Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Sri GVG Visalakshi College for Women
Udamalpet, Tamil Nadu
Section 1 : Preamble
Sri GVG Visalakshi College for Women (Autonomous), Udamalpet affiliated to the Bharathiar University volunteered to be assessed & accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore as a natural sequence of their continuing search for and commitment to quality and excellence in higher education. The college, accordingly, submitted in November 1999 its Self-Study Report to the NAAC which then constituted a Peer Team to visit the college for the purpose of assessment with the following members : Dr.A.N.P. Ummerkutty, Former Vice Chancellor, Calicut University as Chairman, Dr. R. Seshadri Naidu, Director, Academic Staff College, S.V.University, Tirupathi, and Dr. Sr. M.Olivia (A.C) Principal, St.Agnes College, Mangalore as members of the team. The Peer Team visited the college on 20th and 21st January 2000 and carried out the work assigned to it.
GVG College for Women is the only women’s Autonomous College under the Bharathiar University - started in 1952 as junior college by the well-known industrialist-philanthropist Sri G.V.Govindaswamy Naidu to honour the life and mission of his daughter Visalakshi, the college has had a steady growth. It is now one of the prominent women’s colleges under the Bharathiar University with nearly 1500 women students, 75 teachers and 10 UG and 4 PG departments. It is heartening to note that nearly 50% of the students enjoy some financial assistance and an equal percentage is accommodated in the hostels.
It is also of interest to note that the college opted for assessment and accreditation by NAAC because of their conviction that “only quality lends credibility to the institution” and that this quality as a culture would facilitate the institution to grow in the upward & outward directions towards enrichment & empowerment of the young women entrusted to its care.
The college has specific goals and objectives which they have preferred to sum up in just one phrase, ‘Empowerment of Women Through Woman Making Education’. The goals include, among other things, i) offering a variety of programmes towards imparting sound knowledge; ii) equipping students with healthy attitudes and aptitudes, abilities and skills towards their integrated personality development; iii) preserving and fostering Indian Culture and iv) giving special education with appropriate inputs towards the empowerment of women. These are indeed worthy objectives and it is a pleasure to find that the authorities are striving to translate the goals into reality.
The Peer Team studied and analysed the Self-Study Report and other relevant materials made available to them by the NAAC. During the visit to the institution the members focussed their attention on validating the information and data available. They visited all the academic, administrative and other supportive units of the college, held detailed discussions with all its constituent units and scrutinised all the relevant documents. Extra and co-curricular facilities, library, computer centre, play grounds, hostels, canteen, etc. were fully covered.
On the basis of the site visits to various facilities, in the light of the discussions held with the Principal, the College Committee, the Governing Council, faculty, students, the parents, alumni and other related groups, and guided by the criteria evolved by NAAC, the Peer Team assessed the quality of education imparted to students at the Sri GVG Visalakshi College for Women (Autonomous), Udamalpet. The assessment of the team in terms of the criterion-wise approach and overall analysis, along with the commendations and suggestions are presented in the following pages.
There are 12 departments in the college, offering 22 programmes to students. The programme option includes 10 UG, 4 PG, 2 M.Phil 3 Ph.D, 2 diploma and 1 certificate courses thus providing a wide range of options to rural women students. The certificate and diploma courses are highly career oriented. The other programmes are also designed to meet career needs to some extent.
The curriculum has been formulated meticulously to cover visible, invisible and need-based components. The visible component helps students to improve proficiency in languages and to improve knowledge in core, allied and application-oriented subjects of their choice. A special paper on ‘Life Oriented Education for the Empowerment of Women’ is also offered to empower them to play their varying roles in the society effectively. The invisible component aims to promote co-curricular and extracurricular activities among all the students. The college has started a Leisure Time Activities Centre in the campus to provide training in Hindi, typewriting, shorthand, tailoring, embroidery, karate and music. These activities provide ample opportunities for students to develop additional skills for self-employment, wage employment and self-defence. Hindi classes provide opportunity to promote national integration. Computer Learning in the form of a certificate course for UG students and diploma courses for UG/PG students are offered under the need-based component of the curriculum to prepare students for the future in the field of Information Technology. Laboratory work, field work and field placements are incorporated in the curriculum both at UG and PG levels including arts subjects such as B.Com, history, economics and English. The college has undertaken the unique macro project on the Heritage of Indian Culture in terms of 1300 Kolams, 3511 proverbs and 157 lullaby, marriage and folk songs.
