Sir Gooroodas Banerjee (1844-1918)
The beginning was modest, or even challenging. The college did not have a building of its own; the University of Calcutta, to which the college is affiliated, permitted the teaching of Intermediate (Arts and Science) and B.A. and B.Sc. at the pass level; the admission season had already started; not very far were few long-established colleges; much of the immediate hinterland was inhabited by people at the lower rungs of the economy; and the idea of a co-education institution had still not many supporters in the existing social milieu. But an unbounded enthusiasm among local educationists at various levels, and the generosity of a local girls’ school to provide accommodation to the new-born college by shifting its own location made it possible for the latter to start functioning from August 14, 1956 (later on observed as the College Foundation Day) with only 75 students and 2 whole-time lecturers.
Subsequently, the college was allotted land by the Calcutta Improvement Trust, and the first building came up in 1958, the second in 1962, and the third in 1996. The college still has a substantial amount of vacant land under its possession on which it has plans to construct an auditorium-cum-academic building in the near future.
From the humble start as chronicled above, the college has continuously been broadening its academic horizon through introduction of more and more programmes of study and an increasing number and variety of subjects offered. At present, Honours course of study is offered in 17 subjects, viz. Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, Zoology, Botany, Microbiology, Economics, English, Bengali, Journalism & Mass Communication, History, Political Science, Philosophy, Sanskrit & Sociology. In addition to these, which are taught at both Honours and General levels, subjects like Education and Statistics are offered at the General level only. B.Com. course is taught only at the General level. So the college has laid out a variety for the students to choose from – 3 programmes of study (B.Sc., B.A. and B.Com.) of these three courses of study, viz. Honours courses in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Journalism & Mass Communication and Computer Science are self-financing.
Library, laboratories and other infra-structural arrangements necessary for a proper teaching are continuously been upgraded. Additional civil infrastructural facilities, like class-rooms and laboratories, have been created to accommodate new departments and an increasing number of students.
The college library is housed in a separate building set amidst greenery. There are nearly 50,000 books and journals to choose from in an open-access system, and a spacious reading-room. In addition, each honours department has its own departmental library from which students can borrow books with a greater degree of freedom.
The teachers of the college are academically well-equipped, experienced and totally committed to their task. Their experience and guidance are available to the students not only within the class-room, but outside of it as well. The teacher-student ratio at present is approximately 1:28, but that is only half-the-story. What cannot be quantified is the excellent rapport between the teachers and the students of this college.
The academic progress of the students is closely monitored through a system of continuous assessment. Attendance of students is also kept under close watch. A system of regular parent-teacher meetings institutionalises the interaction between the two, which, the college believes, is a vitally necessary for a student’s academic career.
Apart from class-room teaching, students are also exposed to a broader world of knowledge in different areas of scholastic interest through seminars, workshops and lectures by visiting faculties from home and abroad. Moreover, there is a system of students’ seminars where the young learners are encouraged to present papers on their respective areas of study.
Efforts undertaken by the college to raise the academic standards of its students are showing results. The performance of its students in the University examinations is improving, and the success rate in the University Examinations has usually been much above the University average.
Studies apart, facilities for extra-curricular activities are provided to the students, and their active participation is encouraged. These include out-door and in-door games, and different cultural activities, like music, recitation, drama, debates and public speaking, bringing out wall-magazines. Most of these year- long activities culminate in an annual inter-college cultural festival organised by the Students’ Union.
There is an elected Students’ Union not only to act as an organised voice to the needs and aspirations of the students, but also to provide a forum for self-expression and for the development of leadership qualities.
The college has a medical unit attended by an experienced physician where the staff and the students can get free medical check-up once-a-week. In addition, all students are members of the Students’ Health Home, a state-level medical-care organisation.
A Women’s empowerment cell acts to promote synergy between girl students and the rest of the academic community and to promote self-enhancing ideas and activities among the latter.
For their life beyond college, students here can avail of the guidance from the Career Guidance cell which provides them with information regarding possible careers to pursue.
The college administration has a pyramidal structure with a democratically-constituted Governing Body at its apex and a host of sub-committees with specific responsibilities, composed of teachers, student-representatives, and members of the office-staff, forming the base. The college office under the guidance of the Principal provides the normal day-to-day administrative service.
Admission to the college commences with the publication of the results of the Higher Secondary Examination conducted by the West Bengal Higher Secondary Council, and is based entirely on merit. Students from economically-disadvantaged families are provided with adequate financial support to continue their studies here.
The college can boast of a distinguished alumni established in various walks of life. A number of departments have already formed their own alumni associations, and all past students are invited to join the central alumni association.
A grievance redressal cell is there to attend to grievances relating to college life which may arise among the teachers, students or members of the office-staff.
In the year 2011, the college applied for assessment and accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), and after the process of evaluation, was accredited with a B grade.