Institutional Accreditation of
H.H. The Rajah’s College
His Highness The Rajah’s College has a serene and vast campus of 33 acres with impressive infrastructure. The college has grown from a modest beginning with a student strength of 16 in 1880-81 into a full-fledged post graduate and research institution with a strength of 2300 students, 112 teaching faculty and 53 administrative staff . There are 11 departments in the college offering 17 academic programmes which include 10 U.G. programmes, 4 P.G. programmes, 2 M.Phil. programmes and one Ph.D. programme. The college has earned a good reputation in the neighbourhood through its dedicated service by providing sound to the education to students in the area.
The college volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and
Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore and submitted a Self-Study Report in
March 1999. NAAC constituted a Peer Team to visit the institution and validate the
Self-Study Report. The Peer Team consisted of Prof. M. Madaiah, former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University as Chairman, Dr. R. Rajan Varughese, Principal,
Union Christian College, Alwaye, Kerala and Dr. Rajen Harshe, Professor of
International Relations, University of Hyderabad as members. The Team visited the
H.H. The Rajah’s College on 29, 30 and 31 July 1999. Dr. Antony Stella, Deputy
Advisor of NAAC and Dr. M.S. Shyamasundar, Assistant Advisor of NAAC
facilitated the visit of the Peer Team to the college.
The Peer Team meticulously analysed the Self-Study Report submitted by the
college. During the three day visit to the institution the team went through all the
relevant documents, visited the departments and facilities – academic and physical and sports. The Peer Team interacted with the Executive Committee, the Principal, Faculty, Non-Teaching Staff, Representatives of students, parents and alumni of the college. Based on the above exercise, the Peer Team has given its objective assessment in the following pages keeping in mind the seven criteria identified by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
The autonomous status obtained by the college in 1998 is being utilized by the different departments of the college to offer new programme options. Career oriented courses in emerging areas of potential employement are being introduced into the conventional undergraduate degrees and post graduateprogrammes. In addition to the courses available in the college, new curricular initiatives - starting of the U.G.C. sponsored B.A. Archaeology and Museology vocational course, B.Sc. Computer Science and B.Sc. Physical Education, Health Education & Sports – was undertaken by the college. A range of Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma courses in Computer Applications isbeing planned. Proposals for starting postgraduate courses in different disciplines, and Inter-disciplinary areas and M.Phil., Ph.D. programmes in the postgraduate departments are pending with the State Government.
There is no specific mechanism available for obtaining feedback on programmes from employers and society. However, members of faculties are aware of the needs and the quality requirement of employers. Hence there is a resolve to start job oriented courses and to design curriculum that will meet the needs of the society.
Training and development of the potential of faculty must be given a high priority because the new obligation to serve on the Academic Council and Boards of Studies of the autonomous institution has to be honoured.
Goals and Objectives are to be clearly stated in the calendar and a master plan for expansion and quality reinforcement must be prepared on the basis of the goals and objectives adopted by the college.
The success of an educational institution depends on the skills, commitment to the vocation and concern for the students on the part of the teacher. The documentary evidences of the colleges performance and the extensive interactions the NAAC Peer Team has had with all sections of the college community indicate that teachers are seriously involved in the teaching–learning processes. Teachers are easily accessible to students and a cordial relationship exists between them and their students. Students who need assistance are given regular remedial courses which are systematically monitored and documented. Projects, field training, seminar and assignments are regularly undertaken by students as supervised academic activity.
20% of the total marks in each course are allotted to internal assessment under the autonomous scheme. It enables the successful operation of the processes of teaching-learning and evaluation. The examination section is tuned to take up the new responsibility under autonomy. The examination system will help students obtain their exam results without delay.
Faculty are recruited according to government norms and procedures. Faculty development programmes including refresher courses, orientation courses, seminars, conference and TFS under FIP of the UGC have benefited a many teachers.
Most of the teaching positions have been filled. Appraisal of teacher performance is regularly done and maintained.
The lecture mode is the main teaching method adopted. The use of OHP’s and VCR’s is at present limited to some departments. It should be extended to all the teachers. There is no formal mechanism to obtain feedback on teaching by students and the same may be introduced to improve the quality of teaching.
The significance of research in promoting the quality of higher education can hardly be underestimated. At the same time, it is difficult to conduct any worthwhile research without certain basic facilities in laboratories as well as libraries. In view of its location and paucity of resources, it would be unrealistic to expect a vibrant research culture in Rajah’s college, at this juncture. However, the committee was pleased to note that neither the location nor the paucity of resources had deterred the enthusiasm of faculty to do research.
Generally, any culture of inquiry gets stimulated when a formally trained group of faculty choose to pursue research. In Rajah’s college many teachers already have either M.Phil. or Ph.D. The fact that 68 Faculty members are M.Phil. and 15 Faculty members have Ph.D. degree is certainly encouraging from the point of promoting a research atmosphere. A few Faculty members are also pursuing their doctoral studies under the Faculty Improvement Programmes and some more are working on a part-time basis for their Ph.D.. What is more, two Faculty members from the Chemistry department have obtained their Ph.D. from a prestigious institution of academic excellence like the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore).
Over the years, some faculty members have been able to complete minor research projects and they have published papers in national journals. They have taken initiative to organise workshops and conferences in the college. They also have participated in national conferences in their respective fields. Some of the departments, especially History and Commerce have guided research towards M.Phil. and Ph.D degrees. The committee was informed that most of the faculties are making efforts to start P.G., M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes.
