Assessment Report On

Institutional Accreditation Of

Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science

Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Section 1 : Introduction

A College almost totally devoted to the teaching of Home Science was established by the SNDT University through a generous donation from the Thackersey family in 1959. It started with an enrollment of 38 students and a few dedicated teachers who worked under the guidance of eminent Home Scientists from India and abroad. The college in its formative phase was fortunate to receive specialized equipment, library books and journals and more importantly expert technical assistance through the Technical Cooperation Mission. This cooperation mission enabled the college to get experts from USA as also to get its faculty trained in USA. In 1967, the college was named as Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science (SVT College of Home Science). On acquisition, by the university, of spacious 21 acre land at Juhu, the College shifted to its present premises in 1977.

 

In view of the rapid growth made by the college, the SNDT university in concurrence with the Government of Maharashtra granted and University grants commission autonomous status to this college in 1995-96. Incidentally, this is perhaps the only autonomous college in the State of Maharashtra.

 

The College offers instructions leading to the degree of B.Sc. in communication and Home Science with specialization in applied Home Science, Extension education, Family resource management, Food and nutrition, Human development and Textile and clothing. Today the college has an enrollment of -750 and a faculty of 43. This college is headed by a Principal and functions under the Board of Management in accordance with the UGC guidelines for autonomous colleges and the statutes approved by the SNDT University and the Government of Maharashtra.

 

Section 2 : Parameter - wise Analysis

 

Parameter I : Goals and Objectives

 

The goals and objectives of the college have been well articulated, clearly stated and effectively communicated to all its constituents. The present goals are (1) To equip students with knowledge and skills and to instill in them the right kind of values and attitudes so as to make them efficient in home tending and as enlightened citizens of the country in their social, political and economic roles and (2) To empower students with professional competence in various specialized areas so that they can effectively meet the challenges of the 21st century so that not only they become enlightened citizens but also become professionally productive components of the society. The goals and objectives are well reflected in the curricula and the related teaching programmes. The goals and objectives of the college not only reflect contemporary educational needs which are relevant to societal needs, but are also pursued with vigour and dynamism.

 

Parameter II : Curriculum Design and Review

 

It was gratifying to note that the college has through an efficient system of peer review, potential employers, past and present students feed back, attempted to evolve curricula to effectively translate the goals and objectives into the teaching and learning programmes. The college has also been not only continually attempting to add new courses to meet the emerging demands but has also been preparing the faculty to handle such courses and creating the necessary infrastructure. The introduction of computer courses is a case 'm point. These started with voluntary training of staff, making available necessary financial inputs for establishing relevant infrastructure, introducing computer applications in different areas of specialization, deputing faculty for advanced training etc. Not only that the college has been introducing newer courses responding to the needs of the emerging scenario but has also evolved system of assessing in a time bound manner the feedback in relation to its implementation from past students, through expert assessment, from even through the popularity rating of these courses by the students etc. During the last three years or so, the college has been able to introduce as many as six new courses namely (1) Basic computer training (2) Consumer education (3) Women in India (4) Computer applications in various areas Of Specialization (5) Photography and Audio Visual Production (6) Leadership development New specializations introduced applied home science, applied nutrition, Textiles, Development Counseling. In addition, the college has taken pioneering initiative in introducing internship programmes. This internship programme provides experience on the field and also enables the students and the college to interact with the likely employers.

 

The college may examine the possibility of increasing internship programme from six weeks to two months as requested by the students and by the institutions where internship was organized. Interestingly enough, there is no course on Population - an area of critical importance. We may suggest that the college strengthens its infrastructure 'm relation to photo studio, video and audio shooting and editing etc. It was indeed significant to note that although photography and related courses were introduced only a couple of years back, it is a very popular course and students seem to be doing extremely well as indicated by the prizes they have won.

 

Parameter III : Teaching, Learning and Evaluation

 

Teaching programmes have been extremely well planned and efficiently delivered. The curricula are well drafted. Reference books, however, mostly by foreign authors for various courses, have also been indicated. Teachers are required to submit their teaching plan at the beginning of the semester. There is regular supervision of teaching. College has introduced a welcome and useful concept of evaluation of teachers by the students. This student evaluation is analysed and necessary changes in teaching by the concerned teachers is ensured. Happily, student evaluation is well taken by the staff and the Principal. Based on a variety of inputs, there is a periodic discussion of the teaching programmes m the departmental meetings headed by the Head of the Department. Likewise, Principal has periodic meetings with heads of Department. There is a distinct stamp of the Principal and her writ runs through the college. Fortunately, the Principal is forward looking, highly dedicated, eminently qualified and has tremendous capacity to motivate both the teachers and the students.

