Assessment Report on

Institutional Accreditation of

Fatima college 

Mary Land, Madurai



Section 1: Preface


The Fatima college, Mary Land, Madurai - 625 018 is a college for women, affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University.  It is situated in Vilangudi, Madurai.  It is a minority Institution established and run by St. Joseph Society of Madurai (The Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Lyons), which belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.  Initially started as a second grade college in 1953, the Fatima college was upgraded in 1957 and became a postgraduate Institution in 1964.  Although the M.K. University confers the degrees on the students passing out of its portals, Fatima college has been enjoying the autonomous status for both, its UG and PG programs since the year 1990-91 and under this set up, the college has the freedom and privilege to frame its own syllabi and adopt suitable methods of teaching and evaluation procedures.


The Fatima college is situated on a vast campus of 37 acres  and offers a choice of 14 UG and 6 PG courses.  It has a strength of 2300 students, 130 teaching and 75 non-teaching staff.  The Institution has been striving to achieve its fundamental goal of imparting holistic value education to the underprivileged young women who belong to the lower income families, hailing from rural and semi-urban areas.


The Fatima college for Women volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore, and submitted the preliminary self-study report in November 1999.  The NAAC constituted the Peer Team consisting of Prof. M. Malla Reddy as the Chairman, Prof. Katre Shakuntala, Department of Zoology, Bangalore University, Prof. Varghese K. Varghese, Head, Department of Social Work, Rajagiri college of Social Sciences, Kerala as members to visit the college during 13th, 14th & 15th of December 1999, to validate the report.  The Peer Team visited the college as per schedule and has recorded the following observations and assessment, based on an  in-depth analysis of the self study report submitted by the institution. The team carefully validated the same, on the basis of supporting documents, visits to various departments, interaction with various constituent bodies of the Institution and related personnel, (teaching staff, students, non-teaching staff, alumnae  and parents).


Section 2: Criterion-wise Analysis


Criterion I: Curricular Aspects

In the capacity of an autonomous institution, the Fatima college designs its own curricular programs, in an attempt to achieve its goals. Apart from a range of options with structured degree courses and diplomas such as B.A., B.Sc., B.Com., DCA, PGDCA the institution also offers pure and applied courses. The student has to study a compulsory component of value education and also has 12 options for non-core and inter-disciplinary subjects, under part IV of the UG course. There are also options for electives. Need-based academic programs are designed, developed and implemented from time to time. In the recent years, the much sought after MBA course and many vocational courses of local relevance have been introduced. The main computer centre is available for the use of students between 7.00 A.M. and 7.00 P.M. The curricular aspects adopted and the course contents designed from time to time, reflect the institution's mission and goals of developing newer and more useful skills in women students, promoting value-based education and outreach programmes for the underprivileged.


There are adequate opportunities to students for horizontal mobility as well as to pursue higher PG education in the selected subject. Unitization of curricula is being practised and the college is progressive in its thinking, to adopt modular curricula in the coming years.


There are also inter-departmental and inter-institutional collaborative activities, including an inter-library network with other local institutions. More recently, the institution has been offering several self-financed courses and computer courses at the Mother Rose Infotech Drome (MRID). Through flexibility in design and development of courses as envisaged under the autonomous status, the institution should attempt to develop feasible and innovative teaching and learning methods and also plan more job-oriented and skill-oriented courses that can particularly be pursued by young women of the locality.


Criterion Il: Teaching-learning and Evaluation

Fatima college at present provides satisfactory teaching - learning experience to students. While due weightage is given to interviews and special entrance tests conducted during admissions, students are selected largely on the basis of merit and their previous academic record. Involved and competent faculty seem to give students a rich learning experience.


An English Attainment Test (EAT) to freshers, a three stream remedial course in English thereafter and a year-long English remedial course for the slow-learners are all positive aspects of the teaching-learning methodology adopted by the institution.


Apart from the regular curriculum, students are engaged in a compulsory value education component and options for other activities like NSS, NCC, Adult Education, Women Education etc., through some of which, the students are also exposed to outreach programmes, internship and extension activities. Some of the extension activities are

(a) Adoption of nearby villages for literacy and family education programs.

