Transforming the way we learn
Founded in 1860, and serving the nation since then, the prestigious St Xavier's College, Kolkata, has grown into a leading educational institution over the years. Both St Xavier's School and College are proud of their contribution to educational sector as well as the culture of Bengal.
These twin institutions have produced many great educationalists and students who earned regard and respect for their Alma Mater. Millennium Post in an exclusive interview with Rev Dr Dominic Savio, S J, Principal and Secretary, St Xavier's College (Autonomous) discussed this esteemed institute.
How has been your journey so far?
I was born in a middle class family, where my village was named after St Xavier. Having studied in a Jesuit school and college, my whole foundation was build in the likes of the Jesuit Community. My uncle and my mother has played a great role in my foundation as a Jesuit priest and a human being. I took the vows as a Jesuit to serve all human beings in this lifetime, and have been doing the same for last 23 years. St Xavier's was destined to happen, and so I joined this prestigious institution in 2000 as a teacher in Economics. In 2009, I became the Vice-Principal, in 2013 the Rector of St Xavier's Collegiate School, and finally in the year 2017 I took charge of the institute as the Principal.
Our real strength is our faculty, students, student's council and alumni. We constantly try to improve ourselves in order to serve the community with the best education. I am confident that with the support of Jesuit community, our students, staff, parents, alumni, well-wishers and benefactors, we will continue to flourish and serve the society at large.
Tell us about the new campus in Raghabpur...
There has been a significant achievement in the last 5 years, with regard to extension activities of the College is the setting up of Raghabpur Campus. Raghabpur, about 25 km away from the main campus, caters primarily to the academic needs of the 700 rural students. We have introduced Masters Degree, B Com Honors, BA General, BA History Hons, and Bengali this year.
This campus is 80% subsidised as compared to the main campus, with great faculty and infrastructure for the betterment of students. The building with 15,000 sq ft is ready with all infrastructure facilities and the medium of teaching is Bengali. In our main campus, St Xavier's College is the only undergraduate College in India with a responsibility of managing an Educational Multi Media Research Centre (EMMRC) of UGC.
We are a community of diverse people. How do you reach out to the students from various demographies?
The Counselling Cell of St Xavier's College provides personal and vocational guidance to students of all the departments of the College. There are Personal Counselling Sessions which are conducted at the Centre by qualified and experienced Counsellors to help students resolve any kind of problems that they might face. There are five counsellers appointed at the premises.
Besides career-related problems, personal issues are also dealt with great sensitivity. Confidentiality is a legal requirement of counselling, which is strictly maintained.
Confidence issues, choosing the right career path, making choices in the various parts of life, self-doubt, peer pressure, relationship issues are only some of the problems that young people often face. Thus the Counselling Cell provides a platform for students to pursue both their professional and personal goals with greater self-awareness, self-esteem, understanding and a focus.
What is your philosophy of leadership?
....to work conscientiously and creatively. St. Xavier's is a college where there is secularism maintained amongst the students, teachers, and professors. We are certain that it will further the prospects for an ongoing dialogue with our peers as we discover dimensions of the future of our College.
We are working towards introducing more Phd Courses along with the existing BA, MA and B.Ed courses. This will result in making us a research based institution, and in taking the legacy ahead – promoting a society based on love, freedom, liberty, justice, equality and fraternity.