 

There is an internship programme in which every student has to spend around six weeks with potential employers or in reputed institutions m their respective fields. This internship programme is highly successful as indicated by the comments of both the students and the authorities where students spend their internship. However, both these indicated the need to increase the internship duration from Six weeks internship is compulsory. Students can opt for a longer training if she desires e.g.-dietetics students may undergo 6 months training to get Registered dietitian's certificate.

 

Students are offered a choice in relation to their specialization. However, because of limited seats in some fields of specialization, students do not always get the specialization they opt for.

 

It was nice to see that teachers in the college employ modem teaching technologies such as audio visual aids, TV and VCR'S, overhead projectors, slide projectors, even liquid crystal display computer projection system. The college is endeavoring, to increasingly use multimedia. UGC has sanctioned 4 lacs for equipment & 2 lacs for room modification for multimedia Lab in 9th plan on March 10,1998. Even intimate facilities have been provided for. The college has deliberately adopted a policy to train technical staff with a view to equip them to optimally use modem technology.

 

The evaluation system has also been worked out in fine detail. There is a controller of examination heading an examination cell. All the evaluation results are computerised. Evaluation is comprehensive and includes (a) Internal assessment (b) Semester end examination (c) College level examination (d) Report on internship etc. This Evaluation procedure has been followed for the last five years and is totally transparent. The performance of students is discussed with them to ensure improvement. At the end of the semester, students are shown their internal assessment marks. In our discussion with students, it appeared that students are thoroughly satisfied with reliability, impartiality and transparency of the system.

 

Faculty appointments are made in accordance with the procedure laid down by the State Government. No new positions can be created without the permission of the State Government which is hard to get. Permission is granted if workload is available for teaching. It is difficult to get sanction for non-teaching posts. This serves as an impedirnent to even natural g growth of the college. College has adopted a policy for career development of the faculty. Within the departments, there appeared lot of freedom both academic and administrative. College encourages the faculty to participate in various development programmes as well as in research projects. During the last three years, study leave. was granted to three faculty members to complete their Ph.D. On the whole, the staff is qualified, experienced and enthusiastic and more importantly satisfied with the administration. College has also evolved student and faculty exchange programmes with foreign universities.

 

Parameter IV : Research and Publications

 

College encourages the faculty to undertake research projects sponsored by industry and other Government funding agencies. This encouragement is provided through administrative and some token financial support, flexibility in working hours, appreciation of research work etc. College has active research programmes sponsored by UGC, ICSSR, Godrej, Larson Toubro etc. Faculty research work has been recognized through young scientists awards, National fellowship award, election on the editorial board of prestigious 'journals etc. College also provided some modest publication grant to faculty members during the last few years . Considering that this is an undergraduate college, research work carried out in the college is indeed quite impressive. Above all the college is marked by research atmosphere which enthuses the faculty to undertake research work. Such a research culture not only generates a creative atmosphere but also helps in teaching.

 

Parameter V : Consultancy and Extension Activities

 

College encourages the faculty to undertake consultancy work without in any way effecting the basic obligation of teaching. College faculty has provided consultancy to State Commission for women, Government of Maharashtra, Larson and Toubro, Mahindra etc. College has evolved reasonable formula for distribution of consultancy revenues which provides for 20% of the consultancy fees to be credited to the general fund of the college. 20% is given to the Department for upgradation of its infrastructure and 60% is allowed to be retained by the individual (s) who provide the consultancy. College has also a sizable and useful community extension programme.

