It was on March 13, 1923 that a cable was received from Britain with the words “Go ahead’, In the belief that no service to india could be greater than the education of women. St.Christopher’s is linked with the thought that a teacher’s devoted service to children is service to God.
Preparations for the establishment in Madras of a United Christian Training College for women graduates began in consequence of a minute recorded by the Madras Educational Council early in 1921. This minute emphasized the need for united Christian effort in connection with the training of women teachers. It was hoped that such training would not only give teachers more skill in their profession as a Christian vocation and in particular that it would help them with the teaching of Scripture.
The Council of the Women’s Christian College was asked to negotiate with the Home Boards and to make arrangements in India for the establishment of one branch of this work i.e. a college for the training of women graduates.
It was on March 13,1923 that a cable was received from Britain with the words “Go ahead’, in the belief that no service to India could be greater than the education of women. The College owes much to the Founder-Principal, Miss K.N.Brockway for her guidance, steady toil and splendid optimism.She wanted the college to be named after Saint Christopher who served God by serving people St.Christopher is linked with the thought that a teacher’s devoted service to children is service to God. Many gifted women have made lasting contribution through the years of changes and challenges.
St.Christopher’s Teacher Training College opened on July 4, 1923 in a steady old mansion within the hospitable precincts of the Women’s Christian College(Madras), which nourished and sheltered it in its infancy. Its nucleus was 12 L.T. students and four members of Staff, of three different nationalities. The College has continued to be mainly residential to provide the necessary environment for all round development.
In 1927, the College moved to another rented house in Kilpauk. The following year, 1928, the Secondary Grade Training Department was opened.
The search for a permanent house and a Model School (to fulfill the requirements of the Madras University) ended in 1932 when the College moved to its present site in Vepery. The Bentinck High School for Girls, already a century old at that time was amalgamated with the College in 1935 as its Model School. The College and School pioneered in Educational projects like use of the Dalton Plan. A close relationship was maintained between both by interchange of teaching staff.
When the M.Ed. degree course was started in conjunction with the University and the four training Colleges in the City in 1944, St.Christopher’s offered the course in Educational Sociology.
The institution was one of the first Training Colleges in India to cater to the in-service needs of teachers through its Department of Extension Services inaugurated in 1956.
The transition from the Secondary Grade Teacher Training to the Senior Basic Teacher Training in 1955 was smooth, as since its founding, students in St.Christopher’s have been encouraged to be self-sufficient in meeting daily needs. The full time M.Ed. course was instituted in 1974, followed by the establishment of the Women’s Studies Centre in 1975. The College was conferred the status of Autonomy in 1988. M.Phil was introduced in 1996.
The College has celebrated Silver Jubilee, Golden Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee, Platinum Jubilee and Eighty and Eight Five and 90th year celebration in the years 1948, 1973, 1983, 1998, 2003,2008 and 2013 respectively.
The College was accredited at Five Star level, the highest level, among the autonomous Colleges by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council in 2000 and received the National Gold Star Award by the International Business Council, Delhi for its outstanding achievements in 2001. Our College has been selected as the best institution for the Yeoman service in spreading St.John’s Movement and received a momento from the Governor of Tamilnadu on December 27, 2003.
The Women’s studies centre established in 1976 responds to the needs of women and brings their problems into the life and concerns of the society. The Centre focuses its activities on documentation, development of rural and urban women and research in promoting channels of communication among groups and institutions concerned with the welfare of women. The need for a laboratory school where teacher trainees can observe young children led to the opening of the Nursery school in 1976. The same year, the college was recognized by the University of Madras as an institution for work leading to the Ph.D degree in Education and enrolled its first candidate.
The little seed of 12 L.T. students and four members of staff housed in a small bungalow, is now a large tree which has branched out into the Ph.D., M.Phil., M.Ed., B.Ed., D.T.Ed and N.T.Ed sections, the Nursery School, the Department of Extension Services and the Women’s Studies Centre.
We offer nearly 17 credit based job oriented certificate courses, namely, Religious Education, Health and Nutrition, Journalism and Mass Communication, Video Photography, Home Budgeting, Spoken English, Environmental Education, Gender Studies, Maintenance of Archive, Office Automation, Web Designing, Desktop Publishing, Photoshop, Cutting and Embroidering, Financial Accounting, Applied Mathematics and Laboratory Techniques in Biology. Infrastructure facilities have improved along with the students’ strength and the increase in the number of courses and optional subjects.
We have a Computer Automated Library with nearly 25,000 volumes, a Computerized Examination Unit and a Mini Gymnasium. The college and school complex covers 10 acres. The campus is filled with beauty, activity and the promise of tomorrow.
We are deeply conscious of the fact that the present has been possible only because of an inspiring past and the vision, dedication and generosity of innumerable women, who are a part of the St.Christopher’s family. The Alumni have given leadership and service in many spheres of life.
In the words of our college hymn:
‘Give us faith that ventures forth
Not content with well worn ways,
Eager hearts, prepared to meet
New adventures all our days.’
So, we keep marching forward and reaffirm our pledge to the continued pursuit of excellence and service to the community.
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