Bishop Kurialacherry College for Women, Amalagiri, Kottayam was established on a 25-acre arcadia on a hilltop at Amalagiri in the year 1965 under the patronage of Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Kurialacherry. As a mark of respect for the founder father of the institution the College is named after him. This is a grant-in-aid college affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University. It offers four under graduate programmes in biology, mathematics and statistics, physics and chemistry. In humanities there are three departments- English, Malayalam and Hindi and in Social Science-Economics, History and Political Science.
There are 44 permanent teachers in the faculty, 2 with Ph. D., 22 with M. Phil. and the rest with Master’s degrees. The college was the dream of the Bishop to extend higher education facilities to women. However, the college forms part of a big educational complex where a Pre-Degree section also functions. The institution is managed by a Board of Management, consisting of Mother Provincial as President of the Board, the Principal the Ex-officio Secretary and a Convener, an Educational Councilor, a Vice-Principal, a Bursar and a nominee of the Mother Provincial and a staff representative. The Board is involved in planning, administering and overseeing various activities of the institution.
The college volunteered to be assessed by NAAC. The NAAC constituted a committee consisting of Prof. Neerada Reddy, Vice-Chairperson, Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education, as Chairperson of the Peer Team with two other members Dr. Mrithunjaya P Kulenur, Dean, College Development Council, University of Mysore and Prof. S. K. Naik, Vice-Principal, Smt. Parvatibai Cultural Foundation’s College of Arts and Science College, Margao-Goa. The committee visited Bishop Kurialacherry College for Women, on 11th, 12th and 13th October, 1999 and visited the departments, the library, the laboratories, the hostels and other supporting facilities. The Peer Team interacted with members of the Governing Board, faculty, students, parents, alumni and supporting staff in order to validate the contents of the Self-study report. The following evaluation is an outcome of the visit of the Peer Team.
There are 339 students pursuing under graduate courses and 31 students in the post graduate course. The college is virtually an under-graduate institution with a major thrust in classroom teaching, learning and evaluation. The college is contemplating the introduction of a few additional P.G. programmes and promotion of research on a bigger scale in the near future. It has been the motto of the college to serve the needy and oppressed women coming from rural areas. The admission policy is designed in the light of the philosophy of ‘Empowerment of Rural Women’. The gratifying feature of the college lies in their enduring emphasis on inculcation of spiritual, ethical and moral values among girls.
Section 2: Criterion-wise Analysis
Criterion 1: Curricular Aspects
The range of programme options available to students is limited and the college does not have reasonable flexibility in curriculum. The college has made some attempts to restructure curriculum in Physics. A new B.A. vocational course in Malayalam with copy-editing, printing and publishing was started in 1998 as an effort to link curriculum with career. A postgraduate course in economics was also started in 1995. some administrative difficulties and financial crunch are the constraints, which stall the academic expansion of the institution. Though ecologically it has beautiful ambiance, the inaccessibility of the place has restricted the number of students seeking admission. Although the qualifying mark for admission has been lowered to enable poor rural students to join the college, good scholastic record has been maintained. The first rank in the Science Group in 1993, the first and the third rank in B.A and B. Sc Degree examination were obtained.
The number of subject options open to students is re limited i.e. B.A. economics, B.Sc. mathematics and statistics and B.Sc. chemistry, B.A. Malayalam (Vocational) and one Postgraduate course in economics. As on today the elective options in core and non-core subjects are limited. The institution hopes to overcome this handicap within the near future by remodelling and expanding academic programmes. The college strives to uplift women through education in B.A., B.Sc. and also by imparting value education which forms an important part of the teaching programme, mostly through tutorial system. ‘Educate a woman you educate a whole generation’, is the motto of the college. Feedback from peers is obtained during meetings of the staff council.
Selection of students to the college is based on merit and as per government norms. There is no entrance examination for admission. Remedial classes and spoken English classes are being conducted by the teachers of English for weak students. Seminars, workshops, debates are conducted to supplement curriculum. Teachers provide books of advanced learning, arrange interaction with resource persons, provide opportunities to participate in various activities like quiz and oratory, through clubs such as the Quiz Club, the Oratory Club, the Nature Club, the Dramatic Club and the Music Club for the benefit of students with initiative.