However, the enthusiasm to promote research is often discouraged by many inherent difficulties. To start with, the college requires a better equipped Central library with, at least, certain important journals in all the fields. Furthermore, the exposure of the present faculty to research is limited. Most of the faculty members have no links with centres of academic excellence in the field. Due to lack of such links, the faculty are unable to assess the quality of its own research. In a word, to improve its research performance the faculty needs peer assessment. It could also be noted that with its scarce resources the college, at this stage, is not well equipped to offer consultancy services on any noticeable scale. However, it has been doing some extension work in the rural areas. For instance, it has organised blood donation camps and launched useful campaign in the pursuit of protecting common hygiene.
The College has been able to develop infrastructure to facilitate learning. With its impressive set of buildings, wide verandas, halls and well designed class rooms, the college is able to cater for the needs of over 2000 students. Almost all the labs in the college appear spacious and adequately equipped. The central library and departmental libraries together have over 50,000 books. The college is also able to subscribe for some good academic journals. In addition, new computers are being purchased and the existing computers are being used effectively. The committee was pleased to see the facilities available for students to play several indoor and outdoor games.
After reviewing the overall infrastructure, it could be asserted that the college would require more grants to strengthen the same. Particularly, in view of its plans to start post graduate courses, the college would need more funds to buy books, journals and lab equipment. The current resources are far too inadequate to satisfy the needs of any worthwhile P.G. or research programmes.
One of the striking features of this college has been its capacity to render services to a wide variety of rural and socially deprived sections of the society. Owing to their background the students find it hard to cope with the academic standards that the college has been trying to establish. More often, English as a medium of instruction also stands in the way of their endeavour to grasp any subject. As a result, out of the students who appear for the final examinations, only one third are able to pass. Hopefully, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers of the college would steadily be able to improve this low percentage.
After getting the basic degree a number of students choose to rejoin the college for P.G. or M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. Very rarely students have gone to other academic institutions within or outside India. However, One student who left the college secured the young scientist award, at a later stage. He pursues doctoral research in the U.S. with a substantial research grant of $ 65,000.
A large number of students who have passed out from the college have been absorbed in diverse professions including teaching, both in college as well as universities, and in banks and in many state government services.
Criterion VII: Organization and Management
His Highness The Rajah’s College (Autonomous) is a state government institution. The college is administered by the Principal in keeping with government regulations. Activities of the College are planned and executed by various committees with the involvement and assistance of teaching and non-teaching staff and the students union. Some of the major functions are carried out by the College Council, Committees for Admission, UGC matters, Sports, Magazine, Academic Calendar and so on. The autonomy conferred on the college is managed by statutory bodies such as the, Executive Committee, the Finance Committee, Boards of Studies, and the Academic Council.
The teaching and non-teaching staff and the students are informally consulted for effective functioning of the college. The work efficiency of The teaching and non-teaching staff is assessed by audits at the superior levels. The College Council and the Administrative staff assist the principal in ensuring the smooth functioning of the academic and financial activities. The controller of examinations looks after maters relating to examinations. Staff recruitment and postings are made by the state government. The confidential reports on non-teaching staff are maintained and used for career advancement. A number of welfare programmes are available for teaching and administrative staff. The institution has a grievance redressal mechanism at the levels of Heads of the Departments and the Principal. The College Council resolves issues referred to it.
The college has certain notable healthy practices to its credit. The college has sustained quality education programmes through various curricular and co-curricular activities. The initiative of the college in introducing need based job oriented courses like B.Sc. Computer Applications, and Archeology and Musicology is encouraging. The efforts of the college to computerize admission procedures and pay bill deserve mention. The introduction of internal assessment for improving the quality of education is welcomed by students. There has been consistently outstanding performance by students of the college in sports and games, NCC, NSS and cultural activities. Extension activities of NSS through village adoption and awareness programmes are commendable. The personal attention given by the Principal and the teachers for the all- round personality development of students is appreciable. Another noticeable healthy feature followed in this institution is the close link between the college and the Alumni and the Parent – Teachers Association. The placement cell formed by the college recently would go a long way in helping the students to obtain suitable placements. The international linkage by MOU with Iowa State University, U.S.A. is encouraging. The Peer Team is gratified to witness the remarkable discipline in the campus.
The Peer Team, after careful analysis of the Self – Study Report and after assessing H.H. The Rajah’s College through its visit on 29th, 30th and 31st July, 1999 is pleased to note that the institution has been fulfilling the objectives for which it was established viz ‘From Darkness Unto Light’. The college has been catering for the needs of the first generation learners who hail from socially, educationally and economically backward sections of the society in the Pudukkottai region. It has made sincere efforts to update the syllabi after acquiring autonomy by introducing some socially relevant and job oriented courses. However, this premier institution needs to expand its academic and research programmes for its continued progress. The state government has to come forward with additional financial support. The college also needs to explore possibilities of mobilizing resources through the Parent – Teacher Association, the Alumni Association and other public and private sources to create additional academic and physical facilities for the benefit of students.
H.H. The Rajah’s College has maintained its reputation for its yeoman service in the field of higher education all these years. The Peer Teem envisages a brighter and expanded role for this premier institution in the new millennium.