Certain additional inputs are used in the curriculum to facilitate learners to compete in UPSC exams, to prepare them for future careers and to develop skills for employment. Inter-disciplinary papers are included in the curriculum to make it more appropriate to needs of students. B.Sc Computer Science and B.B.M were introduced recently on self-financing basis. The computer course for teachers & students and certificate course in Functional English were introduced recently.
The curriculum is formulated with the help of regular Boards of Studies, expert committees and national curricular sources to meet the local, regional and national needs. The curriculum comprises self-study papers, modules and units to provide appropriate learning experiences to students. The curriculum is implemented within 6 months after conceptualisation and reviewed periodically based on the feed back from students, faculty and expert members.
Although the college is located in a rural area and opted for autonomy only 4 years back, sincere efforts have been made to diversify the courses with flexibility to achieve institutional goals. It is, suggested to introduce additional job-oriented diploma and certificate courses to help women students in the rural and tribal areas. The process could be expedited. The feed back mechanism may be made more scientific and more often. It is also suggested that steps may be initiated to introduce more vocational elements in degree courses, particularly in more traditional type courses.
The college maintains 160 teaching days out of 180 working days spread over two semesters. Admissions are made through interviews, on the basis of academic records and a combination of these following the rules of the TN state government. Modular syllabi, maintenance of notes of lessons, use of audio visuals, guest lectures, extraordinary lectures, team and interdisciplinary teaching have helped in maintaining the quality of teaching. Learning activities such as project work, practicals, field visits, industrial training, seminars, case studies, quiz, group discussions and internship are the other avenues of learning provided to students apart from classroom instruction. Workshops and exhibitions are organised to update and sharpen the knowledge and skills of students. The audio-video cell of the college library has 3 separate divisions one each for science, arts and language groups for arranging audio-video lessons. Students are directed to watch the UGC country wide class room programmes regularly to strengthen classroom learning. The students are motivated for self-study habits. A bridge course in English for the first year UG students and remedial courses for students are conducted satisfactorily. This helps greatly the language capabilities of students. 85 % of the class-work is carried-out by full time faculty.
90% of the faculty have at least one-step higher qualification than the minimum level. Teachers have attended orientation programmes and refresher courses, seminars and workshops to improve their professional competencies. They are also engaged in preparing reading materials and organising meetings by faculty improvement clubs. Teachers have shown enthusiasm to learn computer related aspects. The institution follows the self-appraisal method to evaluate teacher performance. The Head of the Department and the Principal also monitor the performance through feedback. Deficiencies are intimated to teachers for improvement. The college should introduce peer group evaluation to improve teaching performance further. The feedback may be collected in a more detailed and systematic manner.
The evaluation of student progress is made scientifically basis following continuous and comprehensive assessment procedures in the ratio of 25:75. The college has constituted examination committees as cross functional teams for smooth conduct of semester exams. Single valuation for UG and double valuation for PG is adopted. There is provision for supplementary test, re-totalling, re-valuation, improvement, re-appearance and moderation. The moderation aspect may be reviewed and done away with gradually. A noteworthy feature of the evaluation system is publication of results within 15 days of the last examination. Views of the students on teaching-learning and evaluation are collected through a feed-back mechanism and follow-up action taken on some of the issues. Students are given an opportunity to appeal the Grievance and Appeals Committee for redressal of any exam problems.
Teaching-learning and evaluation strategies are satisfactory. However the Management should motivate teachers to develop national and international linkages for promoting teaching and research. Autonomy should help the college not only to introduce innovative teaching-learning and evaluation methods but also to develop higher intellectual skills among students to achieve the goals of the institution. State and national level seminars, conferences etc. could be organised every year at least by PG departments.
