Assessment Report of
Institutional Accreditation of
Government College for Women
Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Govt. College for Women - Kumbakonam – affiliated to Bharathidasan University is situated on the banks of the river Arasalar which is a tributary of river Kaveri , presents a good natural ambience. The college serves the cause of women’s education especially, the backward women students. It was founded in 1963 with a vision to empower women and to emancipate the down trodden. It is situated in a semi urban area with adequate infrastructure to teach B.A., B.Sc., B.Com at under graduate level. It offers one certificate course in communicative English (vocational programme) started in the year 1997. The faculty of science consists of mathematics, physics, chemistry, zoology, botany, geography, and faculty of Arts offers, history, economics, English and Tamil literature while the faculty of Commerce and B. Sc Computer Science are full fledged under graduate departments of the college. The development of degree programmes has taken place under several constraints. The programmes are conventional. The responsibility of designing curriculum lies with the Bharathidasan University to which the College is affiliated.
The admission policy of the college is governed by the state government which is common to all the government colleges and private colleges in Tamil Nadu. Students are admitted strictly by merit with a provision for the enrolment of a sizeable number of students under the reservation quota (69%) which is in conformity with the philosophy of positive discrimination.
The college requested the NAAC to assess its performance in order to know its strengths and weaknesses. In the light of this request, the NAAC constituted the Peer Team with Prof. P. Neerada Reddy, Vice-chairperson, AP State Council of Higher Education as Chairman and Prof. K. M. Kaveriappa, Chairman , Deptt. of Applied Botany, Mangalore University and Dr. Rajan Varughese, Principal, Union Christian College, Alwaye, Kerala as members.
The Peer Team visited the college on 27,28,29 December, 1999 and examined the infrastructure, the functioning of the departments, curricular options and various healthy practices as per the criteria suggested by the NAAC. The following is the report on the assessment made by Team.
Section 2: Criterion wise Analysis
The college is affiliated to Bharathidasan University, Thiruchirappalli. The subjects offered include eleven under graduate programmes in Arts, Science and Commerce faculties, one post graduate programme in science, one vocational programme and a certificate course. While the B.A degree programme is offered in economics, history, English and Tamil, the B. Sc degree programme is offered in geography, chemistry, computer Science, mathematics, physics and zoology. The English department offers the vocational course “Communicative English”. The Computer Science department offers a certificate course in computers for non computer science students. M.Sc geography is the only post graduate programme available for students of the college. The subjects are taught to impart education for empowering women not only to lead a meaningful life, which is the motto of the college, but also to participate in outreach programmes to serve society. This has been substantiated by the co-curricular activities under NSS and NCC and other extension programmes.
The undergraduate programmes have Tamil or Hindi under Part I - first language, English under Part II - second language, Major as well as Ancillary subjects under Part III and Part IV - co-curricular programmes including NCC, NSS, Red Cross, population education, environmental education, fine arts and adult education. Subject options such as panchayat raj, co-operation, office management, journalism in Tamil, and pharmaceutical chemistry which have a bearing on job potential are available in the under graduate degree courses. A number of interdisciplinary subjects such as Capital Market, Environmental Economics , Operational Research and Computer Programming are available in different undergraduate B. A, B.Sc., and B.Com programmes. Botany is offered as an allied subject for B.Sc zoology major students. Hindi is offered as an optional under Part I in the place of Tamil. Tamil and English are the medium options available to students in each subject. Proposals for starting post-graduate courses in different disciplines like computer science, information technology and mathematics are pending with the state government which deserve special consideration. The members of the faculty of physics, chemistry, history, economics and commerce have proposals for the introduction of respective postgraduate programmes.
There is no formal mechanism to obtain feed back on courses from either the employers or from society. Some departments maintain records of feed back from students on teaching and curriculum. Experts and resource persons from AIR help in offering training to students of Communicative English. The undergraduate courses in computer science and commerce are in great demand as seen from the preference shown by students for these courses at the time of admission.