(b) Awareness of medicinal plants and their use

(c) CART program and so on.


The college also offers scope for an all-round development of the girl child through fine-arts activities, talent-finding ventures, cultural development by celebrating various festivals, developing moral and spiritual values and compassion to the needy. Teachers and students are believed to adhere to the time schedule for all curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities thereby demonstrating a sense of general discipline and value of time.


The common computer centre (MRID) developed by the college provides adequate opportunities for students, teaching and non-teaching staff to update their computer knowledge on the campus itself. Opportunities are also provided to students to learn music, dance, karate and typewriting in the college. Catechism classes are also organised regularly by inviting priests.


61 teachers hold M.Phil. Degrees while 11 are Ph.Ds. 26 more pursue Ph.D. out of whom 13 through the FP programme. The faculty is also encouraged to participate in orientation refresher courses, seminars and workshops. Some departments have linkages with other institutions of higher learning and some research work is also goes on.


The college practises both, the continuous internal assessment and summative examination at the end of each semester. Involvement of external examiners and a double valuation system are all good practices of evaluation. Unannounced quiz, viva voce, assignments and group discussions are some of the innovative methods supplicated by the institution for evaluation. Introducing methods of objective learning, field trips for practical know how, exposure to audio-visual aids and introduction of the credit system for evaluation may be useful additions to the present system of teaching and learning at the college.


Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension

Fatima college offers 6 PG courses and M.Phil in Tamil. The infrastructure in the PG departments is fairly adequate and although some departments are involved in research activities and are guiding M.Phil. students, it would be useful to promote more research among faculty members. At present, the faculty are encouraged to go for higher studies and soon there would be many staff members with Ph.D. qualifications. It would be worth while to encouraging each one of them to apply for minor or major research projects so that the research activities of the college will be effective, as also rewarding.


At present, the extension activities are restricted to the Part IV component of the curriculum. Establishing an extension centre managed by a full-time co-ordinator may be very useful in bringing about the much-needed yet feasible industry-institution partnership. Strengthening the consultancy services and encouraging active departments to get into memorandum of understanding with nearby industries would also be useful in the coming years. Perhaps, opting to invite some of the industrial luminaries in the curriculum formation and academic endeavors of the institution would greatly benefit the college in utilizing its autonomy to the desired heights.


Pursuit of conventional research for the sake of a degree may be required. However, a research culture committed to innovation in all areas – teaching methods, student interest in local and environmental concerns and study of neighbourhood, etc – practised by both students and faculty is desirable.


Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources

The college provides impressive infrastructure and rich learning resources. The college is situated in a beautiful ambience, in an area of 37 acres of land. It has magnificent buildings, which can accommodate adequate number of classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and administrative office including the Principal's chamber. The library has a collection of nearly 72,000 books and subscribes to more than 100 journals; most of which are professional journals in most recent research studies. The library is kept open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on all working days with open access to all students. The college has procured more than 200 videocassettes on various topics of academic interest and also on many current socio-political issues.


Computerization of the library and networking with four other local colleges have facilitated an effective utilization of learning resources available, not only in the college library but also in those of other institutions. There is a centralized computer centre in addition to the number of computers exclusively available for the use of other departments. There are altogether 136 computers and some of them with only 16 MB RAM configuration, which need to be upgraded. Internet, Intercom and Photocopying facilities are available in the college. There is one hostel, which can accommodate 600 students, which is of great help to those who hail from rural areas and come from far off places.


Criterion V: Student Support and Progression

Fatima college has developed a healthy and strong support system to deal with various problems of the students. The college publishes a prospectus at the beginning of each academic year, projecting the philosophy of the institution, details of admission procedures, fee structure, curricular options, faculty profiles, evaluation procedures and general organization of the institution.


The college authorities, especially the Principal maintains highly cordial relations with the students.  As stated in the self-study report, the teachers, the students and the Principal interact with each other regularly, establishing friendly relations with one another. Almost all the students except for four overseas students and one NRI, others come from local areas. In the context of autonomy, students are a part of the academic council and participate in the decision  making process. There is a Students' Union in the college, which represents the problems and grievances of the students to the Management. The union acts as a source of feedback and an effective mechanism for redressal of student grievances. The student Union also offers suggestions on many issues relating to the functioning of the institution and help the Principal and the Management in adopting corrective measures.


