Assumption College, an affiliating Women’s College under Mahatma Gandhi University (Kottayam), was established in 1950. The main objectives of the College are:
1. To create an environment that is conducive to scholastic improvement and aesthetic appreciation.
2. To strengthen the spiritual and moral fibre of the human material without which no individual or social development is possible.
3. To instil a sense of dignity of womanhood.
4. To teach human values and social justice.
The institution believes in imparting quality education and making sustained efforts in moving towards academic excellence. The college has been recognised by the UGC under 2f and 12B of the UGC Act of 1956.
The college volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore and submitted the preliminary self study report in February 1999. NAAC constituted a Peer Team to visit the college and validate the self-study report. The team members comprised Prof. Geervani – chairperson, Prof. P. Ramanathan – member and they were ably assisted by Dr.Latha Pillai and Mr.Madhukar.B.S. officers from NAAC. The Peer Team visited the college on 15th, 16th and 17th of November 1999.
Assumption College is located in a spacious campus of 20 acres with necessary infrastructure. It is an under graduate women’s college and has 12 Departments. The college has 89 permanent teachers and 21 guest (temporary) teachers. The teachers teach degree as well as pre-degree classes. The non-teaching staff strength is 66, which includes 55 technical staff. There are 1427 students in UG programmes covering different disciplines. Twenty two students are enrolled in the MCA Programme under Distance Education mode offered by Mother Theresa University, Kodaikanal. An analysis of the student population on the campus clearly indicates that most of the students are from Kerala.
The Peer Team carefully perused and analysed the self-study report submitted by the college. During the institutional visit, the team went through all the relevant documents, visited the departments and the facilities and interacted with the various constituents of the institution. The academic, co-curricular, extracurricular, sports and extension facilities of the institution were visited. The Peer Team interacted with the Principal, the Governing Body, faculty, staff, the Parent Teacher Association and students of the college. Based on the above exercise and keeping in mind the seven criteria identified by the NAAC, the Peer Team has assessed the institution. The assessment of the institution under various criteria, the commendable features of the institution as well as the issues of concern are given in the following pages:
Assumption College, Changanacherry, is an affiliated college adopting the curricula provided by Mahatma Gandhi University with a few innovative programmes such as Travel & Tourism, Dietetics, Hospital Management and MCA . The goals and objectives of the college are stated clearly and they are made known to the college community through the college calendar. In spite of heavy constraints under the affiliating system, the college is able to cope with the needs of the students. The curriculum has been divided into modules and distributed according to the teachers specialisation. There is limited interaction between faculty and external agencies
The college offers vocational course funded by UGC in Communicative English from1998. More efforts are required on the part of the college to formalise the practical training to be given to the students. The faculty need to take initiative to re-design the on going programmes to build professional competency in the students rather than requesting the university to start stereotype P.G. programmes.
The goal of the college has been achieved through courses offered by the college along with the curriculum provided by the university. However, the college may create a central machinery involving teachers and students to review the curriculum from time to time.
Teaching – learning and evaluation are carried on in a successful and satisfactory manner in the college. Students are selected for admission into various courses on the basis of merit as per government/university guidelines. Comprehensive interview is also conducted for the selection of candidates for admission. The college adopts the annual examination system for all the U G Courses and semester system for B.Sc computer science, B.Sc. zoology (Vocational Food Micro-Biology) and MCA courses. However periodical tests and term examinations are conducted. Learner centered teaching is achieved through assignments, projects, seminars and quiz.
The slow learners are given remedial courses in all the subjects. Teaching and audio-visual aids may be developed to make the teaching learning process more effective.
A teaching plan is made by every department and the syllabus is divided into modules in advance and efforts are taken to complete the syllabus in time. Tutorial sessions are conducted once a week with one teacher taking care of 30 students in the session The college is able to work for 180 days in an academic year.
There are adequate and experienced teachers in a few departments of the college only. All the teachers handling classes are full time faculty even though there are a few part time (Guest) teachers who have also been taking classes for the past few years. The recruitment of teachers is done as per the norms prescribed by the university and the government. All the teachers recruited are from the same state and most of them from the same college. A good number of teachers have attended national level seminars and conferences. The college follows both student evaluation of teachers and self appraisal report system for evaluating the performance of the teachers. Apart from this the HOD submits a confidential report about every teacher in the department to the Principal. Based on these, the HOD and the Principal give suggestions to teachers to improve their performance. Feedback from students is also available for making necessary corrections in the performance. It is commendable to note that teachers are given training in computer basics through an external agency.
Student’s academic performance is being tested periodically through internal tests and final examinations. The Peer Team noticed a good performance of students in the final examinations. The college obtains many ranks almost every year, which is to be appreciated.