The department of physical education has two fully qualified teachers and one administrative staff with an average workload of 4 hours of theory and 12 hours of practicals per week for the Part IV curriculum. Coaching is given for eleven different kinds of games like basketball, football, hockey, chess, table tennis etc., every year. The department ensures participation at state and national levels in 6 games. In addition to this, participation in amateur athletic meets at various places enabled students to win many prizes in various games at different levels. The above achievement is possible as regular coaching is given in all the eleven games and track and fields on a vast playground which has eleven different well-maintained courts for various games. The department is well equipped with all the accessories. The students are subjected to physical fitness tests, skill tests, morning and evening practice and special coaching on holidays. Marks are given for performance, regular attendance and character.
As stated in the preamble, the college offers 11 courses in three faculties i.e. science, social science and commerce at the undergraduate level. In the case of sciences the college follows the conventional curriculum, prescribed by Bharathidasan University which is mandatory. It also offers one vocational course in Communicative English started in 1997 to students at the undergraduate level as additional qualification besides their bachelor degree. This course contains two papers per semester. In addition to the above programmes, the geography department offers the M. Sc Postgraduate Course.
Since the college has not been conferred autonomous status, it has no freedom to restructure curriculum or introduce major academic innovations. However in all the courses taught, the college maintains good standards and has gained considerable reputation which is evident from the high scholastic record of its students in all the faculties in the years 97 – 98 and 98-99. The faculty is known for its commitment and dedicated efforts in imparting quality education. The college encourages its teachers in the preparation of the teaching plan and organization of curriculum units. The college also adopts continuous evaluation procedures, and some departments arrange seminars, though not regularly.
Audio visual and teaching aids are procured and used in certain departments like physics and English. The college has TV, VCR, over head projectors, a two-in-one, and public address system which help in effective teaching. It is also significant to note that a computer with a colour monitor and Internet facility is available in the institution. The college invites guest faculty for part-time teaching to ensure instruction as per schedule. Teaching and evaluation is not merely enriched by continuous monthly tests but also through preparation of records, project reports by students which helps in getting a comprehensive feed-back about the progress of students. The syllabus is unitized as per the teaching schedule and practical examinations are conducted at the end of the semester and study tours are compulsory for science students. A model examination of 3 hours is conducted at the end of each semester. Monthly tests, assignment records preparing samples, project reports are a regular feature of innovative methods adopted.
The college works for 180 days with major teaching done by full time faculty. It has 84 teachers of whom 5 are Ph. Ds. and 62 teachers have M.Phil degrees and the remaining are postgraduates concentrating only on teaching. The college is predominantly an undergraduate teaching institution and therefore has not given enough thought for promotion of research. As no college grows without complementary research input, it is necessary that the college makes earnest effort for promoting research. The Peer Team felt that more number of teachers should be exposed to national and international seminars, orientation courses and workshops to update their knowledge.
The teachers use information technology to improve the communication skills among the students. The introduction of computer education and Communicative English enhances the scope for better career opportunities of the students. The future plans of the Principal and the staff to start M. Sc. Computer Science and post graduate courses in sciences and information technology is an appreciable effort in the right direction.
The college may pay attention to the improvement of classroom teaching by using Lerner- centered pedagogy strategies. It may devise a more fruitful system of continuous assessment in academic achievements and scholarship of teaching may be highlighted. Teachers performance appraisal may be done.
The college has 84 teachers including five Ph. D’s and 62 M. Phil’s. Some of the teachers in the chemistry, geography, zoology, physics and Tamil departments have been involved in research work and have published research papers in national and international journals. To name a few, Journal of Physics, Journal of Mathematical Physics, Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, Indian silk, Environmental Ecology, Journal of Ecobiology, Indian Journal of sericulture, Ecotoxiclogy. The faculty members involved in research in the departments of physics and chemistry may offer research consultancy services and also submit projects to various agencies for funding in the interest of developing the research culture of the departments. The NSS and NCC are co-curricular programmes that provide opportunities for extension activities over and above their role in part IV of the co-curricular programme. Red Cross is one of the extension programmes undertaken with the co-operation of non governmental agencies like Rotary, Lions and Leo Club. Environmental awareness programmes are undertaken in the college through quiz, elocution and essay writing competitions. Inter departmental competitions are arranged to mark wildlife week celebrations organized by the department of zoology.
