Monday, May 9, 2011

A Historic Feat for Dhempe College

A Historic Feat for Dhempe College


BEING a proud alumni, a science graduate of Miramar’s Dhempe College of Arts and Science, my joy knew no bounds when I read the news of my college getting the prestigious ‘A’ grade by NAAC.
It is still ‘my college’ because the most active, creative and socially useful part of my life was spent in this college where we had the fortune to be taught by some great teachers. In fact they had helped us to mould our ideas and shape our emerging personalities. It is a historic achievement for a college which has played a revolutionary role in intellectual, cultural, political and economic dynamics of Goa.
Shaping History
The name of Dhempe College of Arts and Science would be written in golden letters in the post-liberation history of Goa because it had been a nursery of leaders who moulded the contemporary Goan society and also left a blazing trail elsewhere in the country and the world in several spheres. Located in one of the most beautiful, picturesque and romantic settings in Goa, Dhempe College has come a long way since 1962 when Panaji was a small city and Miramar was not discovered as a tourist paradise. Established in 1962 by eminent personalities of Goa who had formed Goa education society, after it was taken over by Dempo Charities Trust (DCC), my college turned a new leaf under the visionary leadership of industrialist, Mr Shrinivas Dempo. Continuing the rich historic traditions of the Dempo family in philanthropy and institution building, he has always championed importance of high quality higher education in society and he aims to pursue excellence in every field. His expert guidance motivated the team of the college which strived hard to meet the standards laid down by NAAC.
The college had managed to get ‘B’ grade in 2003, which itself was a good achievement as the idea of NAAC was then still evolving. But under more rigorous and demanding evaluation criteria evolved by NAAC this time, getting the highly coveted ‘A’ grade was a feather in the cap. With this, all the top three and oldest colleges in Goa– Panaji’s Dhempe College (1962), Margao’s Chowgule College (1962) and Mapusa’s St Xavier’s College (1963) now have the distinction of being in the superleague of ‘A’ graded colleges in Goa. Remarkably all three are located in thriving urban centres. This would certainly kick-start a new process in Goa to strive for better quality in undergraduate higher education.
A Second Home
Since 1962, my college has come a very long way in adding infrastructural strength, new facilities and courses and spreading its’ wings wide to encompass the new trends in education. The basic strength of the college has always been good administration and good leadership. The principals acted as friends and guides and many a times went out of their ways to help the students. Amply supported by dedicated and dynamic faculty, the college is well known for its’ emphasis on value education and quality teaching. For many decades the National Service Scheme (NSS) of the college had carved out a name for itself in rural areas of Goa for the annual service camps which were held to help the villages. Dhempe College has vast potential to emerge as a centre of excellence in chemistry, earth sciences, electronics, mathematics, biosciences, social sciences and languages.
India’s well-known colleges have their own campus culture. Dhempe College has also maintained that tradition. Students are encouraged to be innovative and creative. I still remember the ‘Arts circle’ which brought students and teachers from several subjects together, the musical evenings where emerging talent was showcased, the wallpapers where we used to give vent to our writings, the quizzes and debate competitions, the cultural festival and the sports tournaments which attracted a huge audience.
The Dhempe College campus was our second home. It was always a beehive of cultural and intellectual activities. The management encouraged extra curricular activities. Philosophy was a well taught subject in the college. We used to meet every Sunday under the auspices of the now defunct Goa Philosophical Society to discuss and debate many philosophical issues. Dhempe College has spawned numerous poets and writers. Encouraging self entrepreneurship among the fresh graduates is another characteristic of the college environment. Among the celebrated alumni of the college are many entrepreneurs.
Changing Times
Over the years the college campus has modernised. The suburban area has rapidly enveloped the once isolated college campus. The traffic has grown several folds. But the college has also transformed itself keeping ahead of the changing times. The building never claimed to be a marvel in architecture but it was far more practical and useful as compared to an environmentally incompatible showpiece like the Goa University.
Over the years there is a remarkable gender transition with enrolment of girls overtaking the boys in arts and science streams. This reflects a general trend in Goa–small nuclear families and rapid urbanisation. The number of departments have increased. Many new courses have been introduced. It was appropriate that the college which had a solid base in biology thought of commencing a new course in biotechnology. Having achieved ‘A’ grade, now what lies in its future?
There are several areas for my college to expand. There is tremendous scope for a media faculty, information technology, bio, chemo and eco-informatics training. The college could also explore new areas of ecological and environmental sciences, marine sciences, cultural and anthropological studies and specialist areas like energy economics, urbanization studies, bioethics and courses related to high tech horticulture and food processing. Dhempe College could benefit from the national scheme to establish a ‘community college’ which can cater to some rural areas as well. Numerous opportunities for international collaboration would open after the entry of foreign universities in India.
The NAAC team must have been pleased to see the enrolment of foreign students in the college. Considering the brand identity of Dhempe College, it would be able to attract many students from Africa and Europe.
Mr Dempo has spoken about expansion of the college library. It has some excellent collections of books. Many of these titles are not found in other libraries in Goa. By using facilities like INFLIBNET and the proposed high bandwidth national knowledge backbone Dhempe College would be able to build a new knowledge ecosystem in Panaji.
Getting ‘A’ grade is certainly opening of a new chapter for the management, the faculty and the students of Dhempe College. As it enters the golden jubilee year soon, I would expect more laurels from my beloved college which means so much to me. I am sure all the alumni of Dhempe College would join me to cheer and celebrate this grand occasion. Three cheers to Dhempe College!

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