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Girls College in Punjab

Photographer: Raminder Pal Singh

 

Baba Aya Singh Riarki College is a self-governed institution with the principle ‘Free Education - No Donation’. The college was founded by Principal Swaran Singh Virk in 1976 when 14 girls began to learn 'Gyani' (lit: knowledge in Punjabi) religious studies.

 

Now over 5,000 female students study at the college where they gain not only a quality education but also are taught ethics and religious values with no discrimination on the basis of caste or religion. Many students have topped their exams and appeared in merit lists, year after year, apart from excelling in religious studies.

 

The main principle of the Baba Aya Singh Riarki College is that graduated students teach their junior colleagues and take care of the college’s management, which includes accounting, conducting exams, managing the kitchen, cleaning and maintaining the school.

 

Principal Swaran Singh Virk says that finances for the college are generated from its own organic dairy farm and from student hostel’s fees.

 

As a deterrent to mass copying during exams which has been a problem at the Baba Aya Singh Riarki College, the management has put a money prize worth 21,000 Indian Rupees (about 323 US dollars or 280 euro) to anyone who catches students cheating.

 

The college won several awards like ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Punjab Government or ‘Mahatam Gandhi’ national award from Madhya Pradesh Government for self-governance, best education, moral, ethical, discipline, social and religious values. All of the financial awards have complemented the institution's finances, says the principal.