Affiliated to Lucknow University, Avadh Girls’ Degree College has been a pioneer in higher education and has gradually become one of the top five choices for women to pursue undergraduate degrees in arts and commerce in Lucknow.
Founded in 1958, it was originally called the Loreto Degree College until it was taken over by the Avadh Educational Society in 1976 and renamed Avadh Girls’ Degree College
Having churned out notable alumni in the past, I was excited to join the college that would help shape my future. But sadly, it hasn’t moved with the times and couldn’t keep up with the reformation of the education system.
Often pitted against Isabella Thoburn College, Avadh Girls’ Degree College falls behind in terms of infrastructure, with a measly one storey building lined with an insufficient number of classrooms. The college isn’t spacious, to say the least, and this is reflective of the fact that such little attention is paid to the development of government colleges.
Teachers are dedicated, but the college lacks a hands-on approach towards education. I had no industrial visits during my three years there nor was I provided the opportunity for an internship before graduating.
Also, there have been no significant academic reforms to change the quality of education, and the syllabus and exam pattern has been constant for several years now. Despite that, the professors did their best and were readily accessible, and even encouraged students to reach out to them during college hours.
Sports facilities were minimal; except for a basketball court, sports equipment were limited, and no time or attention was ever allotted to the activity. There was no sports teacher, and the responsibility of storing the equipment (in the storeroom) rested on the head girl. The college did, however, have an NSS group.
With no student groups to communicate the needs of the students to the authorities, there haven’t been any instances of protests. Also, there’s no redressal mechanism in place in case a student faced discrimination within the college premises.
The concept of LGBTQ rights is altogether foreign for the college, with no queer or trans community support groups. Not once did I come across an openly out lesbian, or bisexual student, nor am I aware if the college is inclusive of trans women. Studying in an environment where the college doesn’t recognise or makes an effort to acknowledge all kinds of sexuality must be alienating for women who haven’t come out yet.
However, being an all girl’s college with the entire teaching staff comprising of women I was spared from all the casual misogyny my friends in co-ed colleges complained about, something I was proud about. This was a big “screw-you” to all the misogynists who think women can’t run an institution!
There were other plus points, too. It was also the first college in Uttar Pradesh to install a sanitary napkin vending machine. It is also one of the few colleges in Lucknow that makes an attempt to bridge the cultural gap in today’s society with drama and debate clubs. It also held an annual cultural fest called “Nazrana-E-Avadh”, that is quite popular with the Lucknow youth, and the crowd brought in a mix of the vibrant city.
However, even though the college stands out among others due to its emphasis on cultural activities, it has a long way to go before it is considered one of the front-runners for arts and commerce. Reforming the current syllabus to bring it to the level of Delhi University, computerisation and offering a safe space for students will go a long way in bringing the institute at par with other colleges.