Idealistic Vs Practical Faculty

While pursuing my Bachelor of Arts (B.A.,) course at Andhra Loyola College (ALC) with specializations in English Literature, History and Political Science; had a unique experience with a set of two faculty members for one of the prominent academic disciplines. Both these faculty members were good personally and were highly committed to their academic profession. In-fact, all the students’ in my class/batch admired them for their commitment towards the profession and concern towards the students’. I’m sure most of the students must have had been admiring them over the years.

The funniest thing which we – as the students observed and remember for ever silently is; while one faculty was too ‘idealistic’, the other was very ‘practical in nature and outlook’!! While the ‘idealistic faculty member’ used to take classes from the first year on-wards, the ‘practical outlook faculty’ used to teach us for second year. And, both of them, used to teach together for the final year as per my memory.

The ‘idealistic faculty’ was well qualified in terms of academic qualifications than his ‘practical outlook colleague’. But, the ‘idealistic faculty’ without any hesitation used to acknowledge the academic caliber of his ‘practical outlook colleague’, which is a positive sign.

Interestingly, the ‘practical outlook faculty’ seemed to have observed over the years that his ‘idealistic colleague’ was infusing (either intentionally or unintentionally, due to his academic immaturity) altogether one fundamentally wrong perception towards the understanding of the discipline, to the students. But, the ‘practical outlook faculty’ seemed to have never argued about this as a matter of professional etiquette with his ‘idealistic colleague’!!

How the ‘practical outlook faculty’ used to deal with this entire episode is altogether interesting forever to remember and appreciate!! After receiving students during second year of B.A., the ‘practical outlook faculty’ used to intentionally test, question, probe and dispel slowly how we developed/understood/constructed/imbibed one fundamentally wrong perception towards the understanding of the academic discipline; silently without pointing figure towards his ‘idealistic colleague’!! Thus, we were saved, if we were prudent enough to visualize his logical reasoning!!

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Jesuits at Andhra Loyola College

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post that the Andhra Loyola College (ALC) is maintained and administered by the Jesuit community; I further felt, it would be appropriate to recollect some of my observations from various dimensions about this community. All those who have no exposure towards the Catholic way of life, worship, services offered by them, etc sees a unique position on entering ALC and it takes some time to adopt and adjust to the situation and surroundings.

Catholic sect is one of the most predominant sects within Christianity, the other being Protestant. There is a kind of arch-rivalry between these two sects historically due to various factors. Catholic priests remains and adopts monastery way of life, by renouncing regular way of life, without marriage, giving-up material wealth and pleasures of the world, etc. There are different congregations associated or/and recognized by the Catholic Church at the Vatican level. Society of Jesus (SJ) is one among them.

SJ is a male priest congregation serving the humanity in the higher educational sector across the globe. In other words, those who wish to become a Jesuit (a member of a SJ is popularly recognized and called as Jesuit) should associate with it at an appropriate age and grew-up in the ladder by completing various stages. Two such prominent stages are: first to get eligibility for Catholic priest-hood after years of dedicated training in various modes and the second to prove caliber in any of the prominent academic faculty disciplines. Thus, the SJ community is a well trained and composed section in these two dimensions.

Apart from SJ community, there exists other regular faculty in large number to impart education to the students and administer the ALC. In other-words SJ community is limited only to certain extent; like, it acts as the prime administering agency, etc. SJ community’s presence can be felt at ALC in various forms, like a few SJ priests are declared to be faculty of various disciplines along with regular faculty, some other SJ persons also attend regular classes as students along with other regular students, etc. Thus, the ALC administration and activities goes-on amidst of the various SJ persons!!

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As the SJ community leads the college in various forms, one can observe them in various dimensions. The prime focus of the observers would be to judge about their monastic way of life!! Every-person has certain pre-conception of monastic life, based on such perceptions the silent judgment of the SJ community goes-on. But, the long associating persons with the ALC, like teaching or non-teaching staff would be able to know much about them. Thus, they would be the better judges of them, when compared to the others like the students’. But, students’ too have their own way of understanding, observation and judgment towards SJ community!!

Primarily, monastic life is a well conditioned life, like in this instance attempting to ‘imitate the Jesus Christ’, which is a hard task even to the well trained priests, like the Catholics!!

Invariable certain way of comparison between and among various SJ persons comes into picture, as one can find more than one SJ in various forms in the day to day activities of ALC. Some SJ persons becomes every close, acts honestly, moves friendly, acts professionally, behave as per their acquired training modes, etc. All these are positive dimensions. The negative dimension of SJ community too existed and sounds horrible to some.

Some of the most recognized negative shades of the SJ community persons, which are perceived to be not in tune with their monastic way of life are as follows: going after materialistic things in various forms, getting addicted to various unexpected things, behaving in a rude manner with both the students and faculty, behaving with others depending upon the stature of the person, behaving in a inhumane way (by assuming themselves as equal to middle ages European Catholic autocrats), possessing unnecessary and irrelevant self-esteem, elitist feeling (as a result looking down others as ‘lay persons’), possessing varying degrees of both superiority and inferiority complexes, taking advantage of the system for un-due favors (in guise), etc.

It was well pointed out, informally (in a gossip manner) that the SJ community persons can be ‘well maintained’ by ‘acting well with them’. In other words, most of the persons at ALC attempts to pose utmost reverence towards the SJ community, in order to have a good sail for one’s day to day activities and to get one’s required things done by them. Thus, the non-SJ community attempts to ‘condition their behavior and actions’ in order to suit the SJ community persons. This type of predominant ‘conditioned dealing’ of non-SJ section with the SJ section is also a unique one, as one may not usually behave and deal with others in the wider society!!

Transformation of Andhra Loyola College from Elite to Ordinary Institution

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.

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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!!