Scholarships and awards for the best students are passé, a college in Bihta, 30km from Bihar’s capital Patna, will now reward academic performance with manure.
GJ College, Rambag in Bihta, under Magadh University, recently set up a vermicompost plant in its campus capable of producing 33 quintals of manure a month. The top academic performers at the college will be given a packet of manure to use on their farms.
“Awarding manure to poor students is a project under the college’s community extension programme and it will also help them improve agricultural produce,” said principal Kumar Rajiv Ranjan.
The college has students from over two dozen neighbouring villages, and a majority of them belong to poor families that rely on agriculture to make ends meet. Students of non-farming backgrounds will also get manure packs, but will be tasked to help with planting and maintaining trees on roadsides.
The college will keep track of their work with a record of photos of the trees planted and their location.
The vermicompost unit, likely to be inaugurated by June-end, will also serve as a disposal pit for leaves and other organic products of over 400 trees on the 18-acre campus. The college is also considering providing manure to needy farmers whose wards do not study there, in addition to offering technical help in setting up similar units in their villages.
The enterprising college, which today has just 10 teachers for over 4,000 students, has decided to introduce hi-tech classrooms for the five subjects that have no teachers. “It will run both chalk-and-duster type and touch-screen smart classes based on UGC-recommended learning software,” said Ranjan.