Estd. in 1879
First Women's College in Asia
Reaccredited at the 'A' Level by NAAC (Cycle 2), 2015
Bethune College has been placed in the 77th position in the College Category in NIRF ranking (2021). It is the only Government College from West Bengal to feature among the first hundred colleges in the country.
DBT Star College
Received financial support under the DBT Star College Scheme of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in 2020
As a college that was established primarily because
a student wanted to study further, Bethune College, has always had
students at its core, defining and distinctively shaping an institution
of national repute in its long journey of 142 years. Students, past and
present, give to this heritage institution its unique character.
Bethune College Alumni Association, Sammilani, an autonomous body, has always taken a keen interest in the activities of the College and extends its best efforts for the betterment of the Institution and its learners. The members, besides coming up with ideas about the welfare and upliftment of the College, also come forward with financial assistance whenever needed and participate in the cultural and academic activities of the college. Alumni website: www.bethunesammilani.org
One of the key contributions of the Alumni Association of Bethune College has been making it possible for Calcutta University to recognize Chandramukhi's rare achievement of being the first woman passing the F.A. Examination in 1877. Again, Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar's gift, the signed copy of Collected Works of Shakespeare, was traced in Dehradun, the ancestral home of Smt Chandramukhi Basu and restored to Bethune College in 2015 by the members of Sammilani.
In the recent past, we have past students like Dr Aditi Sen De and Dr. Neena Gupta who have won the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize. Our students achieve several ranks at the University level examinations every year, carrying forward the legacy of their illustrious seniors. They excel in Sports, Priyadarshini Das, an ex student, being a National Level Table Tennis Player.
The college that was established with a vision of empowering women with education has indeed shaped generations of students equipped not only to engage with the world around them but to effect changes for the better. The presence of an apolitical Students' body, rare of its kind, adds to the affable atmosphere in the College. Students work harmoniously with the College administration and the Teacher's Council for the sustenance and enhancement of the academic and cultural ethos of the College.
Best Practices of the Institution
Best Practice I
- Title of the Practice
Organising Seminars on luminaries of the Bengal Renaissance.
- Objective of the Practice
The main objective has been to bring into being a generation of Indian women who, inspired by their glorious heritage would combine dignity with forthrightness, have minds that are truly illuminated, and can become dynamic, mature and large hearted citizens of the world in the truest sense of the term. It is our goal that the pupils of this College should not only have a deep human commitment, and hearts where there is a place for all, but be able to create a space for themselves transcending their subaltern status.
- The Context
Change is the only constant thing in the world, and this is perhaps truer for the present moment than for any other moment of history. Today, with the technological explosion, India is passing through a crucial transitional phase. Whether in communication or education, in professional opportunities or lifestyle, we witness a radical change. A change is seen even in those basic human values which are non-ephemeral.
An uncritical fascination with the Occident is seducing our best brains westward. Nostalgia should never be overpowering but we think the students of Bethune College must be cognizant of the rich heritage not only of their college but also of West Bengal and India. Since Bethune College is no ordinary institute but the first Women's college in this part of the world it is only natural that its pupils should not only be made aware of their glorious legacy but be encouraged to carry it forward.
- The Practice
It has been a continuous tradition of Bethune College to organize commemorative programmes as a tribute to the eminent personalities through centenary and sesquicentennial birth anniversary of luminaries, many of them being leading figures of the Bengal Renaissance. On certain occasions exhibitions are also arranged in order to give the students a feel of the time and familiarise them with the lives of these great men and women. Commemorative volumes dedicated to these luminaries are regularly published.
In the earlier part of this decade, 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and Acharya Prafulla Chandra have been celebrated.
In keeping with the aim of acquainting our students with their rich heritage, Bethune College organises a memorial lecture to honour the memory of John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune, the founding father of the Institution, every year on the 12th of August. Bethune was an immensely important figure during the Bengal Renaissance for ushering in the era of women's empowerment through education. Distinguished scholars belonging to various walks of life deliver enlightening talks on this occasion every year.
In the academic session 2019-20,the Bi-centennial Birth Anniversary of Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar was commemorated through various events and programmes. Week-long exhibition on "Bridging the Renaissance Era and the Post-Renaissance Freedom Movement of India: Commemorating Vidyasagar and Gandhi" was held. On 26.11.2019, hour long Paragraph writing competition involving the spontaneous participation of 197 students was held on Vidyasagar's role as an administrator, educationist and social reformer. The first three award winning entries were published in the Vidyasagar volume of College Magazine, Adiganta.
In continuity with the celebrations a One Day State Level Seminar funded by the Higher Education Department, Government of West Bengal on Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar- Revisiting the Renaissance Man was organized on 11.2.2020 by the departments of Philosophy, History, Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali. Eminent academicians from different fields deliberated on the topic and enriched the audience during the occasion. Ishwar Parabare, a collection of essays on Vidyasagar by renowned scholars, edited by Principal, Bethune College, was formally released by the Minister of Higher Education on 26.9.2020, on 200th Birthday of Pandit Vidyasagar.
During 2018-19, Bethune College acted as the nodal college for the Kolkata district in celebration of the Sampriti Saptaha, an initiative of the Government of West Bengal, commemorating the 125th anniversary of Chicago speech delivered by Swami Vivekananda.
