Assessment Report of
Institutional Accreditation of
Mayiladuturai, Mannampandal, Tamilnadu
A.V.C College (Autonomous), Mayiladuturai, Mannampandal, Tamilnadu affiliated to the Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli voluntarily offered to be assessed and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and they submitted a self-study report in November 1999. Accordingly the NAAC constituted the Peer Team to visit the institution with the following members: Dr.A.N.P. Ummerkutty, former Vice-Chancellor, Calicut University (Chairman), Prof.P.S.Zacharias, Professor of Chemistry, University of Hydrabad and Prof. D.Shrijay Devaraj Urs, Professor of Development Studies, University of Mysore. The Peer Team visited the A.V.C. College (Autonomous) from 27th to 29th December 1999.
A.V.C. College (Autonomous), Mayiladuturai was founded by the Anbanathapuram Vahaira Charities (A.V.C), Mayiladuturai in 1955 and was initially affiliated to the then Madras University. When Bharathidasan University was established at Tiruchirapalli, the affiliation was shifted to the new university. It became an autonomous institution in 1987. Started with just 120 students, the college has now grown into a large institution with nearly 2600 students and about 80 permanent and fewer temporary teachers. The college has regular daytime classes and evening programmes. Ten U.G. and five P.G. courses are offered in the regular programme, besides M.Phil and Ph.D. pogrammes. In the evening self-financing scheme , 8 U.G., 2 U.G. Diploma, 6 P.G. and 1 PGDCA are offered. Some of the full time Ph.D. scholars hold fellowships as well. It is interesting to note that separate U.G. classes are conducted in the evening college, mostly for women, who constitute 40% of the student population in a vast campus.
When launched in the early years of our Independence, the A.V.C. College (Autonomous) adopted for itself some sound objectives, which include, among other things, the following:
i) To give diversity to the courses and patterns of university education suitable to the talents and abilities of the students and capable of bringing out the best in them.
ii) To encourage innovative experiments especially in three areas, namely syllabus, method of teaching and evaluation.
iii) To devise courses that will increase employment opportunities.
iv) To promote academic excellence and
v) To help the weaker sections with remedial work and flexible courses.
The Peer Team analysed the self study report submitted by the college and visited the institution between 27 and 29 December 1999 to validate information given in the Self study report and to have wide ranging discussions with different segments of the campus community. The team visited all the academic and administrative units of the institution, interacted extensively with its various constituents and scrutinized all the relevant documents. Supporting facilities such as laboratories, library, computer center, physical education arrangements, hostels and other curricular, co-curricular and extension activities were also covered during the visit.
Separate discussions were held with the College Committee, the Principal, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and other groups who have a stake in the affairs of the college. Based on a detailed analysis of the self-study report, direct visits to all the relevant facilities and sites in the campus and adhering to the 7-point criteria evolved by NAAC, the Peer Team assessed the quality of education being imparted in the institution.
The assessment of the Peer Team along with the overall analysis and the commendations and suggestions for further growth and development of the college are presented in the following pages.
The college offers 34 academic programme options. This wide range and levels of programmes are impressive. The curricular contents are formulated following the broad structure provided by Bharathidhasan University. The autonomous status conferred has helped the college in evolving and re-designing the curriculum to meet the educational aspirations of students and acquisition of academic skills. The concerns of employability are well addressed with the a range of enrichment programmes including IGNOU courses.
The college has been responding to the requirements of the society by offering new programmes. In the last two years alone it has added three new programmes and a few more job oriented courses like BCA, M.Sc in Information Technology, M.Sc in Microbiology may be introduced.
The semester scheme is followed. In order to popularize the courses and also to help students to acquire skills, the college offers courses like Basic Methodology and group project work in all U.G programmes. Similarly Information Technology is made a compulsory minor paper for all U.G courses.
Most of the students hail from the surrounding rural region, and they are first generation learners. To help them to cope with instruction in English “Communicative English ” has been introduced as a compulsory paper for all P.G courses and this is conducted outside the regular class hours. It is desirable if similar attempts are made at U.G levels also. The major drawback for the students is to cope with the English instruction particularly when they join undergraduate programmes. Additional courses in English (may be certificate courses) during summer could be made available for the benefit of the student community.
The structure of the curriculum is normally reviewed thoroughly for major changes once in three years. The composition of Board of Studies is such that 43 percent of the members are drawn from outside. It is desirable that expertise available from various sectors, regions and reputed institutions are drawn to get the feedback and also for peer interaction. Also special committees may be constituted to help the BOS to improve the curricula from time to time. The curriculum development cell has been setup and it may be more systematic.
The college has attempted to introduce some inter-disciplinary courses by involving the mathematics department to teach courses in other departments and similar attempts may be made by others. Project work has been introduced. This helps students to improve their overall personality development and team sprit. Attendance is made compulsory by assigning some marks. This is a good practice as it helps to maintain discipline and ensure regularity in student academic performance.
The college may explore the possibilities of introducing value based and community oriented curriculum to meet the needs of the society.