The college has the Tutor-Ward system and each teacher is assigned 30 students. The teacher looks after the academic progress of the students he or she is in charge and attends to personal difficulties. She extends all help at the time of need. Regular meetings with their wards are held in order to build a healthy inter-personal relationship.
At the beginning of the year the teaching plan is drawn by the departments. The syllabi are unitised, according to the annual system of teaching. Mid-term tests, terminal exams and model exams are conducted accordingly. Apart from regular class-room teaching, seminars, workshops, quiz competitions are organized regularly to motivate students. In case of B.A. Malayalam (Vocational course), each student required to submit a project report which is part of the internal assessment. The second semester students of Malayalam have brought out a short journal called ‘Imprint’ which promotes the writing skills of students.
The use of an overhead projector and audio visual aids supplement classroom teaching. However, there is a need to develop a centralized audiovisual facility. Students are also encouraged to participate in intercollegiate competitions. Character building and body development emphasized in all activities. The activities of many departments provide ample scope for co-curricular learning.
The examination system is designed and conducted by the Mahathma .Gandhi University, Kottayam. However the college does a periodic assessment to evaluate the students performance through seminars, paper presentation, review work of students, regular tests and terminal examination.
The college has 44 faculty members; 2 Ph.D.’s ; 22 M. Phil.’s and the rest are Postgraduates. The recruitment of the faculty is made according to the UGC and the Government rules. The college encourages teachers to avail themselves of the Faculty Improvement Programme of the UGC, to undertake major and minor research projects, and to participate in national and international seminars, and refresher and orientation courses. As many as 30 teachers of the college have participated in national seminar and one teacher of the college in an international seminar. A teacher of the English department is a practicing novelist and has 2 books to her credit. One of her books is honored with the “Kesari Award “of Current Books Publications.
Informal feedback is obtained from students on faculty performance. This is done by collecting the feedback of the students on a response based Questionnaire. The data of the teacher appraisal by the students are analysed and proper feedback is given to the teacher concerned for further improvement.
The above academic measures taken by sincere members of the faculty towards the improvement of students’ knowledge and other human skills of development are reflected in the overall performance of the students at the university examinations.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
The Bishop Kurialacherry College for Women is involved in effective classroom teaching facilitating the learning process. One teacher has joined the M.Phil. programme on full time basis; another will join soon. Out of four teachers working for the doctoral degree one has already been awarded the Ph.D. and the rest are yet to submit their work. Two short term projects are in operation with an out lay of Rs.27,000/-
The department of mathematics has submitted a proposal to U.G.C for financial assistance for conducting a national workshop on Graph Theory, Topology, Operation Research, Automation and Computer Programming. The workshop is meant for college teachers, research Scholars and postgraduate students and the estimated budget is Rs.73,000/-. The department is awaiting a positive response from the UGC. The college organized an inter-collegiate seminar on career guidance and personality development on January 16-17, 1999 sponsored by Mahatma Gandhi University. In addition to this the department of economics conducted two seminars- one on ‘Amarthya Sen in the Indian context’ on February 09, 1998 and a seminar on ‘Euro Currency’ on February 19, 1999.
As an effort to relate meaningfully to the community, the college has initiated a news letter twice a year to keep in touch with the people. It serves as a document of various activities, academic and outreach programmes going on in the college, and this is called Bishop Kurialacherry College News Letter. One of the teachers in the department of chemistry has submitted a project proposal to the UGC on Polymer Blend-Estimated expenditure is Rs.2,50,000/-. Three more research papers are also submitted for publication in Polymer Journal.
Three senior teachers from the department of physics have attended a workshop on restructuring of the physics syllabus conducted by Mahatma Gandhi University. The faculty is actively engaged in research. The Peer Team is specially appreciative of the idea of the “Manuscript Magazine” brought out annually by the department of Malayalam. Students contribute literary articles and the magazine manifests students’ creativity in literature and art. It is definitely an academic accomplishment and record of the successful artistic effort of the students to advance their talents.
The Social Sciences faculty consists of economics, history and political science departments. Out of 12 faculty members in all two have Ph.D., and one teacher has submitted her Doctoral thesis. It has five M.Phil. degree holders and four of them are postgraduates with the B.Ed. degree. Three teachers have done M.Phil. under the Faculty Improvement Programme of the UGC.
