Kelkar College, Mumbai

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By GET THE LOWDOWN ON THE INSTITUTE OF THE WEEK Sudipta Basu Rupali Repale, swimmer, remembers her days at Kelkar College As told to Sudipta Basu
  • Published 4.05.05
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Vital Statistics
WHAT IS IT? Junior and degree college.
WHO?S THE BOSS? Dr G.T. Paradkar, principal.
HOW TO GET IN? At the junior college level, the cut-off mark is 88 per cent in science, 78 per cent in commerce and 60 per cent in arts. The cut-off for degree courses is 65 to 70 per cent.
HOW CHEAP IS IT? The annual fee for the degree courses ranges between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,500 per annum. For junior college it is between Rs 600 and Rs 1000 per annum.
WHERE TO STAY? The college has no hostel.
WHERE IS IT? Kelkar Education Trust?s V.G. Vaze College of Science, Arts and Commerce, Mulund East, Mumbai.

Kelkar Education Trust?s V.G. Vaze College of Science, Arts and Commerce, V.G. Vaze College, or simply, Kelkar College, is situated in a quiet residential area of Mulund in the distant suburbs of Mumbai. The campus is bereft of the glamour that soaks the air of many colleges in downtown Mumbai.

Most students travel here from the neighbouring suburbs. The institution was founded in 1984 by the Kelkar Education Trust to provide an opportunity for higher education to meritorious middle class students in the suburbs.

Widely recognised

The college received permanent affiliation from the University of Mumbai in 1990 and a UGC recognition thereafter. It was the first affiliated arts, science and commerce institution in the state to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) set up by the UGC. It has been bestowed with a ?five-star? grade. In September last year, it was the only college affiliated to the University of Mumbai to have received the College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) award from the UGC.

?More than these achievements, we are proud to be one of the few colleges around that run without any donation from the students,? says Dr G.T. Paradkar, principal. Dr Paradkar feels the need to address the vacuum that is felt by students who do not make it to professional colleges and have to take up degree courses only as a second choice.

Kelkar College started a degree course in biotechnology in 1994, after setting up special labs for the purpose. The lab has been equipped to undertake research in areas relating to medical, aromatic, cosmetic and environmental biotechnology. The trust has also set up a scientific research centre in biotechnology. A state-of-the-art cosmetology research and testing laboratory has been started to promote entrepreneurship and industry interface.

New courses

From the next academic session, the college will start a two-year postgraduate diploma in perfumery and cosmetics. Science students who have had chemistry as one of the subjects at the BSc level are eligible to apply for the course. To prepare for this, three students have been sent to France for a year?s training followed by another year at Plymouth University, UK. ?It is an opportunity for students to develop an aptitude for research,? says Dr Paradkar.

Social awareness

The college has a thinktank called the Vaze Research Group (VRG). Every week, the group picks a topic for debate and discussion, after which a newsletter is brought out. This core group has been involved in preparing data on civic amenities for the Thane municipality. It has conducted studies on contamination of cold drinks, demonstrated the way to prepare vermi-compost to local farmers and was also consultant for a project on providing bio remedies for cleaning up lakes.

But it is not all work and no play at Kelkar. As Sonal Patel, one of the students of junior college, says, ?The teachers are strict and they push us to exhibit out talents in the annual festival. The one thing some of us miss is after-college activities. There are no caf?s or fast-food joints near the college, where we can hang out. Our only recourse is the canteen.? The signature annual cultural event of the college is Dimensions, much awaited by the students of this and neighbouring colleges.

Old memories

I attended the junior college and thereafter studied for my BA degree at Kelkar between 1997 and 2003. I will be eternally grateful to the institution for supporting me in my endeavour to pursue swimming.

I had to be away for long stretches to undergo training and the college?s administration was very understanding about that. Because I hardly ever got time to attend lectures, the professors would provide me with lecture notes and reference books so that I could make up for my absence.

The college is very academically inclined, but equally vibrant in extra-curricular activities. Students are encouraged to participate in the annual festival. Many ex-students of the college are actively involved in Marathi theatre and cinema.