Dr. S.R. Kuchekar
Pravaranagar and the adjoining 44 villages were remote, drought-prone and undeveloped areas inhabited by poor villagers reeling under economic misery having practically no access to higher education. This situation pained and left a deep impact on Late Padmashri Vikhe Patil who realized that the rural masses could be uplifted only through the highly potent medium of education. As a first step to achieve this goal, Pravara Rural Education Society was established in 1964, under which Pravara Public School (1964) was the first English medium residential school, exclusively for boys, established to impart quality education to the children of farming community. It was followed by Pravara Kanya Vidya Mandir in 1969, an exclusive residential school for girls, as Padmashri firmly believed that education of a girl meant education for the complete family.
Then arise the need to establish a centre for higher education and that is the genesis of Women’s College of Home Science and BCA, Loni. Before the establishment of this college in 1997, girl students from this rural area, who desired to pursue higher education, had no other option except joining the colleges at district and Tahasil levels, which were beyond reach for many. Only those who were with sound financial background could go for higher studies. All the rest, particularly girls, were found totally deprived of higher education. Due to financial hurdles, social psyche, lack of residential facilities, insecurity etc, and almost all the parents from these areas were reluctant to educate their girls. Because of such limitations, very few youth from the nearby villages could take graduation.
We wish to make a special mention of the fact that when this college was established, a considerable number of students of this college were from extremely poor families located in drought-prone areas of this district. In fact, several constraints were preventing them from the very idea of going for higher education. Nearly 30% of the students admitted to 1st year had joined "Earn and Learn Scheme" for fulfilling their thirst and earning for higher education. We have mentioned their progress and discovered that most of them are well settled in life. Some of them are Counselors, Dietitian, Programmer, Extension officer, Supervisor etc. Some have become extremely successful entrepreneurs. It is pertinent to mention that lack of graduates in rural areas caused great damage to the educational enthusiasm and aspiration in the early stage. Parents even did not realize that lack of higher education would have a detrimental effect on their socio-economic status, development, life-style, approach towards new developments and innovation in the field of agriculture. By realizing the growing important role of higher education in all sectors of life, this college was established in 1997 under the leadership of the great visionary, Padmabhushan Balasaheb Vikhe Patil. This step proved to be a golden opportunity for girls, who were kept in the darkness of ignorance for ages. The situation, of course, did not change instantly, even after the establishment of this college. Due to the teamwork of teachers for motivating the parents through interactive programmes like "Teacher Guardian Scheme", special coaching, personal attention given in this college created faith, confidence, a sense of belonging and attachment among the students and parents.
The attitude of the parents changed dramatically through at a gradual pace. Residential facilities with greater security exclusively for girls supplemented with scholarships measurably promoted education for rural girls. All these efforts created a deep impact on the image of the college as a Development Centre, which vertically and horizontally caused an increase in every student’s strength. Students, especially from poor families, preferred to be part of this college and were proud of being its alumni. Various activities and programmes organized by the college for educational and academic excellence of our students changed the educational environment to a higher degree of congeniality. This also resulted in improving the sheer number of graduates in the area. At present, in every family, at least one graduate member is observed. These days, no one finds the compulsion to go to district place or cities for higher education. On the contrary, we have many students from urban areas approaching here for higher education, resulting in a reverse trend. We can observe that the living standards and the outlook towards women have totally changed due to increase in number of the beneficiaries of higher education. The outlook of rural society is also modified considerably. The acceptance of new technology, in the field of agriculture is clearly visible, as many farmers prefer for crop diversity, crop rotation, horticulture, and floriculture etc. Many of the youth have also entered self-employment in entrepreneurship and service sectors. We hope that the progressive Endeavour’s and activities of our college will help to increase women’s status in society. Women’s College of Home Science and BCA, Loni.
LIFE IN WOMEN’S COLLEGE OF HOME SCIENCE AND BCA, LONI
The atmosphere in Women’s College of Home Science and BCA, Loni is very much congenial with clean, beautiful, green campus enriched with well-equipped infrastructural facilities suitable for all types of curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. Life in the college starts at dawn, when some hostel students and staff are seen doing exercises and playing games. The teaching programme starts at 9.30 am and continues till 5.00 pm for Home Science and BCA faculties. The staff, in dress-code, reaches the college in time and after recording attendance on biometric instrument, is engaged in the routine work as per the schedule. An interval of 10 minutes enables the staff and students to relax and refresh for the next session, which lasts till 5.00 pm. During leisure time, staff and students visit the library or read newspapers, participate in other activities. In the evening, students take part in sports and other recreation programmes. The students from "Earn and Learn Scheme" do the light work assigned to them by the coordinator.
The volunteers of NSS attend a 07 day special camp every year in which various socially relevant and extension programmes such as tree plantation, nature conservation, non-conventional energy sources, health awareness, sanitation, women empowerment etc. are organized. Faculty-wise educational tours, which form a part of curriculum, are arranged every year. The term-end examinations are generally completed during Diwali vacation. Second term begins after a three –week long vacation. In the month of December, Bahisshal Vyakhyanmala Lecture Series related to social, economic, political, historical, women and child issues is organized every year for the all students. At the end of January, the annual college gathering and prize distribution ceremony is organized for the students to present their talents in a variety of cultural programme. During this period, the college wears a festive look with decoration and students in their traditional attire are seen enjoying the cultural activities. All these remain memorable events for every one of us. The staff, besides teaching work, is also engaged in research activities like publishing papers, attending seminars, conferences and completing the research project work. The college also organizes seminars, conferences, guest lecturers for enriching the staff and students. Semester End examinations commence in October and March, and continue till the end of November and April respectively.