From darkness to light
Sankardev College as an institution was established on September 2, 1962, and affiliated to Gauhati University. It was initially instituted as an evening college, but within a year of its inception, following an increase in the enrolment of students, the day shift was introduced.
In 1972, with the creation of the state of Meghalaya and the establishment of a Central University in the state, the college was affiliated to the North Eastern Hill University, Shillong.
In order to accommodate the ever-increasing student strength, the college had to expand its infrastructure from the old location and today it has a four-storey building that houses the classrooms, the science laboratories, staff room, common rooms, the conference room, besides departmental rooms and departmental libraries. Annex I has the Botany Department with all the requisites of laboratory facilities, a seminar room with a smart classroom and a training centre for the PMKVY.
In 2013, a second Annex with an Indoor Sports Hall and classrooms was completed with funding partially received from the UGC. The multi-facility block was then constructed in 2017 to have more classrooms for both conventional courses and professional courses, including the PG Block, classroom, new library, a basement parking and canteen.
Dr R N Upadhayay was the founding principal of the college and dedicated his services to the institution for 34 years. It was during his tenure that the college diversified with a number of courses offered and introduced the Science stream. On his retirement in 1996, Dkhar took over as the principal and steered the institution to greater heights with her commitment and dedication for 21 years.
The infrastructure was developed with the construction of three new buildings to accommodate and meet the demands of an institution that is fast growing in repute and academic standing. The college undertook the tedious exercise of two NAAC accreditations under her leadership. It was during her tenure that the women’s hostel was started and also completed with funding from the UGC. In March 2018, the year of her retirement, she inaugurated the completion of the first phase construction of the multi-facility block that will house the PG block, new library, classrooms and a basement parking.
Dr (Mrs) Eureka F P Lyngdoh then took over as the principal in December 2018 and generated renewed enthusiasm amongst all stakeholders with her vision for the institution. Her focus on academic quality and performance, a conductive learning environment with discipline, has set the pace for the institution.
In a short span of time, she has brought about immense changes in improving the overall infrastructure of the college with further upgradation of facilities at hand. She has taken forward the process of completing the multi-facility block and the construction of an auditorium, which has been a long-cherished need of the institution. She has also initiated the introduction of Post Graduate courses namely in Teaching English to Speaker’s of Other Languages (TESOL) and Khasi and the preliminary inspection by the Expert Committees from the North Eastern Hill University has granted permission to start with PG course in Khasi.
As for TESOL, the formal consent is being awaited. Improved infrastructure includes a seminar hall, library, canteen and an approach road and driveway exclusive to the college. A biometric attendance system has also been installed to digitally record the attendance of the students as well as to communicate with them, their parents and guardians, including the teaching and non-teaching staff, by way of SMS.
Recognising the need to introduce vocational courses, she initiated the introduction of the course on Front Office Management under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme. The first batch was started in December 2019. A Certificate Course on Preparation and Marketing of Indigenous Food Products with an entrepreneurship program to benefit the students has also been started as well as a course on Learning German which will be certified by the Goethe Institute, Kolkata.
For the first time in the history of the institution, an e-learning portal has been set up and customized in the College website. This portal has been particularly very helpful during the lockdown period. Teachers and students were able to connect and discuss the course syllabus through this portal. Social extension activities of the College have also been diversified and programs are being carried out now and then.
At present, the college offers two undergraduate courses — the Science and the Arts stream with Honours in both the streams. The Arts Stream offers two shifts- the Morning and the Day shift, while the Science stream is available only in the day shift.
In 2013, the Higher Secondary Section of the College offering courses for Classes XI and XII under the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBoSE) was bifurcated and a school managing committee running this section was constituted. The Higher Secondary Section offers two courses, Science and Arts, and has two shifts. It functions within the administrative jurisdiction of the college.
In 2007, a unique concept was introduced — the Student Adoption Program where each teacher gives personal attention to about 30 students in their overall academic and extracurricular activities. This programme has been very beneficial to many of them. It has brought about a very productive student-teacher relationship which has improved the general performance of the students both in their studies as well as in their fields of interests.
Another initiative introduced by the College was the formation of the Parents-Teachers Association which aims to improve the institutional environment by soliciting the views and suggestions from the parents in annual meetings, thereby also fostering a healthy relationship between them and the institution.
The College also enhances the life skills and the participatory spirit of the students by encouraging them enrol for the NSS and NCC and to participate in the different activities conducted by the units. Many of the NSS and NCC volunteers from the College have participated in regional and national camps while also being actively engaged in social extension programmes.
In the field of academic learning, students are given ample opportunities to facilitate their learning process as the institution provides academic and personal counselling through various mechanisms. The College has a Career Counselling and Placement Cell aimed at providing career related guidance to students in collaboration with specialised agencies. The Committee conducts regular sessions and talks on different employability skills by collaborating with experts in this field.
Besides shaping students academically, the college also facilitates in equipping its students with employable skills and competencies. In 2019, the College launched the vocational training course programme, under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY). At present, it offers a three-month Front Office Management course, trained by experienced professionals in the field. It also offers a course on the Preparation and Marketing of Indigenous Food Products and Learning German.
The college lays strong emphasis on catering to the educational needs of the underprivileged students. It admits students with variant academic performances. Through the dedication of the teaching faculty, the majority of the students performed better than their entry levels, have graduated to become more learned as well as good character human beings and responsible members of the society.
Sankardev College also caters strongly to the higher educational needs of the youth of North-Eastern region. The richness of this multiculturalism is expressed through the various folk dances and songs exhibited by the students in the various events of the college. While academic excellence is given the maximum attention, it is also a significant endeavour of the college to promote culture. The uniqueness of one’s identity is respected as well as espoused. The college can proudly be proclaimed as the cultural canvas of North East India.
In allowing students to explore strengths and talents outside of academics, various extracurricular activities and programmes are organised for the students. One such event was in 2009 when the college conducted the first ever Inter-college Indigenous Archery Competition cum Seminar. It brought about immense interest among the students into this age-old practice and generated valuable linkage with the sporting activities of the olden days.
In 2011, the college marked its Golden Jubilee celebrations and was observed through a yearlong celebration of programs and events. The Inaugural Program of the Celebrations was graced by Dr Mukul Sangma, the then Hon’ble Chief Minister of Meghalaya who had also kindly consented to be the Chief Patron of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee.
It was indeed a momentous occasion and one which will be etched in the golden annals of the history of the College. The publication of the Golden Jubilee Souvenir was provided an invaluable reflection of the journey of 50 long years of the institution. It recollects the past with respect, gratitude and reverence to the members of the Governing body, the teaching and non-teaching staff who had rendered selfless service to the institution. The teaching faculty, office staff and students worked relentlessly for the success of the celebrations. It was indeed a privilege for them to be part of this historic occasion as they collectively endeavoured that it becomes a turning point in the growth and progress of the institution.
Today, the college has about 1,100 students and a 70-strong faculty with 20 Departments.
In 2016, the college was reaccredited with the NAAC Bengaluru and placed at B Grade.
As the saying goes, “Even the greatest trees grow from the smallest seeds”. The college, from its humble beginnings, has reached this far though the dedication and commitment of its faculty, staff and the quality leadership of the principals with the guidance of the governing body, from time to time. We cater to the overall growth of our student’s academic performance, character and personality – for it is not important where they stand in this world, but how.
We firmly believe that as an institution, there are always opportunities to reinvent and reassess ourselves, to work on our weaknesses, build on our strengths and to significantly help contribute to the growth of this nation through the noble profession of educating its young minds.
(The management committee of Sankardev College)