Estd. in 1879

First Women's College in Asia



Reaccredited at the 'A' Level by NAAC (Cycle 2), 2015


NIRF Ranking

Bethune College has been placed in the 74th position in the College Category in NIRF ranking (2022). It is the only Government College from West Bengal to feature among the first hundred colleges in the country.


DBT Star College

Received financial support under the DBT Star College Scheme of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in 2020
Institutional Distinctiveness

Bethune College Archives:

Insight into the journey of women’s education and emancipation

Bethune College Archives, inaugurated in 2006 with support from the Government of West Bengal is a repository of valuable and rare manuscripts, photographs, maps, coins, and archaeological remains excavated from the campus. An Advisory Board was formed with members from the college and State and National Archives. Presently, the Archives holds 240 files out of which 145 are digitized, laminated and enlisted. The Archives contain rare documents dating to the inception of the college in 1879. Some of the rare documents in the Archives include Appointment of a Clerk for the college (1900), letters relating to Managing Committee and College Hostel (1911-1914), letters written by Pritilata Waddedar (1930s), documents relating to Kalpana Dutta and Simon Commission (1930). Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s letter to Chandramukhi Basu, one of the first two women graduates of the University of Calcutta and Chandramukhi Basu’s letter to the Government, are also part of the Archives. Some rare books in the college Archives dating from 1765 include A Journey from Persia to England, Interesting Historical Events, Memoirs of Central India and Indo Aryans.
The Archives contain documents tracing the history of women’s education and emancipation, as well as, their changing position in society in colonial India. Many women revolutionaries fighting against the British administration in early 20th century were students of Bethune College. The Archives thus records the changing contours of sociopolitical history of contemporary India.
These documents are an invaluable source of information for mapping the history of women’s education and empowerment. Visitors to the Archives include researchers from West Bengal and abroad working in this field.


Best Practices of the Institution

Best Practice I

  1. Title of the Practice
  2. Objective of the Practice
    Bethune College, a pioneer institution, committed to the cause of women's education for 143 years, has been imparting impartial and inclusive education to women from diverse social, cultural, economic and linguistic backgrounds. The institution aims to create learning spaces where financial and social disadvantages do not impede a student's education, development and growth. The college acknowledges diversity and creates opportunities for women from all sectors so that they may be educated and empowered. Women are encouraged to transform into dynamic global citizens who are intellectually stimulated, technologically equipped, socially aware, and sympathetic by providing holistic education.
  3. The Context
    Despite major changes worldwide in the condition of women, large gender gaps exist in terms of access to and continuation of education in many settings. Poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, disability, early marriage, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women, are among the many obstacles that stand in the way of women fully exercising their right to benefit from education. Conscious, compassionate and competent women, empowered with education can build stable, resilient societies that are likely to provide everyone with equal opportunity to realize their full potential. Bethune College believes in providing inclusive, safe learning environments for women from diverse social and economic backgrounds so that they may evolve as leaders and agents of social change who make a significant contribution in all spheres of national and global life.
  4. The Practice
    The college is known for providing quality education at a nominal cost. Bethune College has been ranked 6th in terms of low fees in the entire country according to a survey conducted by India Today (2022). The institution works for access and inclusivity in higher education by providing equal opportunity to all students despite their diverse backgrounds, empowering them with leadership skills, human values, intellectual and emotional abilities.

    Students receive financial support from various government and non-government sources. The college also has a Students' Aid fund which is maintained with contributions from teaching staff and students. 241 students have benefitted from the Students' Aid Fund of the college between 2017-2022. There are several Endowment Funds created by the alumni and well-wishers of the College. The income generated from these funds is utilized for stipends for deserving and needy students.

    To accommodate diversity, the Backward Class and Minority Cell of the college, along with the Human Rights Cell organize regular sensitization programmes. The college provides adequate infrastructure for Persons with disabilities. Ramps, lifts, wheelchairs and braille books are available for differently-abled students. Most courses are taught in both English, Hindi and Bengali for the benefit of students from different linguistic backgrounds. The college has an alert and active grievance redressal system which provides a secure, gender sensitive and empowering learning environment. Psychological Counselling is provided to students, if found necessary, to improve their sense of well-being and alleviate feelings of distress. In 2020-22, about 120 individual sessions were conducted for the students.

    The college provides value-based education through courses on Ethics and Bratachari and imparts soft-skills through programmes conducted by the Career Counselling Cell and WEBEL Certificate Course. It promotes leadership qualities in students through the Students' Committee that organizes various events in the college. Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities through the clubs like Literary Club, Film and Debate Club, Photography Club, Drama Club, Painting Club. Very often these activities recognize and nurture great talent. Students are nominated as office bearers of each club and they work under the guidance of teacher advisors. Student representatives are included in certain important bodies of the college like IQAC, Backward Class and Minority Cell, Anti Ragging Committee and Students' Committee. Students are also encouraged to voice their opinions through meetings and feedback systems.

    The Career Counselling Cell connects students with potential employers, empowering them through employability, making them economically active citizens.