The performance of the students of the college, in the End Semester examinations is good. The college has established student counselling facilities, a career guidance unit for the benefit of students and these function under the supervision of 4 staff members who are trained counsellors.  These cells help the students with updated information regarding the ever increasing number and variety of career opportunities, both at the national and international level.


There are several forms of financial aid available to needy students, in addition to scholarships awarded on the basis of merit. The college contributes Rs. 1 lakh from the Mother Rose fund (contributed by the teachers) to meet the financial requirements of the socially and economically deprived students. Some amount of financial support to the poor students is also raised through the peer group from within the institution, which creates a healthy interpersonal relationship and emotional unity among the rich and the poor members of the student community.


The placement cell of the institution plays a crucial role in finding employment for students after the completion of their respective courses.  Though the institution has served several generations of women in the region, surprisingly it has not created a strong alumnae association, in conformity with the emerging trends in higher education. It is imperative that institutions like Fatima college should involve the product of the institution in its curriculum reconstruction and development.


Special financial assistance is given to the students who participate in sports and games. Many awards are instituted for the players at the state and the national level competitions, based on their performance. With respect to the progression of the past students, the college is able to maintain a regular record, which gives an idea of their status and position in the society. A larger number of students occupy important positions in the society.


Criterion VI: Organisation and Management

The Fatima college is a Christian denominational institution managed by a Governing body, which comprises members of St. Joseph Educational Society, senior teachers of the college, nominees of the state government, UGC and the Principal.  The Governing Body is entrusted with the responsibility of the overall Management of the institution, including the financial Management.  In addition to the Governing body there is an Academic Council in conformity with the norms governing autonomous institutions. The Academic Council consists of all the Heads of the Departments, 4 teachers of the college, 4 experts from outside the college, 3 nominees of the university and 1 representative of the state government.


Functions of the Governing body:

1.   Lay down service conditions and emoluments, for the teaching and non-teaching staff of the college.

2.   Lay down the procedure for recruitment of staff

3,   Fix the fees payable by the students of the college on the recommendation of the Academic Council and the concurrence of the Finance Committee.

4.   Regulate the discipline conditions among the staff and attend to the appeals from them.

5.   Delegate administrative and financial powers to the Principal and other functionaries in college, for the sake of efficient administration.

6.   Accept endowments for specific purposes.

7.   Institute scholarships, medal, and prizes on the recommendation of the Academic Council.

8.   Approve new programmes of study.

9.   Transfer of any movable or immovable property of the college.

10. Invest any money belonging to the college in shares and securities.

11. Approve the annual report.

12. Perform other functions that are found necessary for the development of the college, as per the Guidelines of the Educational Society.


Academic Council:

The Academic council is constituted in the college which is autonomous.

1.   The Principal is the Chairperson.

2    All the Heads of Departments of the college are members.

3.   Four teachers of the college representing different levels of teaching staff nominated on rotation by the Principal on the basis of seniority of service in the college.

4.   4 experts from outside the college nominated by the Governing body.

5.   Three nominees of the University.

6.   One representative of the State Government.

7.   Two postgraduate students, two undergraduate students, one each representing major disciplines and one out-standing sports woman of the college - nominated by the Principal on the basis of merit.

8.   The member in charge of the office is the non-member secretary.


Functions of the Academic Council:

1.   To scrutinize and approve the proposals with any modification - if required - of the Boards of Studies, relating to academic regulations, curricula, syllabi, courses of study, evaluation, The Academic Council will have the right to return the matter to the Board of Studies for modifications, or reject it.

2.   Make regulations regarding admission of students to the different courses.

3.   Frame regulations for the conduct of examinations, sports, and extracurricular programs and functioning of hostels.

4.   Approve candidates for conferment of degrees by the University.

5.     Recommend to the Governing body proposals for institution of new courses and prizes, medals and scholarships and frame regulations for their award.