Seven teachers guide research scholars. Teachers have published two workbooks in English, one textbook in English, 4 in Tamil and 1 in history. Research activities are weak in the college at present and needs immediate attention for remedial action. A research committee should be constituted to promote/monitor research activities at least on locally important problems. Teachers should also be encouraged to submit minor research proposals to the UGC and other funding agencies. Teachers should make efforts publish articles.
Extension activities are undertaken by the 9 affiliated clubs of the college with focus on environment, Women’s Development, Consumerism, Health Care and Security services. Students have been motivated to plant trees and nurture them individually and jointly with the Rotary Club. The college has undertaken socially important outreach programmes. Two state level seminars were organised on consumer awareness involving women from rural areas, panchayats and municipalities. Students also participated in blood donation camps organised by NGOs like the Rotary, Lion and Inner Wheel. Avenue plantations and ‘one family one tree’ concept in the neighbourhood villages carried out by the students are worth mentioning. The science faculty conducted a one week in-service training programme to middle school teachers sponsored by the TN State Council for Science and Technology. The College carried out some important outreach programmes on population education, health education, environment education and computer education. Teachers and students have participated in extension activities voluntarily; Students organised a one day seminar on ‘Voter’s Awareness’ on the eve of recent elections to the Parliament.
The Management should appoint a teacher to supervise and improve extension activities relevant to the community. Further teachers may be encouraged to provide consultancy services to rural women to the extent possible on items such as literacy, savings schemes, DWACRA, CMEY, etc. The college must try to harness the talents of all students through extension activities.
A word will have to be added here about the importance of research in autonomous colleges. Unlike mere affiliated colleges, the latter are supposed to undertake initiatives in organising some meaningful research and consultancy activities at least in the post-graduate departments. The Peer Team found that this change in perception is yet to take root in the 4 Post-graduate departments of the GVGV College. The authorities will do well to consider this problem seriously and take remedial measures.
The college established in 1952, has not only expanded programmes of study, but has also made concerted efforts to improve infrastructure facilities and learning resources. This has resulted in making the programmes viable and their quality enhanced. The monetary contribution of Rs.67 lakhs made by the Management towards providing additional infrastructure and basic amenities during the last four years, speaks of its philanthropist outlook and farsighted vision of bringing relevance and modernity in the college.
The infrastructure seems to be quite adequate for present needs. There are 36 well furnished classrooms, seven spacious laboratories which are well planned and are provided with the necessary apparatus and fittings and generator facilities; a properly designed audio-video room with all modern equipment and gadgets, a well equipped library - all these provide basic infra structure and adequate learning resources. Besides, the spacious auditorium to house the entire student community and the large assembly hall make it possible to hold common meetings and programmes, curricular, co-curricular and extra curricular events and thus add enrichment. The playground and games room with various sports facilities both outdoor and indoor, provide opportunities to acquire skills and practice in physical education. The college canteen, the facility of co-operative stores, the nursing room for the sick are expressions of the college’s concern to respond to the personal needs of students. The ‘Leisure time activities centre’ is a noteworthy addition to provide opportunities for gaining additional skills such as stenography, tailoring, communication and language skills, thus increasing the scope for employability among the students.
The college has set up an independent evaluation unit giving careful thought to the layout of its structure and plan so that all phases of the examination work take place in a successful, systematic and confidential manner.
The three hostels on the campus with all residential facilities including the mess which provides wholesome food and ample water facilities, houses more than 500 students. Students from distant villages are enabled to pursue higher education because of the residential facilities available on the campus.
Faculty members in various departments use different teaching methods including the OHP, instruction material and audio-visual aids. The ‘Life oriented education’ committee has compiled the study material and has brought out two books which are used by learners. Staff members are involved in bringing out publications in the form of textbooks and workbooks.
The college gets publicity for its courses through the annual prospectus which is printed and made available during the time of admission. Details of any new courses started are made known to neighbouring schools and thus the number of students required for new courses is ensured.
The high percentage of passes in the summative exams in the UG and PG is indicative of the systematic and consistent efforts made by the college to provide instruction and learning experience and motivation for learning. The college arranges programmes in academic and career counselling. Much more effort needs to be made in this direction, especially to arrange coaching in competitive exams and civil services.
