After completion of my Intermediate or Plus Two, I was in search of a good college for pursuing my further studies with preferred specializations in English Literature and Political Science at Vijayawada. In this process found two colleges for this purpose: S R R & C V R Government College and the Andhra Loyola College (ALC). After visiting these two colleges personally while submitting application forms, I got determined to pursue further studies at ALC only. Same time also developed some sort of instant dislike towards S R R & C V R campus too. As per my interest I took admission at ALC, though got admission at S R R & C V R Government College too.
Life at ALC is different and one can have some unique experiences. ALC was established and administered by the Jesuit Catholic community, which is well-known for its pioneer contribution to the higher education field across the globe. Thus, the standards are some-what entirely different. ALC had a unique history of its own – both recognized and unrecognized in various forms. ALC came up about on a hundred acres of land. The land was generously donated by various upper caste land-lords for the educational empowerment of the region. In my view the vision and aspirations of the land donors some-how got realized as some of the sections got well empowered educationally over the years!! Though the Jesuits proclaim that their prime focus would be empowering the marginalized or/and extending preference to the Catholics, as a minority educational institution, the upper castes got benefited well as the marginalized sections were not able to come up-to the level of higher education for most of the historical duration. But, somehow, there seems to be: some upper castes became uncomfortable with the monopoly of ALC in the region, which resulted in the establishment of other educational institutions in the City!! Even-then, ALC maintained its unique position and able to sustain on various parameters. Most of the persons preferred and prefers ALC for various reasons, though there are various other educational institutions across the City/region/state/county, etc.
The uniqueness of ALC stands in various forms, especially when compared to various other well established higher educational institutions. Most of the persons who studied at ALC admirers it in various forms: the discipline they learnt, the exposure they got (which helped them to occupy their cherished positions in life), some of the most exciting memorable life movements which they formed, high standards of education they received, etc makes them to admire ALC for life long. Sometimes, those who studied at ALC wished and made their children to graduate from this same institution, while others preferred some other institutions for various other factors.
Coming to my personal experiences and observations about ALC: I too had well cherished movements at this institution. In-fact, I too admire this institution for transforming my personality in some well required directions. Why all this so? ALC is certainly a unique place, when compared to most of the other educational institutions, especially which is available to us and Jesuit educational system is well appreciated too!! Thus, both these factors make ALC a unique and admirable destination. But, critics and its alumni are not satisfied with its standards over the past two decades or so.
Due to the privatization of higher education and transformation of students’ favoritism towards professional courses, the institutions like ALC started to score low and lose reputation to some extent. It was observed that only elite sections of society or upper castes only got educated at institutions like ALC or the Catholic institutions. But, due to the advent of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) into the Indian economy, the educational sector too had adverse impact. Institutions like ALC were not much adaptive towards the challenges and modes of innovations into the sector. As a result private educational institutions mushroomed with creative professional courses. Thus, in due course of time, due to the impact of LPG, institutions like ALC invariably without any intervention opened its portals to the lower sections of the society. In other words, there is a kind of shift in the educational sector: upper castes or élite sections started to associate with private educational institutions, while lower castes/sections were not able to get into the private educational institutions so easily, due to various factors like high fees, etc!!
ALC was basically established to offer higher education only to the male students; but, due to the drastic decline of students’ enrollment into various courses, its portals were opened to the female gender too. As per my present knowledge ALC became fully a co-educational institution and even a girl’s hostel too was established. This transformation itself stands as a testimony how ALC’s enrollment got decline during the LPG phase.
Some few years back I was attending ALC’s Alumni association meeting; it was prominently acknowledged by the Jesuit academic staff itself publicly that ALC no more stands synonymous with the elite sections of the society, due to various factors, like the one’s which I mentioned above. The same was acknowledged by one of the ALC’s internal survey report, which was published by the ALC internal News Circular!!