6.   Advise the Governing Body on all matters relating to academic work.

7.   Perform any other function assigned by the Governing body


The college Council:

The College Council is an important academic / policy-making body, consisting of Heads of the Departments of the different disciplines. The other important committees functioning in the college are Planning and Evaluation Committee, Finance Committee, Controller of Examination and Appeals Committee, Awards Committee, Discipline Committee, Advisory Committee, Athletic Committee, NSS and Adult Education Committee, Scholarship Committee, Library Committee and Property Committee. The college works within the philosophy of "participatory democracy", with the active involvement of Academic Council and college Council, in all the vital decisions of the Institution. Most of the decisions, which are made in these bodies, are finally ratified and approved by the Governing body, depending on the nature of the decision.


As per the self-study report and also according to the information gathered during the Peer Team's visit, the Principal monitors and co-ordinates the day to day affairs of the institution.  A Managing Secretary assists the Principal, especially in matters pertaining to non-teaching staff.


The financial position of the college has improved considerably after the introduction of self-financing courses viz. the MBA and the MCA. The college envisages creating a sizeable amount of Corpus fund, to translate its policies and decisions into a feasible action programmes. The college has already created a corpus fund of about Rs.30 lakhs from its overall savings, generated out of the self-financing courses.  During the interactions with the Management and the Principal, we were informed that the college plans to raise this corpus fund subsequently in the coming years.


As the college is administrated in the framework of "Human Relation Model". It has not found it necessary to create any special grievance redressal cell. The grievance redressal mechanism is built into the administrative process and procedure.


Criterion VII: Healthy Practices

Over the years, the Fatima college has adopted many healthy practices, in tune with its basic objectives. The practices contribute to the all round development of the student’s personality coupled and a broad world-view.


1.      The subject Value-based Education is offered on compulsory basis keeping in view the significance of the "affective-sphere" as an integral part of education. Regular lectures are conducted encompassing many vital areas like "humanistic values", national integration, secularism, personal accountability and empathy for others. This practice has earned the goodwill of parents.


2.      The college has started a few self-financed need-based courses. The college can expand these programmes in the near future, for mobilizing financial resources. In this context the Peer Team is convinced about the potential and accountability of the institution to offer these programmes.


3.      PG Departments are actively involved in research. The Departments where research programs are not developed, should be encouraged to undertake research work.


4.      Students and faculty participate in various community-development programmes and extension activities and they are well received by the public.


5.      Some departments, offer foundation courses for promoting communication skills in English.


6.      Unitization of syllabus, transparency in evaluation system and double-valuation in end semester examination are some of the innovative and healthy practices of the college.


7.      The college strives to promote strict discipline among students, both in the interest of their well-being and also the institutional health. In general students responsibly enjoy and exercise freedom.


8.      The college has introduced a pragmatic 'Life - guidance' course to the final year UG students and has added a component of personal and career counselling recently. This healthy practice helps students to overcome social  and emotional problems.


9.      It is commendable to note that, both faculty and students are contribute to the welfare of poor students through voluntary financial support. This collective endeavour to assist the needy and deprived students is one of the rare attributes of this institution.


10.  The college has evolved a "talent - search" mechanism for channeling the creative potentialities of students. It has also introduced certain extra-curricular activities like music, dance, karate, etc.


11.  Feed-back obtained regularly from students, which the institution gathers through the suggestion box' and 'tutorials' help the institution in adopting corrective measures. This may however be formalised.


Section 3: Overall Analysis


Studying in the Fatima college, is a challenging, intellectual experience. to a large number of women students of the region. The college strives through its modern curriculum, to develop logical thinking, the ability to communicate, and cognitive skills for promoting scholarly study. Founded in the year 1953, Fatima college has emerged as a symbol of 'excellence', and served generations of students many occupying eminent positions in the society.  The institution is the product of the pioneering efforts of the Rev. Mother Rose and the St. Joseph Education Society for the empowerment of women.


It is widely recognized as a centre for excellence and stands high in the perception of the community and the nostalgic memory of its alumni. It imparts higher education to women in order to emancipate them from "structured oppression". The historical significance of the contribution of the Rev. Mother Rose lies in the fact that she has sown the seeds of women's liberation through higher education in 1953, much against social conditions in the region and the formidable opposition and resistance from parents.  Thus an institution first conceived as a primary school has been transformed into a degree college, by the sacred commitment of the Rev. Mother Rose in 1953 and subsequently upgraded to a PG level institution in the year 1964.


