Loyola College & University
The inauguration of Loyola College in Manvi took place 17th January 2015. The inauguration marked the official opening of this incredible building that provides 6th form and degree education for the Manvi students, many of whom we are sponsoring. The building stands out majestically on the landscape and represents the first University built primarily for Dalits. The inauguration ceremony and programme of dance was a great and memorable occasion. Many dignitaries were invited including the Diocesan Bishop, a former Home Minister and several other politicians from all parties. Over 3000 people travelled from all around to be part of this special day.
We interviewed Fr Eric and Fr Maxim in 2009 and asked Fr Eric his ambitions for the Mission? He said that his dream was to provide a university for Dalits within 25 years. His dream became a reality rather sooner than that and the funds were found to dig foundations and start building floor by floor. The first classrooms were occupied in 2012 and the building was completed three years later. This incredible building represents a culmination of the Fathers' vision for elevating and empowering the Dalits. Since the Mission began the Fathers and teachers have had great belief in the students' abilities that has been, and is being realised as a result of years of hard work on the part of the students and their lecturers.
Father Vinod has been leading the College for three years; he has worked tirelessly as he has also been the Finance Director for the Mission. He can be seen here addressing the dignitaries on stage, at which time he was worried about losing his voice as he was suffering with a fever - this was later diagnosed as typhoid fever!
All students must pass their 10th Standard exams in order to qualify for 6th form so their focus is very much on their studies in this crucial year. In India 6th form is called PU (Pre-University). Once admitted into 6th form the students work hard to pass their exams at the end of each year in order to be accepted onto a degree course followed by a Master's Degree. The potential salaries are so much greater with a Master's Degree so students are encouraged to aim for this qualification if it is financially possible. Some seats at university are given freely for Dalits if they are able to pass a Government exam that requires special tuition. Several Manvi students have sat this particular exam and got their free seat at other universities in the State so then they just have to find their hostel fees and living expenses. We found out that the fees for both 6th form and degree courses are much higher than students in BKG to 10th Std, because the teachers' salaries increase dramatically at this stage. All students in the College are still required to contribute whatever they can afford, but this depends on the financial situation of their parents that can change every year depending on the success of the harvest, or not. The College needs to accept students from neighbouring high schools who are richer and can afford the full fees, in order to partially subsidise the poorer students whose contributions are limited.