The Population Club functions in the college which imparts population education. Students of this club visit the nearby villages to conduct socio-economic surveys and create awareness about family size, family hygiene and sanitation.
Adult literacy programmes are initiated by the NSS in the nearby villages. Members of the NSS and Red Cross create awareness in the society regularly. AIDS, polio vaccination and blood donation camps are some activities of the NSS.
The college has a vast campus of about 15 acres in the midst of which the college building is located. The campus area is demarcated by a compound wall with a main entry gate. The college building is a three storey structure with a total plinth area of 10,000 square metres. In the ground floor, Tamil, mathematics, geography, chemistry and physics departments are located in addition to spacious Principal’s office. In the first floor the departments of English, economics, zoology, computer science and Hindi are located, and in the top floor the departments of history and commerce are accommodated. The college building is maintained by the Civil and Electrical wings of the P.W.D.
Each department has its own staff room, class rooms and for science departments there are separate spacious laboratories. The class rooms have adequate furniture and some have audio visual equipment. The laboratories are adequately equipped to conduct experiments in major and allied subjects.
The department of computer science has a well equipped laboratory with facilities for studies in computer hardware and software. There are 18 computers in the computer lab which are used by computer science students and also non computer science students. The departments of English and mathematics have their own computers. There is internet facility in the computer lab.
The college library is located in a hall in the first floor. The library has 31,400 books pertaining to arts, science and commerce subjects. The library subscribes to 15 journals and 10 periodicals. Apart from this central library facility, there are departmental libraries which contain some selected books in the subjects concerned. These books are under the charge of a member of the faculty of the department and used by both faculty and students.
The college has hostel facilities for about 150 students who hail from far away rural areas. It is located in a place adjacent to the main campus. The building has a plinth area of 2,000 sq. meters and there are 37 rooms. About 5 to 6 students are accommodated in each room furnished with cots, tables and chairs. The dining hall can cater for about 75 students at a time. The hostel is managed by the warden (Principal) and the Deputy warden who is a faculty member. There is a reading cum drawing room with TV and a fridge. The mess which is vegetarian is managed by the students themselves and the expenses are shared. On an average the cost of mess works out at Rs 12/- per student per day, which is considered very reasonable from the point of view of the cost of living in this area.
The college has a small but clean canteen where snacks and mid-day meals are served at subsidised rates. There is a multipurpose auditorium which is used for indoor games and for college functions.
The College has perennial water supply and a water tank of about 11,000gal. capacity is built within the campus.
For out door sports the play ground has 11 courts for badminton, volley ball and basket ball etc and a general play ground. The coaching is good as evidenced by the participation of students in various university sports and games. The college has impressive infrastructure facilities which include major buildings, different blocks, hostel, library, canteen, physical education department, spacious laboratories which are put to maximum use. However separate annexe of class rooms and laboratories are to be added to augment the existing infrastructure, for starting some new post graduate programmes the college is keen to introduce in future.
The library facility could be improved with more funding and by appointing a qualified librarian. The funding for library should be enhanced to a large extent as an important input into teaching learning activity which would definitely improve the academic excellence of the students. Addition of new generation computers with a file server and atleast 30 nodes, printers, fax, photocopier machine and other accessories will help further development of the computer laboratory.
The college admits about 800 students every year. Students hail mostly from the rural areas of the locality and many of them have opted for Tamil as the medium of instruction. The seats are allocated on the basis of merit cum reservation policy of the government and as a result students of different categories of merit are found in the college.