The department of economics is actively engaged in research. The publications are on various important subjects mostly relevant to the State of Kerala. The research article “Refinance Operation of NABARD- Kerala Experience” is published by the Indian Institute of Finance Journal, New Delhi. A senior teacher of the department of economics has done a doctoral thesis on A study of Women workers in the Plantation Sector of Kerala. She also has a minor research ongoing project on ‘Economic Impact of Rubber Crisis- A Case Study’ and attended an international seminar organized by the Rubber Board and the Rubber Asia Cochin, in 1998. Neo Colonialism - a Multi Dimensional Analysis (UGC sponsored seminar) was attended by her in Kothamangalam in 1999. In accordance with the goal set by the institution, “Value Education and Women Empowerment” is yet another UGC sponsored national seminar attended by a teacher from the department of economics. A faculty member is will shortly present the research paper on “The Dilemmas of the Kerala Economy”, at seminar in Muvatupuzha.
Faculty members of the departments of social sciences have attended 13 Refresher courses and 12 workshops on relevant academic themes which form a part of their academic endeavour. A research article on “Knowledge, Reality and Representation” is published by a teacher from department of history, which is published by School of Social Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, 1994. An article on “Historiography of Kerala” was presented in Indian History Congress in 1992, at Warangal. Another research article-“Historiography and Colonial Discourse” was presented at the Indian History Congress, 1993, at Mysore.
Special extension lectures by the outside experts are arranged for the benefit of under graduate and post graduate students. Some of the themes are, “New trends in the economy”, “Imperialism and Dependency Approach”, “Impact of Globalisation on Kerala’s Economy”, “Kerala Model of Development conceived by Centre for Economic Development, Government of Kerala”, “Practical Banking and the Effect of Balance of Payment”. Students of the postgraduate department of economics bring out a weekly news review and they will soon to present monthly seminars. The department proposes to conduct a UGC sponsored seminar on “The Kerala model of Development” and Rs.17,000/- has already been sanctioned. A second seminar on Indian Development-Before and After the New Economic Policy will also be organised with the UGC grant of Rs.25,000/-.
Three departments in the social science faculty, together manage the curricular teaching plans, management of seminars, publications and academic research proposals. Student assessment is done separately and remedial courses are conducted thrice a month through tutorials. The Peer Team verified the relevant records for the year 1998-’99, it is obvious from the records that the students admitted with low qualifying marks did very well in the annul exams, the result being 100%. The bright students also get special attention in the form of extra-subject references supplied, visits to other institutions and they get access to the Mahatma Gandhi University Library. Seminars and group discussions are arranged for this group for the promotion of excellence.
One of the staff members is given additional charge of the extension activities of the college. Broad areas of various extension activities are community development, health and hygiene awareness, adult education, medical camp, aids and environmental awareness and social work. The NSS wing of the college carries out some of the outreach programmes. In addition to this the college has a population club, anadult education and national literacy mission. Right from the inception of the college the students and staff are engaged in arts, nature and music club, activities and others such as dramatics, career building, and public speeking are encouraged through various forums. Amala Mahila Vedi, has developed a Herbal Garden, Vermi compost under the auspices of Bishop Kurialacherry college for Women. Free tuition is given to poor students under the community development programme. Ayalkootam, Self Help Group, Health Education, Soap Making and Personality Development activities are some of the outreach programmes. In addition to the above, cultural activities like dance, drama (12 English plays were enacted by the Department of English during the last few years.) are commendable accomplishments of the students.
Students have expressed their creativity and are happy to seek training in interior decoration and beautician courses. All awareness programmes about (AIDS, Cancer and Abortion) are explained to rural women, under the auspices of the Medical College, ESI Hospital and Navjeevan Forum.
A noteworthy humanitarian gesture of the college is the construction of five houses for poor families, Dalit Christian women and children of the neighbouring locality are the beneficiaries. Students often visit hospitals, and the home for the mentally disabled to render help. The college has rehabilitated a blind student with substantial financial assistance by opening a telephone booth. Two villages in Tamil Nadu are adopted under the community development programme. Prominent social workers are invited to orient and initiate the staff and students to the above welfare activities.