  5. Evidence of Success
  • Our students perform consistently well in examinations. As many as 42 students have secured ranks between 1-10 in University examinations between 2017-2019.
  • The college provides an education that is imbued with a sense of social responsibility. 83 community outreach programmes organized by NSS unit of the college during 2017-2022 have been instrumental in developing a sense of giving it back to the community. During the pandemic, the NSS Unit along with an NGO extended support to the poor people of Sundarbans by distributing food items in April 2020. They also visited slums and distributed clothes, sanitizers and masks.
  • As part of institutional social responsibility, students of the college formed the Covid Squad in April 2021. About 116 requisitions for ICU beds, blood, ambulance services were resolved by the Covid Squad.
  • More than 86 students were selected through the Career Counselling Cell of the college (2017-22).
  • No case of ragging has been reported in the college.
  • Despite belonging to diverse backgrounds, the college has been nurturing ground for students, who, as alumni have provided financial support and encouragement in terms of donations, endowments and prizes. The alumni are actively involved with different academic and cultural activities of the college.
  1. Problems Encountered and Resources Required
    Many development programmes in the college require financial assistance and as a purely government institution, the college has no scope for fundraising from private sectors. Enhanced infrastructural support is needed to make the teaching-learning process even more effective. The college faces major challenges in terms of maintenance of the age-old Heritage structure and introducing new infrastructural facilities. It becomes very difficult to organise different programmes for students given the time constraint due to the Semester system.

Best Practice II

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  1. Title of the Practice
    Conservation and Documentation of wild biodiversity in the College Campus and Establishment of Medicinal Plant Garden within the college campus.
  2. Objectives of the Practice
    Conservation of wild, ornamental, rare and endangered species. This helps in inculcating the interest, awareness and responsibility towards our environment and its protection for sustainable development and also to maintain greenery in our campus. Establishment of medicinal plant garden which is beneficial for generating attention and responsiveness among students, to popularise the values of medicinal plants for primary healthcare.
  1. The Context
  2. Qualitative and quantitative study of floral and faunal components in and around the College campus. Vegetational mapping and tree profiling of Canopy Cover. Cytological study of a few species of Ficus with Barcoding, some of them is important niche for fruit bat and rock bee population. Preservation of voucher specimens (plants) in the College Herbarium including photo documentation of biodiversity components identified in the College campus and surroundings. Endeavour to establish a medicinal plant garden of at least 20 medicinal plants.
  1. The Practice
    The wild flora and fauna in the College campus and its surroundings have already been documented as a first step towards its conservation. It has always been a continuous effort of Bethune College to add to the greenery of the campus. Voucher specimens (plants) have been preserved in the College herbarium and Digital photo Documentation of Biodiversity components identified in the College campus and its surroundings have been done. An attempt has also been made to utilize tissue culture methods (micropropagation) to develop some over exploited medicinal plants (like Bacopa monnieri, common name Brahmi) which would protect these from getting depleted due to continuous extraction of active principles from such plants. Some important medicinal plants are maintained in flowering pots.

    In February 2020, UG and PG students of Botany and Zoology along with their faculty members conducted a survey to prepare PEOPLES' BIODIVERSITY REGISTER under the initiative of West Bengal Biodiversity Board (WBBB). Biodiversity Register (PBR) is a document which contains comprehensive information on locally available Bio resources including landscape and demography of a particular area or village. The PBR for Kolkata Municipal Corporation Ward no.26 was documented and prepared by Bethune College. The work was initiated in February 2020 covering Bethune College and its surrounding areas. Landscape, lifescape and peoplescape data were collected for the entire ward no. 26. On 10.03.2022, an one day workshop on "Organic Compost Preparation-utilization of domestic waste" was organized by the NSS unit in collaboration with Department of Botany and Chemistry under DBT STAR College Scheme. Vegetable wastes were brought by students from their houses and college canteen and organic manure unit was created. A greenhouse has been built and is maintained by the Department of Botany.
  1. Evidence of Success
    It has been possible to document more than 30 plants, some of which are roosting sites of fruit bats and nesting areas of squirrels, crows, mynas, bees and ants. A medicinal plant garden has been reared within the College campus where about 40 species of medicinal plants like the (L.) Jack, Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R.Br., Rauvolfia serpentina (L) Benth., Barleia prionitis L., Kaempferia galanga L., Rhoeo discolor L. are maintained. The data for PBR survey was finally documented and the report was submitted to WBBB in August 2020.
  2. Problems Encountered and Resources Required
  3. Lack of land areas with proper sunlight throughout the day is an impediment for proper growth of the plants. More number of skilled labour and fund to develop and maintain the medicinal plant garden in a large scale is required by the College. Upgradation of the Tissue Culture laboratory in the college is required on a large scale which would be beneficial for in vitro conservation of the plants.

Other Best Practices: During Lockdown

Bethune College COVID RELIEF SQUAD- The country was severely affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. With thousands of people being infected daily in our state itself, standing by people and helping them was the need of the hour. Keeping such a thought in mind, the Bethune College COVID Squad initiative was started under the banner of Students' Activity Cell, Bethune College, on 28 April, 2021, with roughly twelve students from semesters four and six. It started with the purpose of providing help to the families of the students and staff of our college. However, as the group expanded, it started to extend help to people from all over the state. Ultimately, the group consisting of 60 student volunteers has been able to help almost 150 people till date with help of all kind, from oxygen cylinders and hospital beds to food facilities and RTPCR tests and lot more.

Sanitizer Preparation: In the wake of the pandemic in March 2020, preparation and distribution of sanitizers was the need of the hour. Bethune College took a special drive in this regard and prepared sanitizers in the laboratory of the department of Chemistry under the able leadership of the faculty members with the help of the non-teaching staff of the department. Sanitizers were distributed among the Teaching and Non-teaching staff of Bethune College. However, the college did not restrict itself in distributing the sanitizers to only the staff only; an initiative was also taken to distribute the bottles to the local people in the surrounding neighbourhood.

A vaccination drive for students and staff at Calcutta Medical College was undertaken by the institution on 5.10.2021.



Best Practices

Best Practice I

Best Practice II

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Some of our eminent achievers

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Illustrious Alumna

Illustrious Alumna of Bethune College, Kolkata 19th century- 20th century

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