Fired with the single clear idea of providing ‘affordable education’ to the youth of their own little towns and cities along the Konkan coast, a number of educated, socially motivated philanthropists who had made their living in Bombay got together and formed the South Konkan Education Society in Sawantwadi in 1944. With the patronage of the then Rajmata of Sawantwadi, Rani Parvati Devi, the Rani Parvati Devi College of Arts and Science was started in Sawantwadi in 1945. However, due to an outbreak of malaria in Sawantwadi and an inadequate number of students in the college, in 1948 it was decided to shift the college to Belgaum and put it under the able control of similar minded local philanthropists and educationists like Dr. G. V. Herekar, Shri Annasaheb Latthe, Shri Vasantrao Herwadkar, Shri Baburao Thakur, and others. Their noble intentions got a further boost when the Maharaja of Jamkhandi, Rajesaheb Patwardhan, offered them his summer palace to house the college. Thus, today the Society’s campus sprawls over 10 acres of land, including a playground, botanical garden and a number of buildings housing the various courses offered. In addition, the Society is also in possession of 22 acres of land consisting of a mango grove and other trees.
Under the able guidance of Dr. Y. K. Prabhu, Shri Chaturdas Shah, Shri S. B. Nadkarni and a galaxy of reputed and able administrators, as well as munificent donors, the college went from strength to strength. Thus in 1966, the R.P.D. College of Arts and Science was bifurcated into the R.P.D. College of Arts and the Govindram Seksaria Science College. In 1993, the Commerce Degree Section of the RPD College was started as a self-financed institution. The PU section was added in 2003. In 2007, two other courses BBA and BCA were started. In 2009, the Society entered the ‘post graduate field’ with the introduction of M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry, in 2010, M.A. in English was started (had to be discontinued in 2014) and M. Sc in Biology in 2015.
Today, the Society runs educational institutions offering education from KG to PG. Two Marathi and two Kannada medium schools offer good education in the mother tongue up to SSLC. The P.U. courses in Science, Arts and Commerce prepare the students for professional and non-professional courses. Within the campus itself, the students can join the graduate courses in Arts, Commerce and Science and also Courses in Business Management and Computer Applications, M. Sc (Organic Chemistry) and M. Sc. (Biology). Certificate courses in ‘Kannada for Non-kannada students’ and in ‘Yoga Studies’, for students and for the general public, speak volumes about the concern of the South Konkan Education Society for truly “Empowering the Individual with Knowledge”.
To further help deserving but needy students, the S.K.E. Society has set up the South Konkan Empowerment Charitable Foundation out of its own resources, and gives scholarships and prizes every year to meritorious as well as to needy students. Generous donations to this fund from Col. Ramnathkar, Shri A.K. Kalburgi, Shri U. A. Digikar and many other donors including Staff and Management members, have helped the Society to enhance the assistance given every year.
A number of buildings have been constructed with the assistance of U.G.C., alumni, members, staff and well wishers. So, we have the Parulkar building, Ghotage Bhavan, K. M. Giri Hall and a number of rooms and laboratories donated by benefactors.
Thus the South Konkan Education Society has tried and will continue to live up to the dream of its founding fathers to provide affordable education to all those who come to its portals and to empower each individual with knowledge so that he can become a better citizen of our nation and of society.