Founded in 1914 by Late Shri Jamnalal Bajaj, Shiksha mandal, Wardha runs seven colleges in Wardha/ Nagpur, with around 10,000 students. These include colleges for commerce, science, agriculture, engineering (polytechnic), and rural services. Shiksha mandal’s mission is to provide high quality education at an affordable cost. It was set up to develop human resources for national development and it strives to fulfil its mandate. All the colleges are in the throes of development, both academic and infrastructural. Its affiliating University recently rated Ramkrishna Bajaj College of Agriculture as ‘A’.
ASTN Engineering Polytechnic has invested Rs. 1.6 Crore to double its space and upgrade its laboratories. JB College has a new Biotechnology and Microbiology Lab, and a Girls’ Hostel. Ten Shiksha mandal faculty members received project grants in the year FY2012, as against three last year. Almost 30% of the faculty in the colleges are Ph.Ds. During FY2012, they produced over 68 papers in journals and 15 books. The topper in the XII Commerce Board Exam from Vidarbha was from its GS College, Nagpur, as was the topper in Nagpur University’s MBA course.
Guidance for appearing in the Common Proficiency Test of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India was started at GS College, Wardha and a 50% result was achieved in it, compared to 20% nationally and 2% in Wardha. Similar results were achieved at GS College, Nagpur. A vegetable vendor’s daughter and an auto rickshaw driver’s daughter were amongst the qualifiers. Meritorious students from low-income families are given full remission of fees.
In FY2012, three of its students won medals in power lifting at a national level. Over 40 students represented the University and 30 students represented Maharashtra in various sporting events.
Shiksha Mandal has a very strong National Service Scheme (NSS) culture, and camps are held in villages. Students built a house for a destitute woman during one such camp this year.
Eminent alumni of Shiksha mandal include Shri Nitin Gadkari, Shri Harish Salve, Justice Ravi Deshpande, Shri Udayan Sen (CEO Deloitte India), Shri Ramesh Chandak (MD KEC International), and Shri Jaydeep Shah (President ICAI).
A new Bajaj Institute of Technology is being planned at Wardha. It is expected to cost Rs. 50 Crore, which is being funded by Bajaj Trusts. A retired General Manager from Bajaj Auto has been given responsibility for its development. The Institute is expected to set new standards in developing industry-ready students. Bajaj Group Trusts have donated Rs. 13.5 Crore to Shiksha mandal in the last four years. Refer web link: www.shikshamandal.org
Functioning for the last five years, Bajaj Science Centre (BSC) nurtures a culture amongst school children for learning science through experiments. Its value is now clearly understood. For its 230 vacancies this year 1,160 students gave the entrance test compared to 835 students last year. BSC had 486 students participating in its programs during FY2012; some of them won prestigious scholarships/awards.
Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Ex-Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Chairman, Rajeev Gandhi Science and Technology Commission, visited BSC to understand its functioning and explore the possibility of establishing similar institutions at the district level in Maharashtra.
A new four-day training programme for science teachers, aimed at improving the teaching of science in schools, was started; 20 teachers from various schools, mostly outside Wardha, participated in it. Bajaj Trusts spent Rs. 20 Lacs on BSC during FY2012.
During the year FY2012, Institute of Gandhian Studies (Gandhi Vichar Parishad), Wardha organized:
(a) Post Graduate Diploma Course in Gandhian Thought for students from different parts of India and abroad
(b) Orientation Camp Classes on Gandhian Thought for Medical Students
(c) University Students’ Camps at the regional and national level
(d) International Non-violence Day and Related Programs
(e) Ravindra Varma Memorial Lecture on Gandhi and Contemporary Non-Violent Action
(f) Inauguration of Silver Jubilee Year
(g) Inter Religious Study Course on the Concept of Love in Religions and its Practical Applications
(h) Special training programme for Gandhi International, France
(i) Publications, and other programs.