A fund is created by friendly external agencies and the parents, the interest thus accrued is used for scholarships to students who belong to backward communities. The college is also sponsors the education of thirteen primary school children. Some college students have participated in the exercise of making cement bricks to assist in the construction of a building in the premises.
The college Management has applied for a three year degree job oriented course in English(Vocational), Physics, electronics, food technology and microbiology and this is an evidence of their sustained academic interest and earnest desire to initiate many academic programmes.
During the last 18 years the college has expanded its infrastructure facilities in the form of many buildings, classrooms, large and fully equipped laboratories, library, play grounds, hostels, auditorium, canteen and stadium. The college has a campus spread over 25 acres of land. It is sufficient for any future expansion of academic programmes. The annual maintenance is done with the funds generated by the Management and PTA.
The central library situated in the college, has 36,415 Books and 52 Journals/ Periodicals. The library works from 0900 hrs to 1630 hrs on all working days. Facilities like reprography, photocopier, video and audiocassettes, Book Bank System are available. There is an Advisory committee for the library to look after the over all development of the library which consists of the chief Librarian, the Principal and all the Heads of the departments of the college. However, the library needs to be computerized. Central computer facility is available with four PC’s in the college. The centre extends its service to all the departments and to the general administration of the college.
Hostel facility is provided for more than 400 students. Two hostels are maintained by the college. In one hostel nearly eight undergraduate students get free accommodation. Nearly 40% of the students reside in the hostel. Annual medical checkup, first aid and health awareness programmes are some of the important facilities created for the hostellers.
The college has a physical education department with sports facilities like Ball Badminton court, Shuttle Badminton court, Tennis court, Hand Ball court and a 200 meter Track. To encourage sports, college provides scholarships, special prizes, free hostel accommodation to students. During the year 1998-’99 fifteen students participated in intercollegiate and university level sports competitions. In 1998, one student was awarded “ The Star of India”, National award by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The Peer Team has noted with satisfaction, all activities that reflect the development of human personality. Free and fair elections are conducted by the college and successful students form a Students’ College Union. The College Union under the able guidance of teachers conduct various activities to promote the talents of the students. “Thiruvathira”, ”Margamkali” are the fora which give training in Music, Dance programmes respectively which is a welcome trend. Students are motivated to participate in various co-curricular activities such as the Dramatic Club, the Oratory Club, the Debate Club, the Nature Club etc. The college has successfully conducted “Amala Fest” to promote cultural activities. The college also lays emphasis on enrichment courses such as Interior Decoration, Beautician course which are out of the set curriculum.
Seminars, tests, tutorials, quiz, terminal examination, model examination are conducted regularly and proper feedback is communicated to students for furthering their performance. Presentation of ‘Seminar Papers’ is another characteristic feature of the college. This academic effort has helped in achieving good results at university examinations in physics, mathematics and statistics, and economics.
The college is sensitized to the problems of the under privileged and provides them free hostel and financial aid. A performance profile of each student is maintained by allotting 30 students to every teacher. This has brought about a cordial informal relationship between the teacher and the taught. The Career and Guidance Cell assisted by the in-house teachers solve academic and personal problems of students. The college does not have a scheme for training students for the competitive examinations at the state level. The Peer Team recommends that suitable steps may be taken to establish these facilities with the help of the college faculty and with expertise drawn from outside.
One cannot afford to ignore the academic and practical exercise in spoken English offered by a teacher in the English department. This is specially designed to help the students to overcome mother tongue interference and inhibition while speaking in English. The classes are run from 0830 hrs to 0930 hrs. This is a commendable academic and extension activity of the college which has produced good results.
Over the years the college has produced proffesional women in different walks of life such as medicine, engineering, education, nursing and banking. The Alumnae are proud to be the products of the college and this was spontaneously demonstrated during the Peer Team interaction with parents and alumnae.
The college is proud of the performance of students specially in Ball Badminton and Shuttle Badminton, tournaments. A national award “The Star of India” won for outstanding performance to Miss. S. Shibu. Nearly 60% of the students participate in different college games and have earned proficiency in intercollegiate tournaments. It is worth praising that two sportswomen of the college could secure admission in medical college in the sports quota.
