Amarpurkashi Project in India: Gramodaya Post Graduate College
students in the grounds of the degree college
students enjoy a class in the open air
the degree college
the college is set in beautiful grounds
students in a tutorial
the college grounds
the college grounds
A degree college in rural India
This college, affiliated to M.J.P. Rohilkhand University, Bareilly, was founded in 1995 and is unique in being situated in a small village. In its first year it had just 39 students in B.A. Part I. Not only was it a new college no one had ever heard of before but it was also situated in a small village. Consequently, the only students who enrolled were those whose results were so poor that no other college would accept them. Nevertheless, with dedicated teaching and guidance, they all passed and the 100% pass rate meant that the college came top of results for the whole district. The college’s examination results regularly surpass those of much bigger and better-known colleges in the nearby towns and cities and never fall below 90%. 98% of the students in 2006 passed their B.A. This is a particularly encouraging result given the college's rigorous exam invigilation and its firm stand against corruption and cheating.
Today, the college has over 1300 students. 38% of them are girls, attracted to the college by its easy accessibility, its reputation for fair dealing and the careful supervision and safety of its campus. The rural setting has proved to be an advantage rather than a drawback. It is quiet and peaceful and the fields of wheat and sugarcane, rice and potatoes make a pleasant background that seems to help the students focus on their studies. Here there are none of the distractions that in towns and cities divert college students from their work.
At present, General Hindi, Hindi Literature, General English, English Literature, Sanskrit, History, Geography, Sociology, Political Science and Economics are taught. From August 2009, the college is offering two post-graduate courses, an M.A. in Sociology and an M.A. in English Literature
In October 2003, the college finally received authorisation from Rohilkhand University to run a B.Ed course. 100 students, of whom 30% are girls, now attend this popular course.
Since August 2002, the college has been running an innovative 1-year course leading to a Post-Graduate Diploma in Rural Resource Management. This important new course is the first of its kind in giving equal importance to practical and written work. Students not only learn about rural economics, resources and problems but they also go out into the field, working with selected village families to formulate feasible proposals to help solve their difficulties. After graduation, these students will be well-equipped to take up jobs in rural industries and government departments or to set up their own enterprises. The first batch graduated in October 2003 with outstanding results. All eight students passed, five with First Division and three with Second. All eight students have obtained jobs in respected NGOs and are earning good salaries. Six students gained 1st division in 2003/4 and the students from 2004/5 all passed too. The course did not run in 2005/6, but has run successfully every year since.
In 2007, a computer centre was opened in the college and now offers courses in basic and advanced computing and conversational English.
The college is set in beautiful grounds where pupils can study outside in the winter sunshine or, in summer, inside in the cool, spacious lecture rooms. It boasts a large, well-stocked library with subscriptions to over 30 journals and four daily newspapers in Hindi and English as well as text books for all subjects and a wide range of English and Hindi novels. The library opens daily from 10am to 5pm. There is also a computer laboratory which includes a section for typewriters which students can practise on at any time and a specially constructed cubicle for modern computers.
A degree college in their very own village also means that local children can see a progression from primary school right through to degree level, encouraging them to aim high.
The project set up this degree college to serve the needs of students from rural areas. This is important because young people from rural areas do not thrive in the existing highly urbanised degree colleges; in addition, the expense of having to board in the town may be too great for them. The project's rural degree college (affiliated to a nearby university) provides easily accessible higher education in a familiar rural environment at a much reduced cost.
"The project totally changed my life. I had dropped out of primary school, been married very young and was just getting up to mischief in the village. Mukat Singh gave me some work, I taught myself to read the newspapers that arrived every day and then I got a job as office assistant in the school. Later I learnt to drive. Now both my children are studying for degrees in the college, something I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams." (Rameshi, 45, driver of the project jeep)
Year-wise results of Gramodaya Degree College
The following results table shows the pass rate at the end of each year of the 3-year BA courses, and also at the end of the one-year PGRRM and B.Ed. courses:
Visit the Gramodaya College websitevisit the Gramaodaya College website
Information for Supporters
Under the VRI Experience India scheme you are invited to come and see the degree college, and perhaps get involved in voluntary work helping the students with their English conversation.