Institutional Accrediataion of
Recognizing the need to upgrade women’s cultural and social standards through education, Bishop Thomas Tharayil founded the Bishop Chulaparambil Memorial (B.C.M.)College, a grant-in-aid minority institution, in the year 1955. From a very small beginning with 63 women students housed in a boarding house of St. Anne’s School, the institution has grown today in a five acre land in an urban set up with a student population of 2000, drawn mainly from the interior villages. Ever since its establishment, the college has been striving tirelessly to mould intellectually and physically inspired persons by providing value education and cultural awareness. The college is affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University and managed by the Corporate Educational Agency of Kottayam Diocese.
Today the college has a strength of 2000 students (900 pre-degree), 96 permanent teachers, 14 temporary teachers and 64 non-teaching staff. Among the teachers, seven have Ph.D., 12 M.Phil. and the remaining have post graduate degrees.
The 16 departments of the college offer a total of 14 programmes-14 undergraduate (mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, food science, family & community science, family & community science(Vocational)-clinical nutrition and dietetics, history, economics, sociology, English Literature, English-Vocational (Administrative Assistant) and B.Com.) and one postgraduate (mathematics).
The college volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council and the preliminary Self-Study Report prepared under the able guidance of the distinguished Principal, Prof. Mary Ramani Tharayil was submitted to the council in November 1999. The Peer Team constituted by NAAC to validate the Self-Study Report comprised Prof. Lakshmi Santa Rajagopal, former Vice-Chancellor, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science and Higher Education for Women-Deemed University, Coimbatore, Prof. G. H. Sawkar, Director, College Development Council, Bangalore University and Prof. T. S. Jani Bai, Principal, Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchchirappalli. The Team was ably supported by Dr. Latha Pillai, Deputy Advisor and Mr. B. S. Ponmudiraj, academic professional, NAAC.
The Peer Team studied the Self Study Report and later visited the institution from 12th to 14th January, 2000. Various departments and infrastructure facilities were visited and discussions were held with the Principal, Board of Management, teachers, students, parents, alumni, non-teaching staff and functionaries associated with various unions/ councils/associations. The visits, discussions and perusal of records enabled the Peer Team to present the following report:
The motto of the college is “Wisdom and Grace”. The college was founded with a definite aim of giving value based education to girls especially from rural areas. It has striven to attain this goal in the past. But to suit the present day challenges stress has been laid on women empowerment and it is sought to be achieved through seminars, workshops, educational tours and participation in co-curricular activities.
The college offers undergraduate courses in 6 science subjects, 4 arts subjects and commerce; and a post graduate course in mathematics, which are all conventional in nature. Recently the institution has started three vocational courses in Food Science and Quality Control, Administrative Assistant and Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics. As an affiliated college to M. G. University, it has to follow the syllabi prescribed by the university. In spite of this limitation, the college has recently introduced a few short-term courses. It offers a diploma and a few certificate courses in computers with the help of external agencies.
The Department of Family & Community Science has recently initiated a certificate course of 3 months duration in “Better Homes” for students of other departments. The college has also ventured to give training in “Yoga” to interested students. These courses have evinced an overwhelming interest among students. The Department of Food Science and Quality Control has incorporated industrial visits in their curriculum facilitating interaction with experts in the field and skill development. Yet, there is ample scope for improvement in establishing academy-industry tie-ups.
The college is represented in the Academic Council and Boards of Studies of M. G. University by its staff members. Several members have given their inputs in the restructurisation of courses at the first degree level which were adopted by the university/college from the academic year 1998-1999.
A corporate exercise in curricular review in terms of relevance, structure, mission and corresponding strategies to achieve them is an urgent need.
Admission to various courses of study in the college is in accordance with the policy of Mahatma Gandhi University. Lecture method is generally used in teaching. To make teaching effective some departments use the available overhead projectors whenever possible. With the restructured syllabus, there is provision for assessing student knowledge and skills by way of tests, assignments and seminars. The Tutorial System helps in identifying the weak students. It also offers additional knowledge inputs and general awareness. For the weaker section, remedial and bridge courses are conducted informally. The Department of English provides special remedial programmes for students weak in English, through reading and writing practices, thus developing their language skills. Teachers look after the academic progress of their wards and help them overcome their personal difficulties. A broad teaching plan is prepared by each department which the Head of the Department monitors. The college calendar is given to the students at the beginning of the academic year itself and it is followed strictly. These measures enable the college to produce excellent results consistently. There is 100% pass in a majority of departments.
The practice of modern pedagogy in terms of learner-centred class-room activities, a comprehensive performance appraisal of teachers and their use of modern education technology are recommended.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
Service to society is the major objective of the college and extension programmes are given utmost importance in its agenda. Almost all departments take up social outreach programmes and there is ample participation by staff members. Collaborative work with NGO’s is in its infant stage and the college is definitely moving in this direction.
Being primarily an undergraduate college and tied up with the pre-degree programme, the institution is not able to concentrate much on its research activities. However, in the Department of English, 3 members of the faculty are recognized guides of the parent university for M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. The concept of consultancy is yet to grow.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
During the past 44 years, the college has expanded its infrastructure facilities in the form of multistoried buildings, laboratories, library, auditorium and hostel blocks. The college owns 5 acres of land which is shared by the High school also. There are enough classrooms and adequate laboratory facilities. Once the pre-degree is completely delinked, more space will be available and hence there is enough scope for expansion.
