Sriballav and Sunanda Panigrahi foundation, formed in 2021 in the memory of noted leader of Odisha Late Sriballav Panigrahi and his wife, educationist Late Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi has started Spoken English Classes at Govt. Women’s College Sambalpur. This is the first program/initiative of the foundation and is in association with the ‘Mo College’ initiative.
The inauguration ceremony was held today at the Govt. Women’s College premises in Sambalpur. The classes were inaugurated by the Director of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Sambalpur Prof. Mahadeo Jaiswal in the presence of Prof. Rajashree Baral, Principal, Govt. Women’s College. The well attended programme had a lot of students and prominent citizens of Sambalpur in the audience.
Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi retired as Reader in English from this college at the end of 2005. Smt. Panigrahi had served for over 25 years at this college and had dedicated her life to the cause of teaching. She was a very popular teacher and was known for the dedication and discipline she exhibited towards her profession. Despite several health issues, she continued to teach dedicatedly.
Sunanda Panigrahi Memorial Spoken English classes will be free of charge and are aimed at Under Graduate and Post Graduate students, studying in the college. Each batch will consist of about 40 students who will be get training in improving their communicative English skills. These classes aim at equipping students with English speaking skills, enabling them to get better opportunities when they pass out from the college.
A small photo presentation was made on the life and times of Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi. Many pictures of her days in the college were showcased.
Prof. Jaiswal lauded the initiative of the foundation in reaching out to the students of Govt. Women’s College Sambalpur, through these classes. He talked about Women’s education in detail and lamented about the poor place of India in the Women Development Index where India is ranked at 127 out of 146 countries according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Report, 2023. He also talked about his own initiatives at IIM Sambalpur, wherein it obtained India’s best gender diversity (50% in 2019) across all IIMs. This has actually become a case study and has transformed the gender diversity across all IIMs. He also talked about the simplicity of late Sriballav Panigrahi, who despite being a Member of Parliament, stayed in the 2 roomed quarter allocated to his wife Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi in the Women’s College Campus.
Chairperson of the foundation, Dr. Raseswari Panigrahi, former MLA of Sambalpur, addressed the gathering through a video message because of her indisposition. She talked about Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi and her dedication to her profession despite her ill health. She exhorted the students to take advantage of the classes.
Managing Trustee of the foundation, noted Non-Resident Odia, Priyadarshee Panigrahi (son of late Sriballav & Sunanda Panigrahi) spoke about the aims and objectives of the foundation and reminisced about his mother’s (Smt. Panigrahi) days as a teacher in the Govt. Women’s College. He talked about the importance given to education by both his parents and how the foundation aims to contribute bringing about change in the society.
The function was presided over by the Principal of the college Prof. Rajashree Baral and coordinated by ‘Mo College’ Coordinator Jogesh Chandra Bhoi. Principal Prof. Baral was very happy that the foundation had chosen Govt. Women’s College Sambalpur to start its teaching initiatives.
Other prominent speakers were:
Dr. Uma, administrative Bursar hoped that students will take full advantage of the course
Director of the course Dr. Kamdeba Sahoo, who has pioneered communicative English in the region, gave out the details of the course to the audience.
Senior Journalist Subhas Panigrahi talked about Smt. Sunanda Panigrahi’s association and relationship with the college. He also thanked sons of Sriballav & Sunanda Panigrahi : Priyadarshee & Rajarshi of taking up good causes and keeping the memories of their parents alive.
Senior Journalist and advisor to the Sriballav & Sunanda Panigrahi foundation Siba Sankar Nanda, offered the vote of thanks and appreciated the cooperation received from the college authorities in starting these classes.
Sriballav & Sunanda Panigrahi Foundation seeks to promote values and ideals that were close to the hearts of Sriballav & Sunanda Panigrahi. Among other things, it will aim to promote probity in public life, good governance and try to empower the marginalized and deprived sections of the society, particularly through education. The flagship program of the foundation, the annual ‘Sriballav Panigrahi Memorial Lecture’ will be held in December, 2023 as per the foundation.