INSTITUTION IN FOCUS
A `gurukula' for life training
A view of Vivekananda College at Thiruvedagam near Sholavandan. Photo: K. Ganesan.
SWAMI VIVEKANANDA is ever inspiring both in words and deeds. His emphasis on man-making education is the motto for many an institution and what still remains in the minds of all are the lightning words, "Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached."
Running under his intellectual and spiritual shadow is the Vivekananda College at Tiruvedakam West near Sholavandan, a fully residential and autonomous institution for boys, which functions as a `gurukula' for life training, spread over 100 acres.
Affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University, the college imparts education with the objective of bringing the "head, heart and hand work together" for the 950 students on rolls in the under-graduate and post-graduate courses as also Ph. D. programmes.
"There are hundreds of colleges and universities which concentrate on information-oriented education. But we give value- based education by emphasising on transformation-oriented education for the youth and discipline," says R. Vanniarajan, the Principal.
Established in 1971by Swami Chidbhavananda and managed by Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam, the location of Vivekananda College is an ideal place surrounded by bounteous natural scenery on the northern banks of the river Vaigai. The Principal points out that the primary objective of teaching is to make students useful to society and not to produce mere graduates. The stress always is on the spiritual side of education with discipline being the singular hallmark of the institution. "Our boys have self-imposed discipline. What we aim is for their physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual development," Dr. Vanniarajan says.
Both curriculum and character are given equal importance while the college insists on a perfect blend of physical and mental development. The college offers 10 UG and 4 PG courses and is also a recognised centre for Ph. D. programmes. It also offers certificate, diploma and extension programmes.
"We work towards inculcating simple living and high thinking among the students," says R. Ilango, Vice-Principal. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has given the `A' grade for the college.
The Principal says that the definition of education propounded by Swami Vivekananda is implemented by the college to bring out the divinity which already manifests in students. The daily prayers are an example of that, he points out. "Our's is the only residential college for arts and science courses on a gurukula pattern," Dr. Ilango says.
Even as spiritual education and discipline dominate, the institution does not lose sight of the modern challenges in education as several national and international seminars in varied disciplines are held in the campus every year. Students have the opportunity to experience the `earn while you learn' concept and they are also engaged in working on agricultural fields.
Physical development gets good attention here as students are exposed to games and extra-curricular activities as stressed by Swami Vivekananda. The moment of pride for the college, according to the Bursar, M. Senthilvelan, came when around 430 NSS students were taken for bandobust duty by the police during the 2001 elections.
Whenever a calamity strikes the State, the students are out on social work to help the affected. The recent one was the help they rendered in the tsunami-hit districts for burial and cremation of the dead.
"We fix noble ideas in the minds of our students. The 65 faculty members shape them perfectly in this temple of learning. This is an institution of renaissance and a role model in the MKU region," says Dean, R. Sevvel.
Shastry V Mallady.
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