The college may think of offering enrichment courses for advance learners and the mechanism to get feed back from the students may be streamlined.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
The College has 11 teachers with Ph. D and 22 teachers with M. Phil out of 89 teachers. There are 7 part time research scholars and 3 full time research scholars in the teaching faculty. The faculty has potential to carry on research projects in the campus for which they need guidance and motivation. The teachers may be encouraged to do minor research projects by getting funds from external agencies like UGC, CSIR etc.
All departments carry out a good number of extension activities through NSS, NCC, Red Cross and voluntary organisations. The College is associating with government organisations in extension work.
It is worth mentioning here that the mock parliament organised by students was adjudged the best by the Loksabha Secretariat, New Delhi. Provision of a liberal budget will enable to expand the extension activities.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and learning Resources
The College is located in the centre of the town on a spacious campus. All the 6 hostels are located just opposite the college campus. The cluster of buildings accommodate various departments, library, canteen, general administration and hostels for students. The existing building accommodates pre-degree courses also. Classrooms and laboratories are adequately furnished and equipped. The existing facilities are optimally used by providing a few parallel courses including a post graduate course in computer applications affiliated to Mother Teresa university. The campus is kept clean and green with the services of student volunteers. Environmental awareness is created among students through Nature Club activities. It is found that the Principal, the teachers and students work as a team in order to maintain the campus green.
The library is located in a separate 3-storey building. The library has an advisory committee with the Principal and some faculty as members. It has separate stack rooms and spacious reading rooms. The ratio of library books to number of students enrolled is 37:1.Book bank facility is available. The library subscribes to a good number of journals and periodicals both Indian and overseas. This helps teachers and students to update their knowledge. However the library administration is yet to be modernised. The college has a good computer know how in the computer field. The expertise of the centre may be used to computerise the library .The library works for 7½ hours a day, 6 days in a week. Photocopying facility should be provided in the library.
The computer science department has 18 terminals networked through LAN. Each student has access to the computer 6hrs per week, which is inadequate for an under graduate student to learn the skills. The centre works from 9Am to 5 PM on all days except Sundays and public holidays. The working hours could be extended by 2 more hours every day to facilitate student work. The computer centre plans to offer a few job oriented courses to other under graduate students. This is possible only if the number of terminals are increased. The college may also think of training office staff in computer applications.
Regarding sports and games, the college has different courts for playing and practising basketball, volleyball, hand ball and ball badminton. There is a separate 100 meters straight track for practising athletics. The sports activity is encouraged by offering free boarding and lodging, medical aid and scholarship to talented students. Two students of this college participated in SAFF games held at Chennai representing India and won medals. Apart from this there is a long list of students who brought laurels to the college in sports and games at the national, state and university levels. A sports stadium, swimming pool and gymnasium as requested by the students be considered by the Management.
There are six different hostels available in the campus. Around 920 students reside in the hostels. This includes students from pre-degree classes also. Nearly 33% of the total students stay in the hostel. A unique feature of the hostels is the that residents are given special training which will prepare them to take life challenges by deepening their faith, by creating a sense of discipline, promoting group living and respect and tolerance. The handicapped are provided with special convenience.
Amenities such as canteen, a co-operative store, a day student-lunchroom are available in the college. The college may think of establishing a health centre which may help residents of the hostel to get medical facilities inside the campus. The college has provided a complaint box, but there is no formal mechanism to look into the grievances of students, faculty and non-teaching staff.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The college was started five decades ago to provide opportunity for higher education for women of Central Travancore. A unique feature of this college is that it has well-established hostels. This may be one of the attractions for women students to join this college even from distant places in Kerala. Informative and updated prospectus is published every year containing every item of information a student would need. The tutorial system is followed and the teacher in charge of the tutorial session does the counselling job also. This enables faculty to constantly monitor the progress of the students and guide them appropriately in various academic matters. In addition two professional counsellors visit the college twice a week to handle student problems.
Being an affiliated and aided college, the admission policy is guided by both Kerala Government and M.G. University regulations. Financial aids are available from the Government of India, the Govt. of Kerala and the M.G. University. Apart from this a few external agencies have also instituted scholarships in various departments for meritorious students. One faculty member is given additional charge of the employment cell to advise students. In the last five years three students have passed CSIR, UGC- JRF examinations, three students have passed GATE and one student has passed TOEFL.
The college may organise meetings /discussions to expose students to the self-employment opportunities available in the state/region by inviting experts.
The Alumnae Association functions jointly with a sister institution in Changanacherry as well as in Gulf Countries. However, the Management has felt the need for a separate Alumnae association for this college and steps are being taken to create one. A few Alumnae are in good positions both in administration and public services.
The college takes all efforts to develop the overall personality of students through student Union, Association and Club activities. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) plays a commendable role in the growth and development of the college. The meritorious students (academic, sports & cultural) are encouraged by PTA by giving prizes and cash awards. The construction of a cycle shed, donation of a computer system with UPS are a few examples of the PTA’s involvement in the development of the college.
