Guru Nanak College in south India is leading by example by giving the right platform to students from economically weaker sections and reserving a chunk of its seats for women; and as the Indian President noted, it is also carrying forward a cultural legacy that Tamil Nadu and Punjab share.
At a recent event held at Guru Nanak College in Chennai, the capital city of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind commended the importance that is given to the education of girls in the state.
The event was the graduation ceremony being held at this not-for-profit institution, which was established in 1971 with the motto “pro bono publico” and it stands true till present day.
About 70 pc of the 7,000 students in the college are from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and 30 pc of the seats in the college are reserved for women.
Education for girls
“Of the graduating class, over one-third are girl students. Twelve students are university rank holders and are being honoured today with medals. And seven of the 12 medal winners are girls. These are impressive statistics. As I have said on earlier occasions in educating a daughter, we educate not one but two families. An educated girl is a positive influence on both her parents’ family as well as the family she marries into and builds with her husband; and of course, she contributes enormously at the workplace and in building our economy,” the President said at the event.
He also inaugurated two new buildings in the campus – the Guru Amar Das Block, and the Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Auditorium- where the event was held.
“The two new buildings are part of our infrastructure expansions, which we have been focusing on for the past decade or so,” said Manjit Singh Nayar, general secretary and correspondent of the college. “The idea is also to provide state-of-the-art facilities to the students from EWS, so that they are better prepared for jobs,” he added.
First generation learners
Many of the students in the college are first generation learners and yet hold a seat here only on the basis of their merit. The college, which is run by 250 Sikh families from Chennai, does not follow a caste-based quota system for admissions unlike many other institutions across the country.
Since its inception, the college has expanded multi-dimensionally. While it has batches for science students, there is also an MBA programme; and “the students who pass out from these, do so with good grades and have bagged jobs at multi-national companies,” Nayar added.
“We also provide the students with personality grooming classes and help them with speaking skills. These are important traits. We also motivate them to work part-time in retail malls nearby as it gives them some exposure,” said Nayar.
Guru Nanak College has over the years become one of the best colleges in the city given its progressive chart and educational contributions in the state.
At the event, the President noted the cultural history that Tamil Nadu and Punjab share, which dates back to the days of spiritual leader Guru Nanak Dev and how the college was taking forward the legacy. “Guru Nanak Dev, who was one of our greatest spiritual leaders and nation builders, visited Tamil Nadu as part of his journey to southern India,” he said.