At a time when parents living in Petlad Town and Petlad Taluka were reluctant to send their sons and daughters to distant places like Ahmadabad and Baroda for higher studies, a bobble idea came to the mind of the Late Sheth Shri Ramanlal Keshavlal Parikh that there should be an institution for higher studies in his area. The result was the establishment of “Petlad Education Trust”.
The Trust was set up in 1945 with his personal donation of Rs. 1,00,000/- and the contribution of Rs. 50,000/- from the “Welfare Fund of Rajratna Mill” whose Managing Trustee he was. In the beginning as Sheth Shri Ramanlal Parikh declined to be the president of the Trust, the Late Shri Manibhai Vasanji Desai the then Deputy Diwan of Baroda State, was requested to preside over the Trust. With the guidance and co-operation of Shri Desai and other Trustees, a piece of land measuring 60 Vighas was acquired to set up colleges, hostels, laboratories, staff quarters, playground, etc.
The late Shri Champaklal Chhotalal Parikh, the founder, administrator and educationist of New Education High School, Petlad, was selected as the Secretary of the Trust. Shri Champaklal Parikh in collaboration with another Trustee and the then headmaster of N. K. High School, Petlad, Shri Harilal Ramdas Sheth planned and implemented development projects for the Trust and its institutions. Owing to the efforts of these two great personalities, it became possible to persuade Shri Brojendralal Mittar, the then Diwan of Baroda State, to perform the foundation- stone- laying ceremony of the college building in which the Arts and Science faculties are housed at present. This event happened on 7th December, 1945, and the construction of the college building started in February, 1946. In the same college building, which had been only half- constructed by June, 1946, First Year and Inter Arts classes affiliated to Bombay University were started from 20th June, 1946. Then next year First Year and Inter Science classes were started. With the commencement of Junior and Senior B.Sc. classes in Science Faculty in June, 1948, Faculties for education up to graduate level became available for students.
As institutions for higher education started in Vidyanagar and Nadiad started at about the same time, the strength of the college declined and financial difficulties started cropping up. Meanwhile it became possible to make a provision for education up to the graduate level in Arts Faculty in 1957.
In the beginning graduation with special English and with Gujarati, Economics, Sanskrit, Sociology and Philosophy as General Subjects was introduced. Later in 1960 Economics was introduced as special Subject at the graduate level. In the same year N.C.C. training was introduced in the college with a view to giving military training to the students. In 1964 additional laboratories for Physics and Chemistry were set up with the help of the “U.G.C.” and along with this the institute built up Non - resident Students Center with the help of the U.G.C. making its own contribution. Then in 1967-68 the name of the college was changed into ‘Shri R.K. Parikh Arts and Science College’ in memory of its far- sighted pioneer founder, Rajmitra Datar Shri Ramanlal Parikh and the unveiling ceremony of his statue was performed by the then Education Minister of Gujarat State, Shri Gordhandas Chokhawala.
With the consent of and inspiration from the president of the Trust, Shri Amrutlal Ramanlal Parikh, provision was made for post- graduate studies in Organic Chemistry in Science Faculty in 1969-70.
After the appointment of Shri Indulal Gordhandas Shah as the Secretary of the Trust in 1969 in place of the Late Shri Champaklal Chhotalal Parikh, two institutions named “College of Education” and “Commerce College” were started in 1970 and in this way two more faculties of education were made available to the students’ community in the Silver Jubilee Year.
To satisfy the needs of modern age, the Trust started training in computer science in 1986 with the generous donation from the “Petlad Nagarik Sahakari Bank”. Having developed the training on the same lines, the Trust is running a well - equipped computer center now. Computer courses like D.C.A., T.D.P., Accountancy, are taught at this center.
Students from Petlad Town as well as outside are taking full advantage of the center. When the Trust decided to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, the department of Microbiology was started in 1996 with the generous donation from Shri Rajubhai Patel (now in the U.S.A.) and an arrangement has been made for its laboratory, lecture-halls, etc.
Meanwhile, advised, inspired and blessed by his holiness, “Shri Narayandasji Maharaj of Shri Santaram Mandir” of Nadiad, “Shri Indubhai Maganbhai Patel”, the president of “Sharadaben Indubhai Ipcowala Charitable Trust of Nadiad”, extended his generous helping hand to make the existence of Commerce College and College of Education possible under this Trust. The task of construction of the college building was undertaken under the guidance and active care of “Shri Indubhai Ipcowala”. The “Bhumipujan” ceremony and the “Foundation-Stone-Laying” ceremony were both performed by His holiness “Shri Ganeshdasjji Maharaj (Shri Santram Mandir, Umreth)” on 25th April, 1996. A donation of Rs. 1,00,001/- was received from his holiness “Shri Swami Sachchidanand” of the Trust of the same name. Besides, Shri Ramanbhai Chhotabhai Patel, Shri Dahyabhai Dhoribhai Patel and Shri Bipinbhai Dahyabhai Patel (Canada) made significant contributions to the Trust. The construction of the college building become possible in a short period of eight months. As guided and advised by his holiness, “Mahant Shri Narayandasji Maharaj”, the “Vastupujan” ceremony and “Navchandi Yagna” were performed on Sunday, 8th Mahavad, Vikram Samvat 2053 (2nd March, 1997).
In the Newly-Constructed “IPCOWALA VIDYABHAVAN”, “PATEL SHARDABEN INDUBHAI IPCOWALA COLLEGE OF EDUCATION and “PATEL SHARDABEN IPCOWALA COLLEGE OF COMMERCE” became operational from June 1997. Sheth Shri Ramanlal’s worthy son and the past president of the Trust, Shri Amrutlal Ramanlal Parikh and his worthy son and the present President of the Trust, Shri Vrajeshbhai Amrutlal Parikh, have maintained the ideology and traditions of Shri Ramanlal Parikh, contributing their mite to the development of the institutions.
“Moreover, when the Trust experienced deficit in its financial budget from 1959 to 1962, on account of the increasing maintenance and salary expenses, the teaching staff stood by the Trust by accepting 20% cut in their salaries. The Trust takes a thankful note of their support.”
In 1973 the Trust passed through the most critical period of its history and suffered a heavy loss, because of the students’ and some teaching members’ movement. It took the Trust Ten Years to recover from the loss. The Trust survived the crisis by adopting a noble and magnanimous policy of compromise with them. Thus Petlad College has carved a niche for itself among all the colleges affiliated to Gujarat University.
At present the Trust has for its development spacious open land, residences of Principals, Hostels for boys and Girls, Students’ Community Centre, Playgrounds its own old college building and its newly - constructed building called Vidyabhavan. In various institutions of the Trust, following facilities are available:
1. Gujarati, Economics and Sociology as special subjects and Sanskrit, Psychology, Computer Science as Subsidiary Subjects in Arts Faculty. A Post Graduate center in Gujarati, Sociology and Economics.
2. Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology as special subjects and Math’s, Botany and Computer Science as subsidiary subjects in Science Faculty.
Accountancy, Statistics and Management as special subjects and Secretarial Practice, Management, Statistics and Computer Science as subsidiary subjects in Commerce Faculty. A Post Graduate center in Accountancy.
4. Gujarati, Hindi, Sanskrit, English, History, Math’s, Science, Commercial Arithmetic, Elements of Commerce as methods of teaching in Education Faculty.