The college collects feedback from students regularly and has taken steps to follow up the suggestions made by them to improve facilities as well as opportunities for learning in order to strengthen future careers. Students are provided with recreational facilities - physical education and games. TV and Deck for entertainment as well as knowledge enhancement. Regular entertainment programmes and competitions in the field of culture, music and household arts are organised. Apart from these many students spend leisure time usefully by getting trained in stenography, tailoring, carnatic music, karate and language skills. Classes in computers are also made available to interested students.
Participation in sports and NCC has enabled many students to compete at the inter-collegiate, state, and national level tournaments, camps and such other events. A number of students have done their college proud by winning accolades both in sports and NCC events at the state and national levels.
Out of 1431 students 647 were beneficiaries of state government scholarships amounting to Rs.8,91,616 during the last academic year, while the Management renders financial assistance to many students towards payment of tuition fees, hostel fees, stationery and medical bills.
The Management of the college pays attention to providing additional infrastructure and launching new and relevant programmes as well as improving the quality of existing programmes. It bears in mind its responsibility of guiding the faculty to keep up the quality and status of autonomy. Constant encouragement is given and opportunities are provided regularly to members of the faculty to update their knowledge and skills through regular enrichment programmes and also utilise the FIP schemes of the UGC. However more encouragement needs to be given to improve their knowledge component by undertaking research and publication work on a wider scale.
The Principal of the College co-ordinates the educational processes and programmes on the campus by playing her many-faceted role effectively. There is good networking among functionaries so that proper co-ordination is established between the academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular aspects of education.
The entire organisation and subsystems are being managed with participatory involvement with the Management, the Principal, faculty, administrative and technical staff and students playing their respective roles in proper co-ordination and sound communication. From the students side the college union and office bearers assisted by the class representatives and guided by the staff advisors actively involve themselves for a successful running of the autonomous system.
The organisational set up and the management of education, on the whole, has established an enabling environment conducive to striving for progress and success. Administrative roles, educational and organisational roles when combined effectively paves the way to strive for excellence.
Being a leading Women’s College in a predominantly rural setting, the most notable feature of the college is that it has given primary attention to evolving courses that increase the empowerment potential of its products. All the courses started after becoming autonomous testify to this. The syllabi of various courses are prepared to achieve this primary goal. An intimate and effective supervisory arrangement through the participation of quality circles is noteworthy. Another interesting feature is that teachers are encouraged to share their academic experience and knowledge with the rest of the faculty through regular discussions and meetings organised by the faculty improvement club. For example, teachers who have undergone F.I.P programmes share their enriched experiences in meetings specially convened for the purpose. Outstanding women achievers are invited to give special lectures to the student community.
The Principal is easily accessible to all the faculty and students. An interesting feature is the regular daily meeting of the office-bearers of the students union with the Principal every morning. In such meetings student representatives bring to the notice of the Principal all the important problems which are attended to immediately. The result is that problems are not allowed to accumulate.
What is described as internship to students is another very healthy practice followed by the college. By this method, some students are sent to banks and other establishments every day to work there for the whole day thus enriching themselves with work experience for a while. Students are thus exposed to a wide range of practical skills as part of their studies.
The close co-operation that exists among different segments of the college community is particularly notable. The Management is generous, meeting all the developmental needs of the institution. Faculty and students extend full co-operation to the Principal.
Sri GVG Visalakshi College for Women (Autonomous) is located in a rather backward area of Tamil Nadu and therefore has rendered valuable service to the people of that area particularly the women segment. Being a PG college and the only autonomous women’s college under the Bharathiar University, the institution has been instrumental in offering a variety of life-oriented courses to young girls around its locality. There are no PG programmes in science subjects but the accessibility of computer education at different levels is a boon to this backward area. A close-knit integration exists between different constituencies of the institution including the Management. This along with the vigorous functioning of various committees helps the college in maintaining good discipline and fairly acceptable standards. The college has many noteworthy features in its functioning and they are enlisted as commendations. The Peer Team also wishes to offer a few suggestions for the betterment of the institution. They are enlisted separately.
