Learning beyond the Four Walls
Eight years ago, faculties and students of Sindhi College decided to conduct a survey in the streets of Bangalore, partly to learn the management principles through a research project, partly to find the kids who are deprived of basic education in their nearby areas. Their objective was rather simple in the beginning; to find the number of kids under-12, who are working on the streets to make a living. The harsh realities of Silicon Valley were much worse than they expected. They encountered more than hundred kids in various pockets of the city -some were working with street vendors, some were at automobile workshops, while some of the very unfortunate ones were in the dirty backyards of eateries and other unsanitary places.
For the undergraduate students in the team, it was both an immense learning experience and a heart rending one to witness the lives of those less fortunate than them. Hence, they did not limit their practice to a mere survey. Indeed, the team managed to spread the awareness to many parents on the importance of sending their kids back to the school. Eventually, the Sindhi College management shouldered the responsibility of educating a majority of them 'on campus education', Since then, Sindhi College has been continuing this practice without any interruptions and they have extended the program by providing a separate campus, which houses some of the best trainers from NSDC for skill development along with faculties and students of Sindhi College as teachers. Today, many families in the Hebbal area, Bangalore, have improved their standard of living as their sons/daughters - who were on the streets eight years ago - are working with some the finest organizations in the country earning close to 3 lakhs per annum.
"We have an annual budget of Rs. 75 lakhs for educating school dropout kids. Hence, students who participate in this activity, as facilitators can witness a sea change in the life of these unprivileged kids because of their untiring efforts. This proves to be a great way to learn for them," says Dr.Prakash Nayak, Principal,Sindhi College. Established in the year 2002, under the aegis of Sindhi SevaSamiti, a 51 year old philanthropic organization with "service to human kind" as their motto, Sindhi College has been on the forefront of education by providing quality teaching to the students who come from different social strata. The management offers over Rs. 60 lakhs every year for financially challenged students, thus assist many brilliant minds to become graduates, overcoming the financial constraints.
Through numerous philanthropic efforts and by conducting socially relevant events such as rural medical services and blood donation camps, Sindhi College ensures that their students are self-motivated and are ready to serve the society even at a very early stage of their life. "There is no better teacher than life and no better lesson than real life experience. Here, we constantly encourage our students to go out and serve the society rather than giving a one hour lecture about the importance of corporate social responsibility," says Dr.Nayak. However, it is not only the external affairs that make Sindhi College stand out from the crowd. The practicality of education can be seen in every other necessary aspect that includes academics, placement training and extracurricular activities.
With four major courses on the board such as BBA, B.Com, BSc Computer Science, BCA and MCom, the institute achieves more than 95 percentage academic results. Last year alone, close to 100 students secured top 25 ranks in the Bangalore University exams. "We continuously uplift the student community by providing quality university education along with many industry oriented value added programs to narrow the gap between industry and academia." While the final placement training has been managed by TCS, one of the major campus recruiters in the country, the institute has also collaborated with CareerSpin, a reputed career consulting firm, to provide 120 hours of grooming to the students. Hence, students of Sindhi College are always on a high demand by major employers in the country with every eligible student receiving 8-10 interview opportunities during the final placement sessions. However, apart from corporate companies, a good number of Sindhi College alumni can be seen in industries such as Media, Film and Sports.
Dr.Nayak confidently claims, "An undergraduate program is not only about academics. We have produced excellent event managers, chartered accountants, sales managers, athletes and film stars. Ultimately, preparing a successful graduate is our aim and a source of satisfaction." Like Dr.Nayak, who finds his calling in encouraging and guiding students to become successful in their lives, Prof. Parvathi Devi, Vice Principal says, "We are not celebrities. But, there are thousands of people around the country who remember, respect and love us. Those are our students and that is why we love our profession."Sindhi College houses more than 50 faculty members. For an outside spectator, Sindhi College may look like any other undergraduate college; however, a deeper inspection reveals many committed and dedicated minds whose learning is not restricted to the four walls of the classroom.
With years of experience in the industry as well as in the education sector, Dr.PrakashNayak embarked as Principal of Sindhi College in the year 2011. Since then, he has been instrumental in uplifting the quality of education in the institute that include attaining the permanent university affiliation and establishing industry collaborations.