"Be self-reliant, be industrious
Work, gather wisdom and riches
All gets lost without knowledge
We become animal without wisdom
Sit idle no more, go, get education
End misery of the oppressed and forsaken
You've got a golden chance to learn
So learn and break the chains of caste
Throw away the brahman's scriptures fast" – Savitribai Phule
Maybe, it is this fear of woman's freedom and education that forces (mostly) male decision makers to shut down an illustrious college? Or, is there any other hidden agenda? Or, is it both?
The Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women (KPNW) college situated in Nampally, Hyderabad, offers quality technical education to women, empowering them to pursue professional careers and become confident and financially independent. One of the best part about this college is that it offers many diploma courses spanning over three yearsfor less than Rs.4,000 a year, making it affordable and accessible for many women especially from weaker sections of the society. Consider core areas like civil engineering, computer engineering, and electronics and communication engineering which would otherwise cost lakhs of rupees.
Screenshot of courses being offered, their fee and intake
This college is sponsored by the Exhibition Society and aided by the State Board for Technical Education and Training. The Society has established over 12 colleges since 1961 and guesswhat? KPNW was the first. Guess further what – It is also the first polytechnic college not just in India but entire Asia! KPNW has produced some brilliant engineers, architects, politicians, fashion designers, and food caterers over the last six decades. So, why is it being shut down now?
The reason being told is that there are not enough teachers/professors and even those that are there are all contractual. Additionally, the cancellation of the annual Numaish exhibition has resulted in no revenue to fund the college. When the Exhibition Society reached out to the state board for technical education, the latter decided to cancel the admissions for the upcoming year, without any discussion with the stakeholders, viz. alumni, current students, and faculty.
Swathi, an alumnus from KPNW, made a YouTube video elaborating all these details. She says that the very motto on which the Exhibition Society was formed is now being squandered. And, she is right! One look at their boastful website of repeated mentions of 30,000 trained women and their ode to the first honorary secretary is sufficient to add weight to Swathi's statement.
"The unstinted efforts of this team enabled the Exhibition Society to become an organization that provided encouragement to small industries, vocational training for women and establishing institutions for graduate and post-graduate education."
– Sri Shankerji, founding member of Osmania Graduates Association and Honorary Secretary, Exhibition Society
Okay, how much fund does KPNW need to sustain itself?
According to Swathi, the institute will require hardly Rs.1 crore a year. She also adds that this is not a lot of money for the government that has spent crores of money on temples (not to mention a new Secretariat, new vehicles, new buildings)and the most brilliant Kalyana Lakshmi Scheme with a budget of Rs.2,750 crore in 2021-22 (and the entire State technical education has budgetof Rs. 265 crore). Take a moment to let that sink in.
Now, we all know that Rs.1 crore a year is really no big deal for the government if it really wants to prioritize education. So, what is really stopping them? Also, this is a college that is offering employment to many teachers.What is stopping them from hiring them?
And, the most important question of all, who will benefit from the closure of this college?
How to support Swathi and KPNW?
The team has already met Sabitha Indra Reddy, the minister of state for education, who has offered her support. But, Swathi needs all of your support as well. Do tweet, share, RT the news links, and engage with them to ensure this important educational institute that offers livelihood to many women is not torn down. Tag ministers, decision makers and ask them to open admissions for KNPW.
"We shall overcome and success will be ours in the future. The future belongs to us." – Savitribai Phule