers.
Towards enlightening the students, the college effectively delivers the curriculum (as provided by the university) and adheres to a number of “distinctive practices” – often different from other institutes – and because of the mentoring
1. students show larger propensity to attend regular classes and appear for monthly internal assessment,
2. a very strong teacher-students relationship
3. learners remain in touch with the teachers 24x7 through social networking
Towards empowering the students the college organizes a college week whose name is Sundarmon. During this college week the main objective is to organize several skill-displaying events and make the students participate, perform and learn. Most of the students who participate and perform in these events are the first time performers and because of the mentoring
1. students shred of the initial hesitancy enrol their names in the said events
2. confidence level of the students get boosted and they start thinking, “EVEN I CAN”
3. talent search amongst the students become possible
4. students can learn many a things which they have never learnt earlier for performing in stage
Towards enriching the students the teachers remain friendly to the students, listen to their difficulties and built a relation of personal touch and because of the mentoring
1. students find it easier to share the words of wisdom and the experiences of the teachers
2. students can easily appreciate what is right and what is wrong
3. students can accompany the teachers and reach out to the neighbourhood and mix with the society
4. students can be encouraged to share concern and work for the society
Feedback taken amongst the students suggests that the distinctive characteristic of this college is that the interpersonal relation of between the teachers and the students is very strong and majority of the teachers provide time to the students outside the classroom and also from their home 24x7. This they believe have made them feel closer to the teachers for which they can share any of their their problems and difficulties and they receive help, guidance and necessary counselling.
That the feedback of the students are in favour of strong students-teacher relationship is something that comes from the series of activities that the teachers are involved in outside their classes.. Majority of the teachers do not limit them to teaching only, but give time to the students for their holistic development and here are some of the instances.
Teachers while at home, reach out to the students through social networking and answer to any of their academic doubts, and examine any of their write ups and point out their mistakes.
Constant acts of mentoring by the teachers make the students feel that regular class attendance, appearing in reguar internal assessment makes them prepared for the university examinations and thus the drop outs are drastically reduced.
Teachers make use of online platforms and solve any of their problems, derivations through audio and video clippings. Students who are really interested in their studies don’t feel that teachers are inaccessible.
Teachers also make the students to organise Departmental Teachers’ Day and keeps close watch in an act of talent search and possible in any socio cultural events.
The teachers as mentors work relentlessly and give training and guidance for any students’ centric event ranging from debates to seminar to singing and dancing and similar other activities, to those students who have the desire to learn and perform.
Teachers encourages the students to learn to write a bio-data that includes their strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and prepare PowerPoint slides to present their SWOT before the judges and develop a self directional skill and attitude.
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 and then 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.
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.
Teachers encourage the students to take part in activities relating to the society at large and take part in neighbourhood relation building exercises be it during the time of any disaster or social gathering where volunteers are needed from amongst the students’ fraternity.
Thus mentoring of students by the teachers in this college is becoming the distinctive characteristic of the college and to realize its vision, priority & thrust and realization of its core value Vidy? Vimuktaye.