There is a good library equipped with over 40,000 books and a few periodicals. It is kept open from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs and it functions smoothly under the guidance of an advisory committee and a qualified librarian. Open access system enables students to utilize the library to a great extent. Computerization of library has just started and for quick and efficient library automation, the staff concerned needs computer orientation. A photostat machine has been provided in the library for students’ use. There is a computer center run by a private agency.
Sports facilities are provided to students for games such as basketball, cricket, table tennis, handball, softball and shuttle badminton. Hostel facilities are available for 300 students in the college campus with 2 spacious dining halls and a visitor’s parlour. By providing additional bathrooms and toilets, the quality of hostel life may be enhanced. There is a canteen catering for the needs of day students.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The college has an admission policy strictly adhering to the rules laid down by the Government of Kerala as well as the university. At least 50% of the students take up higher studies in other institutions though the success rate of the students at the competitive examinations is negligible. The college has an appropriate mechanism to monitor student progression. Student feedback received on teaching, learning, evaluation, facilities, organization, management, etc., is used for improving and strengthening the system. Financial aids in the form of scholarships namely national merit scholarship, state government scholarship and institution scholarship have been utilized by 685 students. Funds from the BCM charity is also available to support the less privileged. Initiation of a formal career guidance cell would cater for the present day needs of students. Staff members themselves do regular counseling though they are not professionally trained. The college encourages students to take part in co-curricular activities through their departmental associations and the students’ union. The college has been well represented in the intercollegiate and interuniversity competitions. They have brought many laurels to the institution.
Criterion VI: Organization and Management
The organization structure is conducive to the smooth execution of managerial functions. It has an efficient internal coordinating and monitoring mechanism. The Management is totally dedicated to the cause of education and it is very supportive physically, morally and financially. It screens the performance appraisal of faculty and suggests suitable steps for improvement. A few lectures are arranged for administrative and technical staff to improve their communication skills. On the whole, both members of faculties and staff enjoy good rapport with the Management.
The finances of the college are sound. The annual budget of the college amounts to about Rs.1,87,00,000 and the money is carefully spent under relevant heads. There is an internal audit mechanism which audits accounts suggesting effective financial management. Mechanisms for internal quality assurance are very few.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The following healthy practices have been identified in the institution, which help students.
1. Provision of certificate and diploma courses in addition to the regular curriculum.
2. Training in Yoga for interested students.
3. Very efficiently managed co-operative store.
4. Encouragement for cultural and sports activities.
5. Perfect rapport among the Management, faculty, supportive staff and students.
6. Preparation of hand written magazines by each department, news letters and the well edited informative college magazine exhibiting the literary skills of the students.
BCM College, situated in the heart of Kottayam city has been taking enormous efforts during the past 44 years in imparting value oriented education to girls from all economic strata. A majority of the students are from low-income families from the villages in and around Kottayam. Being an affiliated college, it has difficulties in offering curricular options to students, teachers and parents. Therefore introduction of need based, job-oriented courses in emerging areas poses problems. As such, the college offers traditional courses designed by Mahatma Gandhi University. In this knowledge-oriented era, there is an imminent need for introducing diversified courses in the upcoming areas such as information technology, tourism and travel management, electronics etc. When the pre-degree programme is de-linked, the college would do well if it can plan with the existing and external expertise, to offer applied need based programmes at both the undergraduate and the postgraduate levels, fully utilizing the available human resources and infrastructure facilities. The existing members, if given adequate motivation and training, can be helped to reorient themselves to develop competencies in the upcoming areas. The following are the commendations and suggestions the Peer Team would like to make for the institution:
· The infrastructure facilities are good in all the departments for existing undergraduate programmes.
· Tutorial/counseling needs strengthening by formalizing counselling both personal and career, in a systematic manner by professional counselors.
· Apart from the regular NSS programmes, departments evince enthusiasm in extending services to the society. They may have tie-ups with NGO’s, social work department and other government organizations and see that benefits of outreach programmes reach society. The language departments may use their skills in spreading useful messages among masses to bring social awareness on important issues.
· Maximum additional utilization of space particularly in the library is highly appreciable. However, additional space in the library would be advantageous for the users.
· The functioning of the co-operative store, which caters for the needs of students and staff, is commendable and this facilitates campus life.
· In the teaching learning situation, the lecture method is stressed with occasional use of OHP and Charts.
· Only a few of the teachers are involved in their own research activities taken up for professional advancement. Research of any other kind is totally lacking in the system.
Ø Linking up with industries is not found in programmes other than Food Science and Quality Control.
Ø Introduction of applied postgraduate programmes of interdisciplinary nature would motivate teachers in formulating research proposals and promoting research with the assistance of funding agencies.
Ø Teachers need to be encouraged to take up research to bring in research orientation and thereby consultancy services.
Ø Facilities need to be improved as and when additional new courses are offered.
Ø The computer facility in the college needs to be enhanced considerably to provide opportunities to all students.
Ø Computerization of library has just started and for quick and efficient library automation, the staff concerned need computer orientation.
Ø Use of technologies such as audiotape and video projection, brain-storming, etc., needs to be encouraged.
Ø Computer literacy is needed for office staff to bring about office automation in the near future. Other than listening to a few lectures, the support staff do not have any opportunity to improve their skills and it would be a great support for them if they are given training to improve their skills.
Ø Hostel facilities are good. By providing additional bathrooms and toilets, the quality of hostel life will be enhanced.
Ø The college has plans to strengthen the social and extension activities, initiate and support information technology programmes and women’s development issues. It is important to have a well drawn up plan for the next decade to be executed in a phased manner. Since there is inordinate delay in getting approval from the government in starting need based aided courses, the departments may plan to offer relevant certificate courses.