· The Curricular division is really attractive : Part I Tamil incorporates materials equivalent to one of the I.A.S. papers in Tamil language & literature, so that students get an orientation towards all India competitive examination.
· Part IV is also thoroughly recast to include ‘General Awareness’ in the first year, again an orientation to competitive examinations; and ‘Life oriented education for empowerment of Women’ in the second year. This communicates to students necessary background information to achieve this goal.
· Another interesting item of the curriculum is what they call ‘Invisible Component’ (Part V) in which extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are included such as Hindi learning, typewriting, tailoring, karate, dance, music, etc., and the NSS and the NCC. To get the degree, a pass in Part V is essential.
· Computer certificate course under Part VI is also noteworthy.
· Great stress laid on field visits, institutional exposures, seminars, project works, guest lectures, etc., in the teaching process is impressive; teaching of folk songs by village women is particularly attractive.
· The formation of examination committees with 5 members as cross functional teams to assist in the conduct of semester exams.
· Return of internal test answer scripts to students, thus maintaining a 25% transparency in the evaluation is a good practice.
· 93% of the teachers have higher degrees than the required minimum and 73% have some certificate or diploma in computer education.
· More than 40% of the students stay in the hostel
· Nearly 50% of the students get some kind of financial assistance.
· Important achievements by college sports women in the university teams (such as kho-kho, kabadi and badminton) is good
· Involvement of NSS girls in such useful activities as maintenance and arrangement of library books, nurturing and watering of the innumerable plants in the college campus and the organising celebrations are worth mentioning.
· 43 faculty members took advantages of the computer course to earn a certificate in CECS (Computer course in Essential Computer Software) is notable
· Formation of I.A.S. study circle with 45 motivated students towards effective self preparation for taking up competitive exams is very encouraging.
· Student representation Boards of Studies and the Academic Council is a special feature.
· Organisation of a seminar on ‘Exam Reforms’ by students with students themselves as resource persons is indeed laudable.
· Reviewing of the curricula by external review committee with outstanding persons is encouraging.
· Internal auditing of the valued answer scripts of the semester exams by the auditing committee of teachers is a progressive step.
· Existence of Faculty Improvement Club is geared to enrich and empower teachers.
· An ingenious method of collecting rain water in an underground sump for laboratory use throughout the year is an attractive feature
· ‘Save the Book Project’ by NSS volunteers and teachers prolong the life span of books in the library
· Ten Gold medals have been contributed to the first rank holders of various courses by family members of the founder. This is indeed commendable.
· The text book prepared by the college on the ‘Life Oriented Education for Empowerment of Women’ could be reviewed every two years or so to make it truly reflective of an ancient, but multicultural progressive society. Different portions may be got validated by competent outside experts.
· Text materials for ‘General Awareness’ course can also be subjected to a similar process.
· Though there are 4 PG departments there is no Research Activity worth mentioning. Some beginning will have to be made to fulfil the requirements of an autonomous existence. To plan, encourage and to monitor research activities a Research Committee may be constituted.
· Consultancy should attract the same attention. A Consultancy Cell may be constituted to plan, execute and monitor the consultancy services of the college. There is good scope for much medium level consultancy activities.
· Similarly a Placement Cell may be formally constituted to help women students in getting employed after completing their courses. The cell can contact potential employers and arrange placement interviews.
· An alumni organisation may be encouraged
· Though some programme options are available to students particularly in Part IV and V a more rational choice based credit system may be introduced for all degree courses.
· Some self-made suggestions of the college authorities (Pg-8, Self-Appraisal Report) are quite relevant and top attention may be given by them for their implementation.
· There is no self-appraisal scheme for teachers. This may be introduced as per UGC guidelines.
· There is no linkage with national or international agencies. Some linkage could be explored.
· A couple of full-time research fellowships may be attracted from some sponsoring agencies, that will help to create a research culture.
· Achievements of students in life in general and competitive exams in particular will have to be maintained on a continuous basis to motivate other girls.
· Some linkages with local industries and colleges of the Coimbatore District seem to be an immediate necessity. Attempts may be made in that direction