A full time placement officer and a formal counselling centre may be thought of as good additions to support the students.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
The college is managed by the Managing Board – patron, is the Archbishop of Changanacherry and consists of the following members:
1. Manager (President)
2. Principal (Secretary)
6. One teaching staff (by election from among the teaching staff)
7. One Archbishop nominee
The Managing Board is mainly responsible for translating objectives into achievements. The board lays down policies in the matter of appointments and promotions in accordance with the Kerala Government policies with regard to both teaching and non-teaching staff. The Managing Board meets 3 to 4 times in a year depending on the necessity. The Management provides additional budget and support to the college as and when required.
The Principal is responsible for the day to day administration and financial management of the college. She is assisted by a staff council and the College Development Council in administration. All heads of the departments are members of the staff council and the members of the College Development Council are nominated by the Principal. The council meets as often as necessary.
Systematic evaluation of students is done by the college through monthly tests, assignments and quiz in all departments as per norms prescribed by the university for the internal assessment component. Every department is found to maintain a document of academic performance of the students systematically. There is 20% internal assessment component in the final evaluation prescribed by the university. Teacher evaluation by students has been in vogue for a long time. The performance appraisal of the teachers is done by the HOD in the form of a confidential report. This is inadequate to identify the strengths and weaknesses. This covers only few aspects concerning teacher’s performance. Student’s evaluation reports are discussed in the departmental meeting and remedial measures are taken. Traditional management techniques are being followed. It is worth pointing out here that there is good teamwork.
The fee structure is prescribed by the government for every class and it is collected in eight equal installments and remitted to the government. Annual budget is prepared by the Principal and approved by the Management. Apart from the budget provided by the government, the management raises funds by way of donations and liberal contributions from the P.T.A. which are used for the development of the college. These funds are also regularly audited.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The following healthy practices are observed in the college.
1. Tutorial system with teacher-student ratio of 1:30
2. Value education classes-an hour per week.
3. Optimum use of voluntary organisations for extension activities.
4. Remedial Courses.
5. Parents-students-teacher interactions
6. Good staff-student relation
7. computer courses to faculty
8. The College works as a team to achieve the mission and goals.
Within the frame work of the existing programme the College should explore the possibility of retraining the staff in introducing vocational modules and short term skill based courses. Teachers in some departments may be encouraged by the Management to do further studies. This will prevent stagnation and help in introducing new programmes.
Section 3: Overall Analysis
Assumption College has clear goals and the college community works as one group to achieve the same. It is commendable to note that the college gets good support from the Management and the community. The college has a good social accreditation. The future plans spelt out by the faculty during the visit may be redefined considering the following suggestions and recommendations:
1. Under the existing conditions laid down by the Government of Kerala and M.G. University, the college may have to wait for a long time to start PG courses. The Peer Team feels that the college may think of starting short term skill oriented Certificate & Diploma Courses using existing facilities and human resources available
2. The Principal and the management may think of arranging training programmes for the faculty and also try to make use of talents locally available to start such short term courses on self financing basis.
3. Attention may be given for increasing the staff strength in certain departments where teaching load is more or less the same as in other departments.
4. It is observed from the self study report that there are 11 Ph.D. holders among the teaching staff. Those teachers need encouragement to prepare project proposals and submit to funding agencies to start research in the campus. This may help in the long run to develop research culture in the college campus and also indirectly help to update their knowledge.
5. The focus of development needs to be shifted to vocation oriented degree programmes already available with the University Curriculum (Model II).
6. Efforts may be taken to introduce new management techniques to reduce the administrative burden such as remittance of fees in the bank directly by students, office automation etc.
7. Computer Science department needs to be strengthened in respect of human resource and machines to enable the department to offer application oriented courses to all students.
8. A wing for continuing education is felt as an immediate requirement by the community, faculty and management.
9. Library requires to be strengthened by way of procuring latest editions and also more copies of textbooks.
10. Students may be given access to information regarding all kinds of scholarships, loan etc. to do further studies.
11. A training centre may be thought of for economically weaker and socially oppressed students to enable them to appear for competitive examinations.
12. The college may have to think of establishing an audio-visual centre to be used by all the departments for classroom teaching.
13. Budget allocation towards purchase of equipment, chemicals, books etc. to each department may be made known to the departments at the beginning of the academic year. This will enable the department for efficient management.
14. Awards may be instituted to encourage teachers for innovative teaching and development of resource materials.
The Peer Team strongly feels that the faculty requires to be sensitised to the changing needs of the society by way of workshops, visits to other colleges offering vocational courses. The Management and community should take the responsibility of initiating the vocational courses. The Peer Team congratulates the faculty for having completed 50 years of service to the cause of education in rural areas and imparting good values to the students. It is hoped that the spirit of service will be continued in the years to come.