Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Deva Matha college
Section 1: Preamble
Deva Matha college was established in the year 1964 by St. Mary’s Forane Church of the Kuravilangad Parish belonging to the Diocese of Palai. The college is a minority institution for both men and women. It caters for the educational needs of the rural population around the village of Kuravilangad and is affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam. The college, which mainly offers undergraduate programmes besides three postgraduate programmes, decided to get assessed and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The college submitted the self-study report (in March 1999) prepared on the basis of guidelines and formats evolved by NAAC.
A Peer Team, constituted by NAAC, visited the college between December 16 and 18, 1999. The team included Prof. P. Ramachandra Naidu, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Sri Krishna Devaraya University, Anantpur, as Chairman and Prof. D. Shrijay Devaraj Urs, Professor of Economics, Institute of Development Studies, University of Mysore and Prof. Hima Urmila Shetty, Professor of English, St. Agnes’ college, Mangalore as Members.
The Peer Team meticulously analysed the information furnished in the self-study report with a view to validate it through interaction with the stakeholders of the college.
The college located in an Agro-rural environment, covers 25 acres of picturesque landscape. It offers 9 undergraduate programmes: mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, English, Malayalam, economics, commerce. It also has three postgraduate programmes: commerce, English and Malayalam. There are 91 permanent members of the faculty in the college besides 6 temporary teachers. The student strength is 1156(UG 1111 and PG 45). The college earned UGC recognition under 2f in 1964.
The Peer Team, after perusing the self-study report, visited the departments to interact with faculty and to examine evidences that bear testimony to the statements made in the report. The committee also visited the units that offer different co-curricular, extra curricular and extension programmes. The Peer Team interacted with the entire faculty, support staff, a cross section of student representatives, members of Alumni and Parent-teachers Association to elicit their views and suggestions about the quality of education imparted, utility of the programmes, and standing of the college in the area. The report prepared by the Peer Team below:
Section 2: Criterion-wise Analysis
Criterion I: Curricular Aspects
The affiliated status of the college means that initiatives for curriculum design are limited to member participation in core committees at the university. There are 12 programme options grouped into 3 main categories Arts, Science and Commerce. The college, works to enrich the academic experience of the student through their co-curricular, extra-curricular and extension activities. While vocationalisation has not been feasible as an option, attempts may be made to introduce appropriate vocational programmes. This could be the beginning of a need–based response. Regional considerations could be kept in mind even while planning progressive courses. It must be noted, however, that the postgraduate programmes they have opted for are in the conventional mould, M.A.in English, M.A. in Malayalam (with a journalistic adjunct) and M.Com.
Inter-departmental co-operation, as expected, is at the level of sharing expertise, rather than providing flexible cross-disciplinary options for the student. Much of the remedial work being done could be given a more regular character. The curricula devised for the certificate courses could also have a bearing on local needs.
A recent development in the curriculum is that from a given list of courses, colleges can opt for a paper of their choice. Internal Assessment of 20 marks also means that the internal assessment procedure followed by the college has acquired legitimacy. There is some scope of flexibility here.
There is potential for departments networking with neighbouring industries. This would lead to comprehensive interaction and be useful for designing relevant courses in the future.
Curricular review, made even under an affiliating system, may help discern areas of the university syllabi which need replacement, updating and revision. These may be done through a corporate procedure and activity which can show this way to be imaginatively creative within the affiliating system.
Criterion II: Teaching, Learning and Evaluation
Cognisant of their goal of holistic education, the college addresses the academic and emotional needs of the students. They are also motivated to be socially responsible. The tutorial system, followed by the college helps to promote academic confidence and emotional maturity. It is seen to nurture a deep sense of involvement with the college even among the alumni.
Learner–centered activity forms an important element (10-20%) of all instruction. Seminars, mini-projects, library assignments, use of audio-visual aids and the OHP, introduce the student to self-study methods. Value Education is offered in the academic curriculum. However, it may be advantageous to have a computer familiarisation programme for the entire student body. Academically weak learners are given remedial coaching, and advanced-learners are also catered for, by pushing them to excel. It does not seem to be a well-tried out system of learner-centred class room pedagogy structure for the whole academic year.
