Upliftment of the Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Communities through Quality Education and Awareness Programmes
Janata Shikshan Mandal as an educational Trust was established in 1960 through people’s movement for education of the socially and economically deprived classes of people. The motto of the Trust has been ‘Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya’. Devchand College, which was established in 1961, embodies the vision in letter and spirit. A unique feature of the college is that it is situated exactly situated on the border between Maharashtra and Karnataka with the college building is in Maharashtra and the gardens are in Karnataka. The institution, by extending education to children of both the states, stands as a true symbol of national integration. One of the institutional core values displayed in the open air theatre is national integration.
True to the spirit of national integrity, the college enrolls more than 60% of students from the state of Karnataka and this influx is due to the quality of education and the services provided to them. One of the key distinctive features is the special efforts made by the institution to avail scholarships for Maharashtra-Karnataka border (MKB) students. Since the college is situated in the border area, it was a special case for EBC (Economically Backward Community) scholarship from 1964 to 2017 for MKB students. In 2018, the Government of Maharashtra announced Rajarshi Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Shulk Shishyavrutti Scheme for Maharashtra students only. The MKB students were out of the scope of the scheme. Devchand College undertook intense correspondence with the department concerned to avail the scholarship for all MKB students. As a result, the MKB students became eligible for the said scholarship. Now, not only in Devchand College but any MKB student in the region can avail the Rajarshi Shahu scholarship in any college across Maharashtra state. It is one of the social contributions in the border area. The locational advantage is thus harnessed in view of the welfare of the region as a whole.
To enable students to avail the Rajarshi Shahu scholarship, the college took special efforts to reach out to maximum number of eligible students. They were sensitized about the scholarship through notices, promotional lectures, digital media and class-to-class canvassing. The college registered highest number of beneficiaries in Kolhapur division. The institution’s efforts are recognized by the Joint Director, Kolhapur region, Maharashtra through a letter of appreciation. In addition, six different types of scholarships are made available for eligible MKB students.
The college provides vertical and horizontal mobility to students. The institution has been continuously adding UG and PG courses and skill-based courses. During this assessment period, 4 new UG and 4 PG programmes have been added and in all 17 UG and 11 PG programmes are made available to provide a wide range of choices of their interest. In addition, 18 Career oriented Courses are conducted during 2020-21 in Covid-19 lock down period.
In all, 293 students were placed during the assessment period. True to the spirit of institutional core values, the colleges allows students of other colleges in the vicinity to benefit from the employability skills training programmes and also from recruitment drives organized by the placement cell. About 300 students from different MKB colleges were benefited. Along with placement, student progression is ensured. 817 students were admitted to higher education. The college is located in the rural set up where social and environmental awareness is lacking and the resources are limited. The institution takes special efforts to create awareness and provide support to different classes of society. The value of unity in diversity is inculcated through varieties of programmes such as presentation of cultural diversities of different states in India on Republic Day. Also, felicitation of 15 families of martyrs of Indian army from Kolhapur and Belagavi districts reflecting the values of patriotism.
The college stands strong during natural calamities irrespective of states. 694 families of 9 MKB villages were supported through distribution of essential goods and post-flood cleanliness drives. Also, financial support was provided to Kodagu and Kerala flood affected regions. During Covid-19 crisis, students conducted a health survey of 1600 people from different villages from 4 tahsils of Maharashtra and Karnataka. White army cadets served as corona warriors in Nipani Covid Centre for two months.
Conservation of environment is taken up as a priority. A fifteen days and 700 km Save Water cycle rally covering eight districts of Karnataka and Maharashtra was organized. In addition, save water rallies were organized locally. Cleanliness campaigns were organized in hospital, bus stand and crematorium and in villages. Environmental awareness rallies such as plant conservation rally, pollution free Diwali rally were organised. Hassle free bus pass is readily made available to students in order to promote public transport for environmental conservation.
Teachers and students of the college promoted awareness about education by teaching English to slum dwellers and sensitized school students about science and research. An exhibition of basic science experiments was held.
Students developed an emotional bond with marginalized groups such as orphans, mentally challenged, deaf and dumb children and HIV infected people by celebrating Rakshabandhan festival with them at their residing places. A novel approach to promote gender equality is felicitation of women having single girl child and newly elected Grampanchayat women of villages from Karnataka and Maharashtra. Most of the students belong to farmers’ families and seminars, workshops were arranged specially for farmers with an aim to provide information about recent advancements in farming to increase yield of production, thus empowering the farmer community.
Considering the location of the college, all out efforts have been made for the upliftment of the Maharashtra-Karnataka border communities through quality education and social, environmental and gender awareness activities.