Alphonsa College Thiruvambady is named after St. Alphonsa, who was a much loved teacher, and upholds the vision of St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara that ‘right education moulds right generation’. The motto of ACT is a quote from Holy Bible: ‘To Witness to the Truth’ (Jn. 18: 38) and it believes that proper education enables men to witness to the truth. ACT was established on 11th July 2014 by the Educational Trust of the Diocese of Thamarassery and is affiliated to the University of Calicut. The college, therefore, renders its service, nurturing love of God and service to humanity and bolstering eco-sensitiveness and pride in the nation.
The stated vision of the institution is the attainment of ‘the holistic development of the students through the dissemination of moral values and quality education’ and the stated mission of the institution is ‘to build up a community of staff and students which is morally upright, academically excellent, professionally competent, socially committed, emotionally motivated and economically viable’. Also the aims, objectives, motto and emblem of the institution make the distinctiveness of the institution.
Alphonsa College Thiruvambady is located in a picturesque ambience of Western Ghats and it offers an opportunity for graduation and post-graduation for the students from the south east hilly locations of the district of Calicut. Majority of the students of Alphonsa College Thiruvamabdy are the children of farmers or agricultural labourers belonging to economically and socially backward communities or minority communities. The aim of the Educational Trust of the Diocese of Thamarassery in establishing the institution was to render quality education for the children of farmers and daily labourers and thereby improve their economic condition, besides generating social and cultural reformation. Primarily, the Trust thought of enabling the ordinary farmers of the location by giving a platform for their youngsters to secure higher education that may enable them to catch up employment and thereby enhance their financial conditions. Secondly, the Trust thought of cultural, social and behavioural upheaval of the target communities through this institution.
Alphonsa College Thiruvambady has taken up the mission of transforming the society through two ways: Primarily, by imparting to its students the notions of equality, dignity and preferential option for the marginalized both by curricular as well as extra/co-curricular enlightening inputs. Secondly, the institution takes up a leading role to sensitise and assist the common people living in the hilly locations of the district towards empowerment.
The former aspect of Alphonsian mode of education is not mere content delivery, rather every student is exposed to real life problems and are assisted to seek solutions themselves with the guidance of the expertise of their teachers. Thus, education for an Alphonsian is not only theoretical perusal in a classroom session but also the actual application of it in daily life. Therefore, the student is initiated to skill development schemes, entrepreneurial programmes, soft skills, ICT training, initiations in sports and games, unearthing of cultural talents, developing leadership qualities, career orientation, organizational skills, professional skills, and management skills. Also the students are firmly rooted in human values like equality, justice, and peace, professional values like integrity, punctuality and discipline, social values like commitment, tolerance and empathy and religious values like faith in God, service to brethren and options for the poor. Further, all the extension programmes in the college are strictly decentralized where all the opinions and suggestions of all its stakeholders are listened to and appropriated. Further, all such activities are led by the students themselves.
The latter aspect of Alphonsian mode of education is unveiling of its social commitment. The institution offers skill development workshops on tailoring, craft works, embroidery, painting, cooking, soap and balm making, ornament making, cake baking and so on to the people nearby. Also counselling sessions are hosted by the institution focusing on school children which was a great help for the frustrated student groups in the time of covid-19, the pandemic. Also special training sessions are hosted for the target group that give information and formation in communication skills, computer and digital media literacy, leadership skills, financial literacy, digital literacy, eco-literacy, marketing skills, consciousness on gender equity, AIDS awareness, Swatchh Bharath awareness, Organic farming, anti-drug awareness, empowerment of women, responsible parenthood, family planning and so on. The values of secularism, fraternity, humanitarian concern, mutual respect, collaboration, patriotism and integrity are instilled to these people.
There are also projects outside the campus that make the institution a towering one that sheds light to all the communities nearby. Adivasi Colonies are visited by volunteering students often to help them to catch up with mainstream life. Anti-Drug Campaigns are usually organized in various places nearby by which the people are informed about the hazardousness of substance abuse. Poor homes and care homes are visited regularly by some volunteers to enkindle the races of hope to those abandoned ones. Disabled people and palliative patients are visited and helped by volunteers often. Projects like ‘A House for the Companion’ are conducted and the students contribute to it and facilitate other well wishers to do the same.
Thus, the distinctiveness of the institution is what caused its inception i. e., its care for the unprivileged minority community migrated to the hilly regions of south east region of the district of Calicut. It attempts to enhance the target community by imparting quality education to the youngsters and physical moral and spiritual support for the rest.