Over the years the dropout rate of students admitted to the college has been on the decline and the over-all results of the college have been consistently improving. The percentage of pass among the students who appear for examinations in various subjects has been in the range of 70 to 100 %. For example, in 97-98 the percentage of pass in science, arts and commerce disciplines was 76.9, 74.22 and 72 respectively. Among them there were 17, 14, and 108 first classes in arts, commerce and science disciplines respectively. In M.Sc., geography there was cent percent pass with 15 first classes. The records also indicate that there were one or more rank holders in almost every subject in the previous years. For example in economics there were 5 ranks in 96-97 and one rank in 97-98. In mathematics there was more than one rank during 95 - 97. In Zoology there were five rank holders in 98 - 99 of which one was a gold medalist.
The above performance reflects the initiative of the teachers and the hard work of the enthusiastic students. No wonder that the college is ranked fourth among all the government colleges in the state in terms of academic pursuits in the year 98-99. Since many students admitted to the college are from a poor back ground they get different types of financial support in the form of free education, backward student scholarships, S.C, S.T scholarships, and concession for ex- service men’s children. There is also financial support for children of Burma and Srilankan repatriates. Apart from the above there are 15 other types of scholarships available to students. In fact the interaction with the parents revealed that they are very happy with the high standard of education in the college and also good financial support given to poor children.
The college has an Alumnae association. The college offers academic counselling to students through tutorial system. The bio-data of students is maintained by the staff and the staff concerned has an opportunity to judge the background in terms of strength and weaknesses of the students under her supervision. However there is need for better career guidance to students through a placement service.
In 1998-99 the college secured 7 ranks in economics, history, Tamil and English and 7 students secured ranks in chemistry, physics, zoology and 3 students from M. Sc. geography, which speaks about the intensive class room teaching and innovative teaching and learning practices adopted in the college.
The Peer Team is appreciative of the way in which the creativity and hidden talents of students are brought out by the inter-departmental and inter-college sports activities held by the college and the winners are awarded prizes and certificates. The college has a regular practice of publishing updated prospectus which includes curricular options.
An account of the college’s efforts to promote empowerment of women by imparting to them communicative skills by organizing women studies and awareness programmes may yield good results. Leadership training is also a necessity.
Like other govt. Colleges of the state, this college also is managed and administered by the state govt. through the Director of Collegiate education, the Principal and the Staff Council which consists of Heads of the Departments. The manpower requirement of the college is met by the recruitment of staff through the Teacher Recruitment Board or through transfers from other govt. colleges. Besides performance appraisal by individual staff, Heads of the Departments and the Principal write annual confidential reports of the staff and submit to the Govt. The latter considers them for promotion to the next cadre and other purposes based on such reports.
Staff members enjoy all the welfare schemes of the govt. including reimbursement of medical expenses, building and vehicle purchase loans, pension and public provident fund.
The Principal prepares the annual budget of the college in consultation with the Heads of the Departments and submits it to the state govt. for approval and release of grants. The college does annual stock verification with the help of the teaching faculty and get the accounts audited by government auditors. The resources of the college are moblised mostly through grants from the govt. and U.G.C and are utilized as per audit rules.
However, there is need for augmenting the resources of the college by seeking more grants from the state Govt. The college should also try to tap the special grants such as library building grants, women's hostel building grants and computer facilities from the U.G.C. There is also a great need for recruitment of staff to the computer Science Dept and other departments which have less teachers. This will avoid the practice of engaging guest lecturers for completion of syllabus.
The Govt. College for Women, Kumbakonam imparts higher education for the lower middle class and economically backward sections of society. The institution maintains a good academic standard which is appreciated by both parents and alumni. The low cost of education and the sense of discipline maintained in the college are the salient features of this institution. The interpersonal relation among faculty and students is commendable. It is heartening to note that students of the college have tremendous drive, and they are outgoing, confident and highly motivated. The following healthy practices were noticed by the Peer Team during the visit to the college.