The spacious buildings of the college are situated in an area of 37 acres in a serene and safe ambience of the Madurai City. The library and learning resource centres are located in separate blocks of the same campus. The library provides an extensive range of books, journals and other reference resources. The hostel is accommodated in 6 buildings  which shelter 600 students. Buildings are well furnished and maintained. The college is equipped adequate infra structure and vast intellectual resources.


Fatima college campus is a meeting ground for 2300 students rich and poor, rural, semi-urban and urban, Christian and non-Christian, residential and non-residential scholars, echoing the vision of its founders. The college offers a wide range of curricular options, which include traditional, discipline-oriented subjects like B.A., B.Sc,, B.Com. and innovative, job-oriented courses like M.C.A, M.B.A., PGDCA, B.C.A and B.Sc.(Computer Science).


The college is always in the forefront of innovations for the pursuit of excellence. PG courses operate through seminars, tutorials, projects, laboratory experiments and dissertation work based on field studies.


The central library and department-wise libraries, student counselling and career guidance cells, extensive range of books, journals and other references materials enrich the institutional climate. During its 45 years of existence, the college has added to its credit many accomplishments.  While recognizing the past achievements of the college, the Peer Team would like to offer the following recommendations:-


1.   During its interaction with the Management and the Principal, the Principal explained to the committee the master plans envisaged for the development of the institution with a special, focus on resource mobilization and creation of a corpus fund, introduction of the credit system with curricular 'Modules' and construction of a major auditorium on the campus. The Principal and the Management should make earnest efforts to translate this vision into reality.


2.   With its present autonomous status, and available infrastructure, the college can add many new job- oriented, self-financing courses at the cutting edge of information society. This step would help the institution in promoting its linkages with the job-market and also help in raising the corpus fund, which is a part of the master plan presented by the principal.


3.   At an advanced level, the college can expand research facilities for students, who seek to develop newer skills and to make original contribution to knowledge.


4.   The institution can think of collaborating with other sister institutions in the state for establishing a central Instrumentation Centre and Information Dissemination House for the benefit of the postgraduate and research scholars of the region. The step taken to integrate the 4 libraries for borrowing books is an illustration of such approach, which can be extended to other research needs also.


5.   The Peer Team has noted with concern that curriculum in some departments is not revised in terms of recent developments in different fields. The faculty should be exposed to the latest trends and exponential growth of knowledge and, design the curriculum with national and international perspectives, in conjunction with other important and leading universities.


6.   The college provides free consultancy and career guidance for the benefit of the students who seek advice in their academic and or personal problems. Being a college which caters for the requirements of women, the college should offer practical information on a wide range of issues in tutorials. Provision should be made for psycho - dynamic counselling and confidential advice to students involved in any emotional problems, on a continuing basis.


7.   The college should introduce enrichment courses to prepare the students for competitive examination, like NET, Indian Administrative Service, GRE, GRF, GATE, TOFEL and CAT, etc. college education imparted on the basis of the existing curriculum alone will not ensure women's emancipation in a tradition - dominated society.  Women students need special assistance and career guidance in their preparation for facing challenges of life, in the new millennium.


8.   At present the extension activities are restricted to Part IV of the curriculum. Establishing an extension centre managed by a full-time co-ordinator may be very useful in bringing about the much-needed industry-institution partnership. Strengthening the consultancy services and encouraging a few selected departments to get into memoranda of understanding with nearby industries would also be useful in promoting excellence. Perhaps, opting to involve some of the industrial luminaries in the curriculum formation and academic endeavors of the Institution would greatly benefit the college in utilizing its autonomy fully.


9.   The Peer Team on the basis of overall performance of the institution examined during its visit, concludes that, Fatima college, has lived upto the expectations and vision set by the founders. The college has considerable potential, to evolve further, into one of the leading institutions at the national level.


10. The Peer Team members place on record their appreciation of the sincere efforts of the dynamic Principal, enlightened Management members and dedicated faculty, involved in this noble endeavor of building such a renowned institution.