KOCHI: It was a battle many would not even have the courage to wage.
Yet, when Mathew P A decided nothing could deter him from fulfilling his dream to set up a college in his hometown Punalur, where the last college came up 50 years ago, he did not realise that it would involve him fighting against the powers that be for three long years shuttling between AKG Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, and the Kerala High Court in Kochi for permission to open the institution.
The story of the hapless edu-preneur, first reported by Express on August 7, 2017, finally has a happy ending. As Mathew wrote in his post: “In the battle between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins - not through strength but through perseverance.”
Looking back on his three-year-long battle, Mathew narrates: “On a July morning in 2016, I took the elevator in the High Court for the first time to the seventh floor where the judge was hearing my case. I never imagined that I would be taking the same elevator regularly for the next three years. Black robe-wearing advocates arguing cases, which were deciding the lives of many, became a familiar sight. They taught me tomorrow never comes because we can appeal and stop the Sun from rising. In fact, the sun did not rise for me for the next three years.”
“The brilliant advocate of the University made sure that I was in a dark tunnel. Despite nine High Court judges hearing the case, in spite of getting five verdicts in my favour to start the college, in spite of the Chief Justice ordering that the college must be given permission, I was inside the dark tunnel from July 2016 to May 2019,” he said.
Mathew, who has drained his financial resources, now has the daunting task of attracting students to the new college, Grace International Academy, named after his mother. The college, affiliated to Kerala University, offers three courses - BCom Computer, BCom Finance and BBA.
“The speciality of the course is that students will be able to pursue career-oriented professional programmes simultaneously. For BCom students there are CA-CPT, CMA, CIMA training along with the graduation programme. There will also be live projects and internship which will enhance the employability skills,” he said.
The academy will also be focusing on building skills in the areas of communication, personality, applied IT, English language proficiency and general awareness, he said.
“The essence of the programmes is designed to develop the skill sets which are equally essential to be successful in the real world,” said Mathew, who was the former head of the Department of Economics at Christ University, Bengaluru.