The results and ranks are fairly consistent, though some attempt could be made to screen the aptitude of students at the admission stage in order to better the standards.
Examinations are conducted as per existing university regulations, but the fact that the university is organising workshops on examination reform, may herald a reforming and restructuring of examinations in the future in keeping with current trends.
The college is on the way to meeting these challenges especially through the instrumentality of the faculty. The faculty is already upgrading their qualifications. The college helps them to assess their teaching methods by taking a feed back from the students and doing a self-appraisal. Members of the faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the FIP, the refresher courses and subject courses. Leave is sanctioned and alternative arrangements are made by the Management.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
The college, perhaps rightly, emphasizes that in relation to research it deals with “facilitating aspects rather than individual performance.” Among the faculty they have 8 members who have earned their Ph.D. and 16 their M.Phil. degrees and five more are engaged in research under FIP and other schemes.
Efforts have been made to publish articles relating to their fields of specialisation. Some faculty members have published their doctoral work in the form of books. The research committee could help to write research proposals to be submitted for sanction of research projects by appropriate agencies. The college allows their members of the faculty to attend refresher courses, seminars and workshops organised at regional and national levels. Some departments have executive membership in their regional subject associations.
Extension work through the NSS and NCC and their clubs and associations is their major strength. The college NSS & NCC units have adopted a ward, where they have insured all the families against accidents. They have constructed a stage for them. Elsewhere the Nirmithi Club has constructed a house and intends to do this on a yearly basis.
Awareness building activities are many but specially those in covering drug addiction, AIDS and eco-friendliness deserve mention.
The college also undertakes extension activities in collaboration with NGO’s, grama/block panchayats and co-operative societies. Students also participate in projects and competitions of the Y’s Men International, the YMCA and Lions Club. Career guidance and counselling along with a marginal community outreach, are among the extension activities of the college. The beneficiaries as of now are mainly the students and their families. Various clubs which function in the college have an individual character and are maintained with great enthusiasm.
Conventional research is required by funding bodies. However the college may seek to improve quality by promoting a research culture on the campus, specialised local studies by both staff and students may be one of the social way to promote it.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
The college is fortunate to have a spacious building located in the campus provided by the church for educational activities. Over the years it has developed the needed infrastructure for better functioning. The Peer Team was informed that when pre-degree de-linking is completed, there will be surplus infrastructure which the college intends to use for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. The available infrastructure is very well maintained and utilised. There are plans for optimal use of facilities by offering short-term training programmes including diploma and certificate courses. A committee has been set up for campus beautification and is assigned the task of improving the surroundings and also greening the campus.
The college has a centralised library, with a collection of 42,000 books and 150 magazines and journals. The annual procurement of books has come down and it is necessary that additional resources should be made available for strengthening the holdings in the library. The Peer Team appreciated the special efforts made by the members of the faculty to set up a separate career library, which caters for the needs of students for enhancing their career potentials. This needs to be further strengthened. The working hours of the library could be rescheduled to help students utilise the facilities better.
A centralised computer facility has been set up with 10 computers. Although no formal computer course is available, efforts are made to offer 2 short-term training programmes for students. There is a proposal to improve the computer facility by adding some more systems and that should benefit institutional organisation viz. Library, college office and departments. The seminar hall is equipped with audio and video facilities and could be extensively used. Laboratories are adequately equipped to cater for the curricular needs of undergraduate students.
There are several other utilities like rest room for girl students, canteen, stationery shop, vehicle parking shed and co-operative stores. The college has sports and games facilities, which are used not only by students but also by local agencies. The college has set up E-mail and Internet connections. In a phased manner it is necessary to equip some departments with computer facility as that would help the departments in strengthening their academic programmes.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The college mainly caters for students from the surrounding region and women students out number the men students. The Peer Team is informed that the ratio has been maintained consistently over the years. Co-education has provided an opportunity for leveling gender disparities. The college provides the updated prospectus indicating the details of courses offered and scholarships. In addition to that, students are also given orientation to the rules and regulations of the institution to familiarise them with the college programmes.