The college strives to promote and encourage academic excellence by awarding merit-cum-means scholarships, university merit scholarships and state scholarships. Twenty-two students received scholarships in this category. This helped student progression to postgraduate studies in different subjects.
Backward-class students are offered a certain quota of seats in different branches of studies. They are awarded freeships, and free boarding and lodging. Special remedial coaching and personal counseling is given to students in order to enable them to cope with academic learning.
The Career Guidance Club of the department of economics has conducted two inter-collegiate career development camps. About seven students from the career club are exposed to self awareness and self-esteem, confidence building, preparation of application and CV, career options and interview techniques. The Development Club of Bishop Kurialacherry college has conducted a two day inter college career development camp on September 25-26, 1999.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
Mother Provincial of Adoration Congregation is the Manager and President of the Board of Management. The Principal, Bursar, a representative of staff, a nominee of the Provincial are the other members of the Board of Management who mange the institution. The Management decides policies and the framework for the development of the college. The Principal runs the college efficiently taking into account the needs of the departments. Separate Committees are set up to look after planning, library, finance, hostels and building construction. In addition, the college has various staff committees comprising dedicated teachers to plan and execute various academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. This process of decentralization of administration has reinforced the Co-ordination of the functions of the Management, teachers and students. The policies of the Government of Kerala and the University, are not flexible enough to let the College initiate new, job oriented, computer related courses and other modern programmes relevant to students.
It has been brought to the notice of the Peer Team that new courses such as B.A.English, M.Sc.Mathematics, B.Sc.Physics, B.Sc.Food Microbiology, have been approved by Mahatma Gandhi University and that the approval from the State Government is awaited.
Introduction of the B.Sc.Food Microbiology course in the college would, in the opinion of the Peer Team generates better employment opportunities. The Management is also planning to offer vocational Courses like B.Sc.Electronics and Equipment Maintenance in the Department of Physics which would enhance the skills of the students in the electronics field and would offer better opportunities in the future. The Peer Team is of the opinion that the Management may generate more financial resources and start restructured courses which can bring gainful employment. These courses may be self-financing courses like Bachelor in Computer Applications(BCA), Master in Computer Applications(MCA), Hotel Management and Tourism related courses. The campus ambiance and the vast infrastructure and committed faculty of the college are ideally suited to the above courses. A large number of faculty are interested in pursuing research. The Management may augment this activity by providing some financial aid and this would further enhance the quality of teaching. The welfare programmes offered by the college with the help of the Management are commendable. Interest free loans are advanced to the non-teaching staff for house constructions and for the education of their children. The college is ally assisted by the benevolent Management and by the enthusiastic teachers in their venture of bringing in quality in curricular and co-curricular activities.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The Peer Team appreciates the following healthy practices of the institution which are praiseworthy:
Bishop Kurialacherry College for Women is founded in the year 1965. The college is situated on hill Amalagiri away from the over crowded urban area. It is indeed a fascinating, beautiful backdrop of the institution. The college has completed 18 years with the main thrust on Under Graduate courses and one programme i.e. M.A. Economics at the postgraduate level. The college premises is an integral part of a larger educational complex which includes Pre-Degree (going to be delinked shortly) At the under graduate level there are 339 students including first, second and third year programmes of undergraduation, at the postgraduate level there are 31 students. The college is a grant-in-aid institution affiliated to Mahathma Gandhi University. The performance of the students in studies, sports and extension activities is found to be very satisfactory and the institution takes special care to impart moral and ethical values to students.
The college, in conformity with its objectives, organizes curricular and extra-curricular activities with inbuilt religious orientation. In spite of a very committed Management, considerable potentiality to grow in size, and diversity, remains a beautiful minor institution with limited programme options. In view of this the Peer Team makes the following commendations and recommendations for future guidance.
The institution is small but it is a beautiful miniature community of scholars, committed faculty and devoted Management. Given the opportunity and freedom, the institution can evolve into a centre of academic excellence. The Peer Team makes this observation on the basis of the evaluation of the vast infrastructure, quality and the team spirit of the faculty and the direct and indirect role of the supportive management. However, the policy of the government of Kerala and the university with regard to academic expansion, and curricular programmes appears to be a constraint.