A week-long program was organized from 11.09.2018-17.09.2018 in collaboration with RKM Swami Vivekananda's Ancestral Home and Cultural Centre where more than 25 colleges took part. Various theme-based activities like essay writing competition, elocution competition, poster painting competition, seminar, workshop and quiz competition were conducted. Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Dr. Shashi Panja graced the Valedictory session.
A commemorative programme to celebrate Sister Nivedita's 150th Birth Anniversary was held from December 2016 to February 2017. Opening Ceremony along with inauguration of a seven day long exhibition on life and times of Sister Nivedita and cultural programme took place in the presence of dignitaries. Subsequently, inter college competitions, Old age home Visit and series of lectures were held as part of the programme. A book dedicated to her, Mahasweta Nivedita was also published.
These lectures seminars, exhibitions and commemorative volumes have served and will continue to serve as a rich source of enlightenment and edification for our students. They give the students the required exposure - over and above classroom study - to a range of issues which have both direct reference to current social, political and ideological questions and remind them of their invaluable heritage.
- Evidence of Success
Our students have proved that they have been inspired by the glorious example set by these great men and women. By enthusiastically participating in the various events like creative writing, debate, poster painting and cultural programmes they have demonstrated that they welcome progress and revere their heritage. The students have internalized the philosophy of these noble personalities to enrich their own lives by emulating their examples as far as possible. We are confident that our pupils will be able to clear a space for themselves transcending their marginalised status as women and amalgamate Western and Eastern values into a new, imaginative synthesis.
- Problems Encountered and Resources
It is difficult to acquaint the students with their rich historical past in the presence of an ever changing present. The College strives to inculcate the fast disappearing moral values of compassion, humility, industriousness and tolerance in our pupils' minds so that they become better human beings in the truest sense of the term. We require an active participation from the student community; more number of seminar halls fully equipped with audiovisual aids and trained personnel for handling the audiovisual equipments and more generous allocation of funds.
Best Practice II
- Title of the Practice
Conservation and documentation of wild biodiversity in the College campus and establishment of medicinal plant garden within the College campus.
- Objectives of the Practice
- Conservation of wild, ornamental, rare and endangered species. This helps in inculcating the interest, awareness and responsibility towards our environment and its protection for sustainable development and also to maintain greenery in our campus.
- Establishment of medicinal plant garden which is beneficial for generating attention and responsiveness among students, to popularise the values of medicinal plants for primary healthcare.
- The Context
- Qualitative and quantitative study of floral and faunal components in and around the College campus.
- Vegetational mapping and tree profiling of Canopy Cover.
- Cytological study of a few species of Ficus with Barcoding, some of them is important niche for fruit bat and rock bee population.
- Preservation of voucher specimens (plants) in the College Herbarium including photo documentation of biodiversity components identified in the College campus and surroundings.
- Endeavour to establish a medicinal plant garden of at least 20 medicinal plants.
- The Practice
The wild flora and fauna in the College campus and its surroundings have already been documented as a first step towards its conservation. It has always been a continuous effort of Bethune College to add to the greenery of the campus. Voucher specimens (plants) have been preserved in the College herbarium and Digital photo Documentation of Biodiversity components identified in the College campus and its surroundings have been done. An attempt has also been made to utilise tissue culture methods (micropropagation) to develop some over exploited medicinal plants (like Bacopamonnieri, common name Brahmi) which would protect these from getting depleted due to continuous extraction of active principles from such plants. Some important medicinal plants are maintained in flowering pots.
In February 2020, UG and PG students of Botany and Zoology along with their faculty members conducted a survey to prepare PEOPLES' BIODIVERSITY REGISTER under the initiative of West Bengal Biodiversity Board (WBBB). Biodiversity Register (PBR) is a document which contains comprehensive information on locally available Bio-resources including landscape and demography of a particular area or village. The PBR for Kolkata Municipal Corporation Ward no.26 was documented and prepared by Bethune College. The work was initiated in February 2020 covering Bethune College and its surrounding areas. Landscape, lifescape and peoplescape data were collected for the entire ward no. 26.
- Evidence of Success
It has been possible to document more than 30 plants, some of which are roosting sites of fruit bats and nesting areas of squirrels, crows, mynas, bees and ants. A medicinal plant garden has been reared within the College campus where some species of medicinal plants like the Murraya exotica L., Herpestes monnieria (L.) Kunth, Rauvolfia serpentina (L) Benth., Rauvolfiatetraphylla L., Kaempferia galanga L., Rhoeo discolor L. are maintained.
The data for PBR survey was finally documented and the report was submitted to WBBB in August 2020.
- Problems Encountered and Resources Required
- Lack of land areas with proper sunlight throughout the day is an impediment for proper growth of the plants.
- More number of skilled labour and fund to develop and maintain the medicinal plant garden in a large scale is required by the College.
- Up gradation of the Tissue Culture
laboratory in the college is required on a
large scale which would be beneficial for
in-vitro conservation of the plants.
Other Best Practices: During Lockdown
During 2020, with the breaking of the pandemic, preparation and distribution of sanitizers was the need of the hour. Bethune College took a special drive in this regard and prepared sanitizers in the laboratory of the department of Chemistry under the able leadership of the faculty members with the help of the non teaching staff of the department. Sanitizers were distributed among the Teaching and Non teaching staff of Bethune College. However, the college did not restrict itself in distributing the sanitizers to only the staff only; an initiative was also taken to distribute the bottles to the local people in the surrounding neighbourhood.
They Make Us Proud
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