17 Nov 2023  |   04:31am IST

Tapping the true potential of Goan students

Every year on November 17, International Students’ Day is celebrated all around the world. Students are the future and backbone of every society and shoulder a huge responsibility. Are Goan students in pursuit for knowledge beyond their prescribed syllabus?
Tapping the true potential of Goan students

Dolcy D’Cruz


riginally, International Students’ Day is a day to remember the students who died in World War II, but today it is held to highlight the importance of education for all students with the goal to ensure that every child in the world has access to education. The student community in Goa has been fearless and active, often spearheading various agitations over the years including Half Ticket, Marks Scandal, Language Agitation and Opinion Poll. People’s movements like the Protests against Coal, Railway Double Tracking Issue, and even Campaign to Save Mollem Forests have seen active and robust participation of Goan youth.

However, for the students to be active and relate to different issues haunting Goa, they should be well informed, observing and learning from whatever happens around them, the nation as well as the world. With the advancement of means of technology and communication, these students have the advantage of reaching out to students, mentors and professionals across the globe.

Dr Vishvesh Kandolkar, Vice principal of Goa College of Architecture, Panjim informs that the students are generally far more open to learning and realise that it is a competitive world out there. The students recently participated in the Annual NASA Design Competition (ANDC) by National Association of Students’ of Architecture India by creating ‘Ektaay’, a pavilion at Taleigao, as a tribute to the lives lost in road accidents in the state. “The students did a very interesting Ektaay Exhibition Pavilion which is created with discarded rubber tyres, bamboo, jute, agro net, coarse grave and tiles and scraped car parts. It is a national level competition and this is something that is out of the syllabus,” says Dr Vishvesh.

He adds, “The students have a positive outlook and they know it is a dog eat dog world and they want to enhance their knowledge before stepping into the profession. “More than often we hear the conversation that this generation is only into their mobiles but that is not true. There is a need to go beyond what the schools and colleges are teaching as they have to invest in creating their own identity. They have the drive and as teachers we need to save their aspirations and fulfil our role of backing them up.”

Dr Glenis Mendonça is an assistant professor of English at Carmel College for Women, Nuvem, which also organised Muzganchem Fest at the college. The programmes in the college are organised by the Student's Council with guidance from teachers in charge of the event. “My students belong to varied backgrounds. Some are from very affluent, economically sound with a good foundation in holistic education, some in foreign lands. These are quite vocal and proactive. They are a handful. Some are average and alert to society's happenings. But they need to be motivated and mentored to be proactive. Yet, others are totally in their own soap opera world. Everything happens in their silent life, and the world can exist simultaneously without them knowing. However, in all this, the teacher is their lighthouse, giving them direction and mentorship to be proactive and responsible citizens,” says Dr Glenis.

Goa College of Engineering, Ponda, motivates students to think beyond their textbooks and the students are constantly ideating and making progress in the practical world. Purti Savardekar, an assistant professor in the Electronics and Telecommunication department, is proud of her students’ achievements. “There are many students who start making the right connections from the first year of college itself and they are not just limited to Goa. For the fourth year students, it is compulsory for them to do an internship in the seventh semester. Through the official channel, they approach leading companies and complete their internships. The students are well focused on their career opportunities and some feel that the syllabus is outdated compared to the information they get from the industry. They want hands-on training and are hungry for information. LinkedIn is a great platform for them to look for opportunities. Though they are still students in the college, there are many who are working part-time and creating apps and games. They are implementing their knowledge immediately,” says Purti.

Wilfred Goes, Principal-Goa College of Art has noticed the pros and cons when it comes to exposure to the interest of artistic students. “Art requires new ideas and unfortunately, many students fall back on Google, images from the internet and Pinterest and get influenced rather than coming up with their own ideas. There is over-dependency on technology and nearly 50 percent students are using these as shortcuts to create artworks. They are supposed to come up with brilliant ideas to form their own individual style,” says Wilfred.

Recently, two classes of second year and third year students, created 60 different posters related to road safety awareness for a competition organised by the Goa Traffic Cell. “The final year students of Applied Art have to constantly create art and the teachers have to be consulted at every stage. We have to alert them if we have seen something familiar and coax them to come out with new art and report their progress. Teachers have to encourage students for better results,” says Wilfred.

Dr Cosma Fernandes, professor and Head of Department of Konkani at MES Vasant Joshi College of Arts & Commerce, Zuarinagar, feels that there is an equal percentage of students who look beyond their syllabus and those who want only to score marks with their college studies. “In this competitive world, few students want to learn beyond their syllabus. The New Education Policy (NEP) once implemented will bring about a change. Mental preparedness is important for students and even for languages, there are hardly any students who will make the effort to read other short stories. Compared to a few years back, there are more programmes and activities being organised in colleges. To get accreditation from NAAC, there is more pressure on the colleges, administration, teachers, students and staff to do better,” explains Dr Cosmo.

“Earlier, students were more sensitive to different issues beyond the classroom and till date, the students are enjoying the benefits. The students have to get more involved from the grassroots level by participating in programmes in their villages and even attending and contributing to the Gram Sabha meetings at the Panchayats. Students have and can take the lead,” says Cosmo.

Goan students have great potential and have time and again proven themselves by breaking barriers with their achievements in different fields. With proper direction to them, they can bring about a drastic change in the state and nation at large.


Idhar Udhar