The team suggests that the management may set up a separate committee consisting of senior academicians, representatives from corporate sector, business houses and also senior citizens from various segments of the society to prepare a perspective plan for the future development of the college. The college has plans to offer several programmes and it is better if some manpower demand survey is made and the most relevant courses are offered in the light of past experience.
Regarding Part II English, some modification of the curricula may be considered. What is suggested is a two stream arrangement one stream meant for science students and the other for non science students. In the former relevant readings from various branches of science subjects can be carefully selected and included; and in the latter readings in commerce, economics, history etc may be included. This will enable students to formalize themselves with the concepts and appropriate basic terminology in the respective streams and also prepare them for better communication in their respective pursuits.
The response to career needs in the context of technology is welcome. A holistic review if curriculum by means of a planned corporate exercise involving the whole community of the college may yield better results, besides helping the college, organise its curriculum on sound principles of education.
Admission to various courses offered in the Day College is made according to merit and the reservation policy of the government. For self-financing courses offered in the evening college, admissions are made as per the guidelines of the Tamilnadu government. It is noted that the fees collected by the college are less than those specified by government and that is appreciable. Students from the surrounding region are given preference in order to extend higher educational opportunities to the under privileged and the poor. This is a good gesture on the part of the institution. Nearly five times more applications than the number of seats available are received. The admission procedure has been computerized and it is notified immediately to help the students. This is a good practice.
The college has experienced and committed teachers to manage various courses. There are 80 permanent teachers and 74 teachers appointed by the Management to manage the additional academic responsibilities as some of the sanctioned posts are vacant. Among the staff 17 per cent are women. It is observed that more women teachers may be appointed by the Management. It appears that the Management is generous in recruiting its alumni.
The college has been encouraging teachers to take up projects with financial assistance from funding agencies. But it is rather limited to only a few departments. The research effort and publications by the department of zoology is highly appreciable. Many teachers have availed themselves FIP schemes to pursue higher studies. Some more teachers have been attending refresher courses to update their knowledge. The college encourages the staff to undergo one year PGDCA course by exempting them from paying fees. This is a good gesture on the part of the Management to professionalise the faculty. In spite of that generous offer not many teachers have volunteered.
A self appraisal system for the teachers does not exist. A suitable system may be evolved on the basis of UGC guidelines. The Management should explore the possibility of supporting and rewarding faculty for innovation, acquisition of skills, providing special assistance to students and shouldering additional responsibilities. Teachers have attended national seminars and conferences to keep alert with the developments in the subject. But it is not adequate. It is desirable that faculty should be encouraged to pursue research interests and also attend academic programmes conducted outside. Teacher should be encouraged to be members of professional bodies to update themselves with the developments in their respective subjects.
It would be better if some method is adopted to test the ability of students after admissions. Students who need assistance may be identified and they be given special assistance and those who are good may be put through enhancement programmes. They should be encouraged to aspire high by offering guidance.
The conventional lecture mode seems to be by and large, the main teaching method adopted. Pedagogical methods need to be modernized and diversified.
Functionally the college emphasizes teaching. But it is necessary that research activities are stepped up at least in those departments offering postgraduate courses. Only a few departments are involved in research and that should be enlarged. Efforts are clearly evident in incorporating research culture by insisting on project work at the UG level and dissertations at the PG level as a course requirement. It can be further strengthened and research culture may be sustained by giving meaningful and relevant problems for project work to students. There is a strong case for furthering research by encouraging teachers to submit research proposals in their respective fields to funding agencies.
Though there is scope for consultancy not much has been attempted so for. The college should take initiatives for providing technical and specialized information to meet the needs of its surrounding area. Extension form essential part of the students and staff activities. Several other areas like Health awareness programme, Soil testing, Plant protection, Mushroom culture are some of the extension services rendered. In addition, blood donation camps, pulse polio vaccination, tree plantation, Campus cleaning are some of the social service activities undertaken.
There is scope for further utilization of student potential for extension activities and outreach programmes especially in the field of women empowerment as the college has a large group of female students.
The college has two main buildings accommodating various departments and facilities like library, canteen, and general administration building. It has an auditorium and a men’s hostel. Rented buildings house the ladies’ hostel. One more building will be completed soon which will enable the expansion of the library. The buildings are reasonably well maintained.
Efforts are on to computerize the library. The Zoology department has the internet facility through VSNL which is open to both students and faculty. The computer centre is well furnished and organized. It is the centre of the MCA programme. It provides the Internet facility.
The men’s hostel on the campus accommodates about 150 students, four in a room. The college should look for resources to provide more hostel facilities. Better hostel facilities might attract students from regions other than those around.
The college has courts for various games and sports. It appears that sports and games are not high priority ones. The college has day and evening shifts and students leave after their respective time schedule and Laboratories are equipped with facilities required for the courses offered. However experiments and laboratory curriculum need improvement. The zoology department has various research projects.
The college may also look into the possibility of starting a health centre, even on part time basis, to cater for the needs of the academic community.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The students of this college are drawn mainly from surrounding areas. The Day College admits boys and the evening college admits girls. The college provides transport facilities to students on payment. Students are happy about this arrangement. The college brings out prospectus and college magazine every year. These document the achievements of the college during the particular academic year.
