As a part of the curriculum, the bio-science departments of the College conduct educational tours from time to time. Departments of Anthropology, Botany and Zoology organise tours to several places rich in bio diversity during several times of the year. That beside, several other departments like Economics, Mathematics, Geography, History, Political Science, Sanskrit, Philosophy and so on conduct educational tours from time to time. One-day trips to various landmark sites like Jorasanko Thakurbari, Marble Palace, Botanical Garden and so on are organised as cultural tours for the students. Educational tour is a way of life in New Alipore College, as the teachers over here believe that such tours complement the knowledge imparted in the classroom. In what follows, a brief sketch of the activity-matrix with regard to educational tours is given for some of the departments of the College.
Department of Anthropology conducts fieldworks with its students mainly among the tribes and caste groups of Purulia, Susunia, Jhargram, Malda and Piyali Island. The tribes include the Santals and the Sabars. These fieldworks, which encompass an insider view to the maximum possible extent, aim at a detailed and intimate understanding of the context of social actions and relations. The students are made to note down their experiences and findings in the form of an ‘ethnography’, which is the written account and analysis of a culture or society based on ‘participant observation’.
The department also conducts archaeological outdoor surveys in the fields where prehistoric information are available, such as Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram, Ghatsila, Santiniketan, Galudi and so on. Through these surveys a number of studies are carried out, viz. Geomorphological study, excavation or trial trench and collection of artefacts and stone tools. Another phase of local field study is carried out to know the basic requirement of museum in studying the theory of material culture of ancient period. In another stage, outdoor survey involves temple study to know about architectural involvement and the theory of social, economic and political systems of ancient times.
As a part of the curriculum of Botany Honours and General courses, Educational Tours are conducted by the Department of Botany at different times of the year.
Students of 1st Semester Botany Honours are often taken to nearby Rabindra Sarobar Lake in order to observe and collect the fungal and algal specimens. A large number of fungi like Ganoderma, Schizophyllum, Polyporous, Agaricus are abundantly found in Rabindra Sarobar Lake which has a rich variety of algae.
As the plains of Dooars region falls in a different phytogeographical region of India, this area is usually chosen for botanical excursion of 2nd year Botany Honours students. Dooars are the floodplains and foothills of the eastern Himalayas in Northeast India around Bhutan. Students are taken to South Khairbari Nature Park, a place rich in arboreal plants and orchids. Triumfetta rhomboidea, Leucas aspera and other plants are collected. Shorea robusta is the most frequently found tree in this jungle. Jayanti hills, Pukhri hills, Rajabhatkhawa and Choto Mahakal hills are some of the other places that the students covered. Peristrophe, Bidens, lichen, Gliechenia, Polypodium, Ampilopteris, Dendrobium are the exclusive flora observed here. After collection of each day’s specimens, teachers take classes in the evening and the students are taught the herbarium techniques and plants collected are identified.
The Department of Zoology organises a number of long educational tours and local excursions as per the curriculum of the University of Calcutta.
In long tours, the students are taken to places like wildlife sanctuaries, bird sanctuaries, sea shores, etc. to study biodiversity of different animals and their natural habitat. Garumara National Park, Manglajori Bird Sanctuary and Gopalpore-on-sea are some of the places that are selected to this end.
Every year both Honours and General students are taken to Alipore Zoological Garden to pursue behavioural studies of different animals and also to gather information about ex-situ conservation of various endangered and threatened animal species.
Students are made to visit any one of the Commercially Run Farms like fishery farm, poultry farm, sericulture hub, etc. to gather hands-on experience on some basic technical knowhow in regard to applied branches of Zoology. The students also visit Nature Park, Taratala, to gather knowledge on sewerage fed fisheries run by Mudiali Fishermen’s Association.
Students are also taken to Indian Museum every year for studying adaptive features as well as evolutionary aspects of different extinct and existing animal species.
The Honours students are made to prepare one Environmental Audit Report on any one or more species available in the local area for which repeated visits are conducted to any specific local area on different seasons. This year such an audit report has been made on seasonal variations of different birds at Panchasayar Lake, Garia.
All these studies finally culminate in different project reports the students prepare under mentorship of faculty members of the department. Held under the guidance of the faculty members, these excursions help the students enrich their knowledge in various fields of Zoology.
Every year the teachers of the Department of Economics plan an engaging trip for their students to some place in and around Kolkata to acquaint them with the paraphernalia of empirical studies. Shaped in the form of field study by way of communication with local people, this trip is meant to brighten the young minds and stimulate their way of thinking. Students are encouraged to make projects based on the case studies on production units of various scales. Questionnaire is made for the workers as well as the entrepreneurs in order that an analytical case study can be framed as to the challenges faced by these production units and the ways to overcome them.
The Department of Political Science often organises one-day field trips to the State Legislative Assembly for its Honours students. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the students to gather first hand information about the functioning of the legislative assembly which forms an essential part of their Honours syllabus.
That apart, the teachers organise excursions for the students of the department. Some of them are one-day trips to a nearby spot like to the Indian Museum, Kolkata - a multipurpose and multi-disciplinary institution of national importance. Often, excursions are held in some faraway areas.
The Department of Education successfully organises educational excursions every year. The purpose of the outdoor expedition is to educate the students in more innovative manner in an informal environment. Educational trips organised by the department provide ample opportunities to the students to be aware of the history of education, education systems, teaching methods, etc. It also helps in developing the power of observation, exploration, judgment, inference-drawing, problem solving ability and leadership amongst students.
Given that educational philosophy and educational ideals of Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi are parts of the syllabus for the Honours students, visits to Jorasanko Thakurbari, Ancestral House of Swami Vivekananda and Barrackpore-Gandhi Museum are organised every year. Repertoires of valuable educative and learning materials, these museums offer a very enriching experience for the students.
The Department of Education has chosen Purulia district of West Bengal as the destination for educational excursion because this district has rich cultural heritage with socio-cultural values in pristine forms and tribal habitation which is a source of multipurpose environmental education as per the concerning subject matter.
Every year the Department of History organises an educational tour for its Honours students to historical places like Bishnupur, Murshidabad, Rupnarayanpur – Kalyaneshwari, Santiniketan and so on. Such a tour is generally a one-night stay. It is indeed a wonderful experience to visit the historical sites with the students. The educational tours are of utmost importance for the students because they are able to visualise the temples or other such artefacts with which they can reconcile whatever they have learnt from the text books. The educational tour is optional for the History students but they enjoy the tour immensely. The Department also organises one-day educational tours to places like the Victoria Memorial, the Indian Museum, the Asiatic Society and so on.
To explore industrial application of the chemical compounds, Department of Chemistry organised an industrial tour on 15 January 2019 at Greenply Factory, near Shirakol, Diamond Harbour Road. Forty-two Chemistry Honours students and all faculty members visited the factory. HR manager of the factory addressed the student and explained the functioning of this unit. Later, the Assistant Manager explained all the operational steps involved in the conversion of raw materials into the final commercial product. He also highlighted the chemistry and chemicals behind each step as well as quality control process of the product. This trip was extremely helpful to our students in terms of practical knowledge about different analytical instruments and chemicals involved in the plywood industry. This trip is also regarded as helpful to them in finding placement opportunities in such industries.