 

Parameter VI : Organisation and Management

 

Organization and Management of the college appeared to be impressive. Principal has been highly successful in evolving procedures for smooth and efficient functioning of the college and has been able to communicate her vision and dynamism to the various components of the college. We did not hear any discordant notes either from the students or from the faculty. Computerization of various activities such as examination, accounts, faculty and students data bases. has made administration quite efficient

 

Parameter VII & VIII : Infrastructure Facilities & Support Services

 

College shares the campus with other university constituents and in the process is constrained by the absence of an independent play ground, canteen facilities etc. Barring a small and totally independent college library, the college is supposed to share Central University library. Lack of Prototype House where students could be provided with hands on experience m managing a house is a glaring deficiency in the infrastructure. The college does neither have a practical Balwadi nor a practice chreche which should necessarily be an accompaniment of a good department devoted to Human development in a Home science College. Girl students did not seem to have a common room or a retiring room. Hostel facility is also shared with SNDT University. The Guesthouse is not maintained well enough for the peers to stay. It is a pity that a home science college with specialization in interior decoration, hospitality management etc. does not have a good guesthouse or a good practice house. The NAAC team was not asked to stay in the practice house, because toilets are dorm type and even though there were 3 single rooms (1 for each NAAC member), we had removed the doors as in 19961 girl had committed suicide. Medical facilities appeared to be reasonably satisfactory. Inspite of these drawbacks, there were no serious complaints from the students or the teachers. Available infrastructure facilities appeared to us to be somewhat inadequate. Discussion with the authorities did not suggest any bright possibilities in this regard in the future either. The university has granted us permission to construct 2-3 rooms. (1000-1200 sqft). The architect is getting plans approved and hopefully by 1999 we will have 2-3 big rooms more.

 

Parameter IX: Student Feedback and Counselling

 

A counsellor is available to the students during stipulated hours. The present counselor is a member of the faculty handling her regular teaching load and in addition does counseling work during stipulated hours. The concerned faculty member does not carry full teaching load. Instead of 20 periods /week she teaches 10-12 periods/week and remaining time is used for counseling. We used to have an outside counselor, who will come for not more than 2-3 hrs. 3 times/week and charge us atleast Rs.3000/month.

 

This practice was discontinued because no outsider can establish support with the students as well, or solve their academic problems. It appeared to us that this activity needs to be considerably strengthened as it came out during discussion that the need for counseling has been increasing and becoming more complex and highly specialized.

 

There is a fairly efficient procedure to obtain students feedback concerning teachers, their teaching, evaluation, etc. Students feedback is also analysed by the authorities, regularly and the necessary corrective measures arising out of such an analysis are promptly taken.

 

We cannot resist the temptation of saying that the students of the college are essentially drawn from higher strata of the society tending the college to acquire an elitist character. Perhaps it is inevitable. Elitism in academic achievement should indeed be promoted but elitism by way of birth or because of economic considerations should be discouraged. The college has to follow the State Governments reservation policy. It may be desirable if the college could generate some resources through which some academically deserving but economically backward students could be adequately funded and fully supported.

 

 

Parameter X : Generation and Management of Financial Resources

 

Financial position of the college appeared to be sound. The funds are also judiciously utilized. College has followed sound budgeting and auditing procedures. The college may explore the possibility of further improving its financial position through raising the fees which the students coming from higher middle-class can certainly afford, through formulation of alumni association, through donation from industries etc.. Incidentally donation to college would provide advantages of provisions under clause 35(i)(ii) of the Income Tax Act enabling the claiming & 100% exemption on the donation made for calculating the tax liabilities. The college has received another donation of Rs.5 lacs in March 98 for Improving its infrastructure and more finances will be generated through its International academic programmes i,e. collaboration with UAE. It may be desirable to create an endowment fund from such additional earnings through which infrastructure could be improved, new staff positions could be created or poor and deserving students could be supported.

 

Section 3 : Overall Analysis

 

College has tremendously benefited from the autonomy granted to it and has more than fully justified the confidence reposed by the SNDT university and the State Government while granting autonomy. It has had the good fortune of having illustrious women as its principals. The present Principal has through her vision, dynamism and total dedication been able make this college as one of the best colleges in the country. It has generated confidence amongst the students and the faculty and has established its credibility amongst the industries, likely employers, State Government and the society in general. The college hers tremendous potential to grow and to become one of the leading educational centres for home science in the world. However, the growth of the college could be decelerated because of the inevitable disparities this very growth could cause between it and other constituents of the university, with its consequent reactions. Management Committee and the previous vice-chancellors of the University are justifiably proud of this college and its Principal. They should in fact see to it that the growth of the college is not hampered and in fact they should catalyse this growth so that the college becomes a jewel in the crown of the university.

 

The membership of the Peer Team, its programme of visit are indicated in Appendix. We wish to record our sincere appreciation to the Principal, Faculty and Students of the college for their kind consideration, utmost courtesy, unstinted cooperation and their almost infinite patience to put up with our varied queries.

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