Ahmedabad University’s commitment to excellence involves improving the quality of access to higher education for students from diverse social groups. We believe that a varied student body reflects not only the inclusive ethos of the institution, but will help us to tap into newer reserves of social and cultural experience. Openness to underrepresented groups makes us a stronger academic institution.
The pastoral community of Gujarat are one such group whose children are largely absent from institutions of higher learning in India. Many are pastoralists who live in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat in India, and in the Sindh region of Pakistan. They are nomadic and go where it rains to feed their sheep and goats. Alongside shepherding, some people of this group, especially in North Gujarat, practice agriculture. The traditional dress, culinary habits, craftsmanship and songs of the community has attracted many researchers to visit them. Their population in India is approximately five lakhs, and their literacy rate remains low. While there are a few organisations motivating the students to appear for competitive examinations, no organisation works towards helping them gain access to institutions of higher learning.
Ahmedabad University’s access programme aims to address this lacuna by making students aware of the possibilities and opportunities that may await them in fields as diverse, engineering, technology, science, management and the liberal arts, including professional and research options in such fields. This is also a means by which Ahmedabad University contributes back to the needy sections of the society.
The participants are school children planning to appear for the Class Twelve examination in March 2019, and will be selected based on the grades obtained in their Class Eleven results. Students from all streams, viz., science, commerce and humanities, will be chosen. The University provides food, accommodation and travel free of cost to the selected students, enabling them to come to the University and back from their residences.
The students get the opportunity to interact with the Vice Chancellor, Deans and Associate Deans of the various Schools, faculty members and current students. They also participate in several events designed to cultivate their interests in a variety of fields, like engineering, arts and management, and life sciences, as well as to interact with the students’ clubs.