St Xavier’s College Ahmedabad has become the first college in Gujarat to have been accredited five stars by NAAC. Recently, the college notched another laurel by becoming the only institute in the state to secure a place in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings 2022.
Established in 1955, this college offers undergraduate programmes in Arts-Humanities, Sciences, Computer Sciences and Commerce.
Principal Fr (Dr) Lancelot D’Cruz is a botanist and has been actively involved in administration since 2009. “Xavier’s is not just a college. It is a way of life. We strive for holistic growth and that leads to transformation. While setting goals for professional competence, we work on inculcation of personal virtues such as integrity and social inclusivity,” as he explains.
The NIRF ranking places St Xavier’s Ahmedabad in the 52nd spot among 100 chosen colleges. The final score is awarded only after a thorough survey conducted across a large category of employers and professionals from reputed organizations to ascertain their preference for graduates of different institutions.
Father Sunil Macwan, Assistant Professor of English, outlined the importance of Ignatian pedagogy in Jesuit education: “At the core, we still adhere to the 500-year-old teaching of St Ignatius. The emphasis is placed on developing people with a moral conscience. Our idea is to educate the whole person, head and heart, intellect and feelings. We send our students for assignments in minority communities, underprivileged areas and tribal belts to understand the need to bring about progress on a large scale.”
Of the five autonomous colleges in Gujarat, St. Xavier’s is also the only college to secure an A+ Grade in National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Out of seven criteria, the college received over 3.5 scores in five categories.
The College is credited with a distinguished alumnus. Among others are Zydus-Cadila MD Pankaj Patel, entrepreneur Ruzan Khambhatta, industrialist Beena Handa, Lalbhai Group’s Sanjay Lalbhai, snooker champion Geet Sethi, Swami Tadrupanand Saraswati of Chinmayanand Ashram, Gujarati author Raghuvir Chaudhary and Plasma Research Institute’s director, Dr Abhijeet Sen.
According to Mallika Sanyan, vice-principal and HOD Science Department, there has never been a case of ragging on the campus. She is also the internal quality assurance coordinator for the college. “Each senior is given the responsibility to help newcomers with admission and hand hold a fresher for a smooth transition. This is a way of inculcating a feeling of ownership in people that this is your responsibility,” she adds. As first lady vice-principal in the history of St. Xavier’s College, she is also a former student and stresses the need to celebrate each student for his/her strengths and weaknesses.
For Professor Pinky Desai from the Economics department, the association goes back to her student days. “Being humble and compassionate is equally or sometimes, more important than being smart. Every teacher undergoes an Ignatian pedagogy session to impart the values that St. Xavier’s stands for,” she chips in.
Likewise, Dr Sheetal Joshi from the department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, states the college builds in a knack for research and intensive studies. “Most times, students lack in-depth knowledge. We train analytical thinking and the ability to question. Be it Dalit literature, history of feminism or struggles of LGBTQIA community, we cover issues that matter,” has been her takeaways on the core strength of St Xaviers, Ahmedabad.
Psychology student Saloni Gami considers education at St. Xavier’s College is special as it goes beyond academics. “The focus is not just on academics but holistic growth. Students here are not rated on their marks but on how compassionate they are towards their classmates and the community as a whole. I’m lucky to be studying here!”
Literature student Aanchal Mohnani said, “Xavier’s College provides a family-like environment for the students to grow, explore and inculcate new habits. It’s in actual fact a second home to me.”