The second such college in the country, Satyabhama Devi College has been helping differently abled students fulfill their dreams of pursuing higher studies and preparing themselves for larger opportunities in life!
It was a proud moment for Odisha when Loma Swain represented the state in the International Karate Championship in 2016 at Sri Lanka and won the first prize. A student of Satyabhama Devi College in Bhubaneswar, Loma is hearing impaired. Though as equally skilled as many of the other participants from other countries at the championship, lack of facilities had earlier deterred her from giving her best performance. But last year, her hard work and provision of proper facilities helped her make a mark at the international championship. Not just Loma, another hearing/speech impaired student of the same college, Satyajit Tarai has also bagged the first prize in a national level Volleyball Championship at Chennai in April this year.
Satyabhama Devi College for the Hearing Impaired at Bhubaneswar, in fact, produces many such talents like Loma and Satyajit, who are generally considered to be unfit for such achievements owing to their disability. Interestingly, while there have always been many policies and programmes made for the differently abled persons, there were hardly any special educational institutions that took care of their higher studies beyond minimum school education.
It was in the year 2007 that this college was established to impart education to hearing and speech impaired students. This initiative has, since then, helped many differently abled students to fulfill their dreams of pursuing higher studies and preparing them for larger opportunities in life.
Established on 12th October 2007, this is the first ever college for the hearing impaired in Odisha and the second in the country. It started with the state government allowing the Satyabhama Devi Welfare Trust (SDWT) to initially start the institute with 64 seats at the Plus Two level in the Arts stream with subjects like Computer Science, Political Science, Economics and History. Gradually, Plus Three classes were added to the curriculum.
Right from the second year of its establishment, the students of this college have given 100% academic result. The college has since then continued to show a record of good academic results. Besides good results, the students are also getting placed in various government and private sector jobs after completion of their course.
Rosy Subudhi who hails from Berhampur says, “Earlier, we had very limited job opportunities in the government and private sectors. We also did not have any scope to pursue higher studies. As a minimum qualification of 10+2 or an undergraduate degree is required to be eligible for a job in any sector, people like us used to lose out on the opportunities due to lack of educational facilities.
When I got to know about this college in 2007, I took an admission here and completed the 10+2 degree in the year 2009. I also applied for Sikhya Sahayak teacher post in the same year and got selected for it. It has been eight years now since I started working on my current job.”
Pradeep Hota of the same college also cracked the State Bank of India (SBI) examination this year. Happy to have achieved what he wanted, he says, “It is one of the best initiatives taken by the state government as it helps persons like us to make our career. It is because of this college that I could obtain my education and further meet the eligibility criteria of SBI exams.”
With 55 students enrolled in the Plus 2 classes and 47 seats already filled up for the undergraduate session this year, the college has been doing remarkably well academically till now. Beginning this year too, the college will grant honours for all subject for the undergraduate students.
Besides academics, the students of this college have also been showing exceptional talent in other curricular activities like sports, dance, singing and other activities. A student of the college, Manoj Tarai was recently selected for Volleyball Championship to be held at Japan. Unfortunately, he could not participate in the championship given a lack of support from the state government.
Although the college has been successfully imparting education to these differently abled students to equip them to live independent lives, it has also been looking for support from the state government to help its students pursue a career in different fields.
“Even though our constitution makes a provision for equal opportunity for all, it has failed to be executed in practice. Persons with disabilities find it difficult to read in a normal college and those with hearing and speaking impairment need to be taught using sign language. But thankfully, this college now helps them complete their education. It is with this idea that we started this college in Bhubaneswar. We have seen tremendous response among the students and many students have been benefitted by this college,” SDWT Managing Trustee Pabitra Mohan Patjoshi sums up.