The drop out rate for the entire college is 24.6%, which is high and is ascribed to students opting for professional courses.
The Peer Team appreciates the efforts made by the teachers to impart quality education as it is reflected in the ranks obtained by the students over the years. Almost every year the college gets one or two ranks. The college has evolved a regular feedback mechanism to elicit the opinion of students about the quality of instruction and performance of teachers. This needs to be formalised. The college arranges for scholarships to which students are entitled. In addition the college also extends financial assistance to deserving students but to a limited extent.
Academic and Personal Counselling is facilitated by involving all members of the faculty. A batch of students is assigned to a tutor and teachers take responsibility for supervising and monitoring the progress of students. It is appreciable that some of the students have passed competitive examinations viz. GRE, GMAT, GATE, TOEFL, UGC-CSIR-NET.
It is observed that the college maintains a good rapport with its alumni and that has helped in sustaining the reputation of the college. The Peer Team is informed that a large number of students from the college have settled abroad and it would be worthwhile if efforts are made to seek their support to augment facilities. The Peer Team was impressed with the participation of alumni, as they are keen on continuing their identity and relationship with the college. They are also keen in helping the college on all its endeavours and this should be exploited.
The Peer Team appreciates the rapport among members of the faculty, students and support staff. The Peer Team is also impressed with the discipline that is maintained and efforts made to uphold and sustain the traditions of the college.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
The college is managed by a well-structured organisation in accordance with the regulations of the university and the State Government. Major policy decisions are taken by the Managing Board and it is effectively implemented with the help of several committees constituted for that purpose. These committees meet periodically and function satisfactorily. The college has recruited teachers within the framework of the rules and regulations of the university and the state government and manpower requirements of the college are met. Availability of highly motivated and committed teachers has helped the college to consolidate its efforts. The Management encourages the faculty and the supporting staff for furthering their professional development.
The Managing Board takes all decisions concerning financial matters. The budget of the college emphasizes the balanced use of resources as far as possible. Participatory governance, involving all the constituents of the college may heighten motivation to achieve grater things.
A career guidance cell functions in the college and several special programmes are conducted to prepare students to take competitive examinations with the required competence.
Several welfare measures are undertaken by the college to benefit students and faculty. There is a co-operative consumer society. The employees’ co-operative society provides credit facilities. The college also extends financial aid for meeting medical expenses, housing loans in collaboration with Nirmithi Club.
There is a grievance redressal cell in the college. There is no demand for hostel facilities as most of the students are day-scholars. Seventy-five women students are housed in a hostel managed by a sister organisation.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The Peer Team observed the following to be healthy practices prevailing in the college:
· The tutorial system
· Extension and outreach activities
· Organisation of departmental book banks
· Student profiles
· Morning prayers and campus discipline
· Departmental in-house magazines
· Well-organised career guidance library
Section 3: Overall Analysis
A parish college of 35 years standing Deva Matha college, Kuravilangad fulfils needs of the rural community with a heterogeneous composition for access to higher education. Looking upon their students as “refined human capital” their mission is to impart transformative education.
Since the pre-degree will be delinked from the college shortly, it is expected that the Management will permit the college to start more postgraduate programmes and promote research and consultancy.
Current trends in education demand both redefining and restructuring of courses and curricula. To succeed in this, the college needs to have academic autonomy, which it does not enjoy now as an affiliated institution. The Management and the college authorities may initiate the process to apply for autonomy.
The Principal and the members of the faculty have to extend the scope of computer education and promote more consistent interface with local industries for enhancing employment opportunities and resource generation.
In conclusion the Peer Team wishes to record its appreciation of the discipline and work culture evident in the institution. We sincerely trust that while maintaining its unique character, the institution will rise to meet the new challenges in the field of higher education. The Peer Team appreciates the support given to members of the team in the discharge of their tasks of assessment, by the Principal, faculty, support staff and students. The help and assistance extended by NAAC officials, Dr. Latha Pillai, Deputy Adviser and Mr. B. S. Ponmudiraj, Academic Professional is gratefully acknowledged.