The semester examinations are conducted internally and UG answer scripts are valued by external examiners. Results are declared within three weeks of the last examination. There is provision for supplementary examination. Most of the departments have an effective tutorial system. Various departments conduct remedial courses for weaker students.
Financial support is restricted to state and central scholarships. There is a placement office for assisting students to procure employment. The Principal is keen on improving this facility to involve more companies.
Although there is no formal alumni association in the college, it receives financial and other support from alumni.
Students requirements, both academic and non-academic are brought to the notice of the administration through tutors or lecturers. Students are happy about the immediate, positive response from the management.
Criterion VI : Organization and Management
The college has various committees to monitor the planning and growth of the academic programmes, such as Education Committee, College Committee, Governing body, Staff council, Academic council, Boards of Studies, Finance committee, Planning and Evaluation Committee, Examination Committee, Award Committee, Admission Committee, Student Welfare Committee, Sports Council, Curriculum Development Council. The functions of these committees are evident from the respective titles.
The reservation policy of the state is adhered to ( 13% OC, 30% BC, 20% MBC, 18% SC and 1% ST). For the self-financing courses 50 percent of the seats are filled according to merit and reservation policy. Other 50 percent seats are payment category with fees collected as per government norms. The Discipline Committee helps the administration to maintain discipline among students.
A full-fledged Evening College is run in the same premises as the Day College. The most attractive feature of the Evening College is that all the degree courses are run mainly for the benefit of women students. Thus effectively girls are doubly benefited for they have access to some of the courses in the Day College also. This is indeed a boon to girls in the rural setting of Mayiladuturai for they can go to college without sacrificing their day’s work. Interestingly the percentage of success in the Evening College is higher than that in the Day College.
The authorities have shown great enthusiasm and sustained interests in translating the dream of the founding fathers. It is to be noted that they run an engineering college and a polytechnic in addition to the A.V.C. College. The proximal location of various institutions is mutually supportive and mutually helpful.
There are a few other notable features which are included in the form of commendations under the overall analysis. Other notable practices are:
· The tutor-ward system which helps in monitoring the academic progress of the students and also to establish better rapport.
· The college offers several self-financing courses.
· Several enrichment courses like Communicative English, Research methodology and Information Technology courses for U.G and P.G students.
· Incorporating group project work/dissertations and Internship Programme to provide field experience.
· Admission, examination and accounting processes are computerized.
· Additional educational opportunities through the IGNOU centre and helping the students for competitive examinations through Target CE programme.
· Philanthropic Management with generous grants.
· Provision of adequate teachers by recruitment of staff by the management.
· Transport system to enable the students to reach the institution.
· Establishment of curriculum development cell.
During the last four and a half decades of its existence, the A.V.C. College (Autonomous), Mayiladuturai has achieved considerable expansion quantitatively and qualitatively. Attainment of autonomous status is recognition of both. The college has helped the rural people to achieve considerable educational progress. Forty percent women enrolment is a point worth mentioning. The percentage of pass is much higher at P.G level than at the U.G level, indicating that there is a greater need to conduct remedial classes for students joining the U.G courses and chiefly for those who come from poorer families, many of them as first generation learners. This problem may be attended to. The Peer Team would like to make particular commendations on the following:
· Introduction of life oriented courses like BBA, B. Sc Electronics, M. Sc electronics, MCA, M.Sc Computer Science, Wildlife Biology etc in a rural setting is laudable.
· Nearly two-thirds of the teachers have qualifications higher than the required minimum.
· Participation of teachers in the seminars/conferences and as resource persons is satisfactory.
· Inclusion of NSS, NCC, Sports and Fine arts and incorporation of marks in the final exam enforce the participation of the students in one or the other of co-curricular activities.
· Project work for all U.G and P.G students is another welcome step.
· Marks for attendance reportedly make students be regular and punctual in studies
· Viva Voce for U.G and P.G projects is a good preparation for students to face interviews.
· Inviting retired professors to serve as emeritus professors to upgrade departments for research activities is really interesting.
· Research activities in some departments like zoology are not only laudable but also model for several other departments whose research potentialities are not fully explored.
· Efforts of the NSS to organize eye check up camps and eye donation camps.
· Efforts of the college to expand the activities of the placement cell to cover more companies / employing agencies.
The Peer Team also would like to make the following suggestions for the consideration of the college authorities in the interest of the overall, speedy growth of the institution .
· Choice Based Credit System may be introduced for various courses for it contributes to better student training and development.
· Some field training may be organized for BBA and B.Com students, as both are market-oriented subjects.
· Self appraisal of teachers on the lines suggested by UGC may be introduced .
· Some regular confidential feedback mechanism from the students on the performance of teachers may be evolved.
· A Research Cell may be constituted to encourage, co-ordinate and promote research.
· A Consultancy Cell may be formed to promote some medium level, rural based service to the surrounding community.
· Construction of more hostels may be considered to make the campus more dynamic.
· The Alumni Association and Parent-Teachers Association may be encouraged for both can be instrumental in the growth of the institution.
· Recasting of Part II English as suggested in an earlier part of this report may be considered.