Pathways cell helps poor students of humanities courses get rewarding jobs

It is a common belief that career opportunities for those who pursue B.Sc, B.Com and B.A. courses are limited. The Pathways Training and Placement Cell at Sahyadri College, a government college in Shimoga city, has debunked this notion and has proved that, with proper training and guidance, the students enrolled for degree programmes in Basic Science, Humanities and Commerce can also pursue research in reputed institutes and get rewarding jobs.

With the objective of providing skill-based training and access to higher education for students from marginalised sections of society, the Ford Foundation and Foundation for Academic Excellence and Access (FAEA) established Pathways Cell at Sahyadri College in the year 2002. Every year, 30 meritorious students who have enrolled for first year B.A., B.Sc, B.Com and BBM programmes in the college will be selected as Pathways trainees through a written test. They will be paid an annual scholarship of Rs. 5,000 till the completion of their undergraduate course. Apart from this, training in soft skills will be provided for them regularly.

B.C. Patil, Director of Pathways Cell, told The Hindu that a large number of meritorious students from mofussil centres and rural areas lack self-esteem. The Pathways Cell will help them to overcome this problem by providing intense training for them in communication skills and personality development. The students will get an opportunity to interact with achievers in various fields. Abid Hussain, former Ambassador to the U.S., and Mohini Giri, ex-Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, have interacted with the students here, he said. By the time of the completion of their degree programme, the Pathways trainees attain proficiency in computer operations, communication skills and general knowledge. Multinational companies visit the Pathways Cell every year to recruit students. Many students are serving in high positions in IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Standard Chartered Bank. Some are serving as officers in leading public sector banks.

Research projects

With the objective of developing interest among the students in research activities, the Pathways undertakes research projects regularly. A socio-economic survey on Shimoga-Harihar railway line, survey on biodiversity in and around Sinduwadi village in Tirthahalli taluk, and research on the functioning of Nemmadi Kendras were some of the projects undertaken.Many of the trainees have enrolled for research works in prestigious institutes. Mamatha N. was selected to do her Ph.D. at Trinity College, Dublin. She has won the British Royal Commission fellowship and is pursuing her post-doctoral research in England now. Another student, D.H.K. Murthy, has enrolled for a research project at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

Psychometric tests will be conducted regularly to help the students to assess their capabilities and shortcomings. Award-winning films will be screened and group discussions will be held on them later. The students pursuing fifth and sixth semester of degree courses will take initiatives in these activities.

At present, Kuvempu University is looking after the administrative expense of the Pathways Cell. The amount necessary for training programmes and scholarships is mobilised in the form of donations from the alumni of the Pathways Cell and philanthropists. Apart from donating a part of their earnings for their alma mater, the alumni also motivate and guide the students here by interacting with them regularly.

Nikitha K.M., a Pathways trainee, said that she had learnt the skills and values necessary to lead a successful life. Sindhu S.P., a B.Sc student, says that the Pathways Cell has created the right platform for the students to share knowledge.