The Communicative English course helps the students to gain proficiency in effective communication in English. Even a non computer science student has an opportunity to acquaint herself with computer education and the computer club. Participation in competitions relating to extension and outreach programmes helps in the development of leadership and personality. Through extension activities such as population education, environmental education, fine arts, AIDS awareness and blood donation camps, students become aware of the socio–economic problems of people. The midday meal programme for the needy students with the financial support by the teachers themselves is a rare gesture worthy of emulation. The college ensures the presence of the students in the college during working hours by appointing security personnel at the entry gate and restricting the movement of students during odd hours. The system of presenting a token signed by the Head of the Department at the gate enables a student to leave the premises only for some genuine urgent work. The Parent Teachers Association (PTA) has come forward to support the college administration in providing financial assistance to solve urgent problems such as temporary teaching arrangements, clerical assistance, maintenance of buildings and infra structure development. The PTA has also helped the college to secure internet facility.
The above healthy practices have helped in ensuring the congenial atmosphere prevalent on the campus and enabled the institution to grow and reach the present level of excellence in higher education.
Section 3: Overall Analysis
Kumbakonam is a small city of temples with a religious and spiritual atmosphere, situated on the bank of river Arasalar. It is one of the oldest cultural centres in the state and produced eminent scholars like Ramanujam. As there were not many educational opportunities specially for women, the Government College was established in the year 1963 exclusively for the cause of women’s education .
The Peer Team wishes to commend the institution for the following positive features.
· The college is relatively a new institution in Tamil Nadu, with the tradition of producing highly educated women.
· The college started initially with a limited number of students and teachers, has now developed in to a full fledged big institution.
· During the three and a half decades the curriculum has broadened particularly in sciences, and it attracts a good number of girls aspiring to grow in terms of academic excellence. With increasing enrolment of 2170 students at present, the strength of the faculty members also increased proportionally. At present there are 84 teachers, out of them five are Ph.D. degree holders and the rest possess M.Phil. degree.
· The government has been creating adequate infrastructure from time to time and with an impressive annual budget of Rs. 1,75,55,000 for 1999-2000.
· Over a period of time the college has introduced many extension and outreach programmes.
· The high percentage of passes with many first classes and ranks, co-curricular activities like N.C.C, NSS and Red Cross are some of the noteworthy features of this institution.
· The mid-day meal programme introduced for poor students out of teachers’ contribution is a commendable practice.
· As per the evaluation of the academic performance data for the year 1998-99 by the Director of Collegiate Education, the college is placed 4th among the top ten government colleges in undergraduate courses
However, it would be desirable if the following suggestions are given due consideration by the Management and the Principal:
1. The fact that higher education is becoming a complex enterprise in the modern context, it is necessary to adopt a master perspective-plan to structure programmes in teaching, guidance, counselling and institutional organisation. Therefore the college may initiate necessary steps to prepare a plan with a vision for its future development.
2. The Peer Team noted that there was considerable focus on teaching but not in related research which would update the teachers. Keeping in view the need for life-long learning the college should promote research culture in consultation with professional experts in different disciplines.
3. The present physical infrastructure enables only for a limited number of students at present. In view of the growing concern for women’s education it is imperative to expand these facilities for them in the near future.
4. The intellectual resource of the institution like library, guidance and counselling centre may be strengthened. The Peer Team felt that a well-trained librarian and appointment of additional faculty is an immediate requirement.
5. The college offers a general course for new entrants in Communicative English. This however has to be focussed on examinations like TOEFL and skills necessary for different vocations.
6. The college may introduce a placement cell and enrichment programmes for preparing girls for various competitive examinations in view of extensive career opportunities available to them.
7. The grievance redressal mechanism appears to be an informal procedure. It is necessary to institute a grievance redressal cell for obvious advantages.
8. The college may introduce many self financing job oriented courses which help both in the placement of students and in mobilising financial resources for future expansion and development of the institution.
9. It is evident from the interaction of the Peer Team with the students, alumnae, and parents that there is a popular demand for restructuring of undergraduate courses and introduction of Postgraduate courses in computer science, physics, chemistry, zoology and mathematics.