Assessment Report of
Institutional Accreditation of
Kunthavai Naacchiar Government Arts College for Women, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu
The Government Arts College for Women was established in 1966 with the main objective of providing higher education for women of Thanjavur. The college was renamed “Kunthavai Naachiaar Govt.Arts College for women” in 1984 in memory of the illustrious sister of Raja Raja Chola on the occasion of the 1000th anniversary celebration of coronation of the great king whose capital was Thanjavur. The decision of the Govt. of Tamilnadu has helped the women of Thanjavur who are otherwise tradition bound and are hesitant to go even to nearby places like Kumbakonam or Trichirapalli, to pursue higher education.
The college was located in the Thanjavur palace premises itself in the beginning and in 1970 it was shifted to its own two storey building in a vast campus of 17.5 acres. When more academic programmes were introduced in the college, there was increased demand for space and subsequently, more buildings were constructed with generous grants from the Govt. of Tamil Nadu. The infrastructure has been further strengthened by the local Members of Parliament out of the constituency development fund. In order to meet the increased demand for space, recently the Tamil Nadu Government has sanctioned Rs.33 lakhs to this college to construct 12 classrooms.
Initially when the college was started, only the P.U.C. programme was offered. Thereafter, in 1969 the college was upgraded by introducing U.G. courses in history and chemistry. Later, from 1972 to 1999, the academic activity in the institution quickly progressed with the addition of a series of U.G. programmes such as B.A. in geography, English Literature, economics, Tamil Literature, B.Sc. in botany, zoology, physics, mathematics, computer science and B.Com degree programme.
An impetus for higher education was given when the P.G. programmes in history, English Literature and economics were introduced in the college in the years 1976, 1981 and 1998 respectively. Apart from these day college programmes, morning self-financing programmes in economics, commerce and Tamil Literature were also started during 1993-1995 for the benefit of those students who could afford to pay more for higher education.
The college, which had a modest beginning with just three sections of P.U.C. in 1966 now has 12 departments in the faculties of Arts, Science and Commerce offering 12 U.G. programmes and 3 P.G. programmes. It has a faculty strength of 101 members of whom 17 have Ph. D degree. In the mean time, the student strength of the college increased from 260 to 3000. A majority of the students hail from rural areas and are first generation learners. The academic, extra-curricular and extension programmes are largely aimed at personality development of the students and to inculcate a sense of discipline and civic responsibility in them. The institution has been under the able leadership of several eminent lady academicians who served for varying periods as Principals of the college.
The college, which was originally affiliated to Madras University, came under the jurisdiction of Bharathidasan University since 1982. It is now adjudged to be one of the best women’s colleges in Tamil Nadu by the Directorate of Collegiate Education. It has strong curricular and extra-curricular activities.
The Peer Team consisting of Prof. K.M.Kaveriappa, Chairman, Department of Applied Botany, University of Mangalore as Chairman, Dr. K.G. Narayana Pillai, Director, College Development Council, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala and Dr. Geetha Bali, Professor of zoology, Bangalore University as members visited the Kunthavai Naacchiar Government Arts College for Women from 14th to 16th February 2000. Dr. Anthony Stella, Deputy Advisor of NAAC was with the Peer Team as facilitator. After going through the various facilities and programmes existing in the college and interacting with the Management, faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents, the Peer Team is pleased to make an objective assessment of the college and submit its report on various aspects as under.
The college offers undergraduate courses in humanities such as history, economics, Tamil literature and English literature and science courses such as botany, zoology, physics, geography and mathematics and the B.Com. degree course. Recently computer science was introduced as a need based course. The college also offers the Master’s programme in English literature, History and economics. Statistics is offered as an allied subject and also as an inter disciplinary subject in economics, commerce and computer science degree courses. There are also morning courses in economics, commerce, English and Tamil literature under the self financing scheme.
The curriculum and teaching programmes are governed by the rules and norms of Bharathidasan University. The courses are taught in both English and Tamil media but the preference of students appears to be for the latter. The college proposes to initiate Master’s degree courses in zoology, physics and applied mathematics. The college also intends to introduce vocational courses in order to make women self-supportive. They have already sought permission from the government to start Certificate / Diploma courses in mushroom culture, business management, poultry farming, primary education training, Stock management and Banking automation and office automation. If the Government takes a positive decision in this regard, young women aspiring for gainful employment would be benefited.
The syllabus in economics has been redesigned to make it a need based. They have also introduced advertising, sales promotion and management as a vocational course. In this connection, the college is interacting with Gandhigram Rural University, Dindigul for offering a course in entrepreneurial development.
As such there is no formal mechanism evolved to obtain feedback from students, academic peers and employers
The college offers 12 degree programmes and 3 post graduate programmes. All the programmes are of the semester type. Students are admitted based on the marks scored in the qualifying examination both at the UG and PG levels. Students are not formally assessed after admission. The college offers special coaching to weaker sections and a bridge course to the newly admitted undergraduate students.
At the post-graduate level, 25% of the total marks are allotted for internal assessment while there is no internal assessment at the under-graduate level.
The college has been maintaining a good standard of teaching and training in all the courses offered judging from the performance of the students in the university examinations and the ranks obtained. For example, the department of zoology has to its credit nearly 90% success rate of students in 1995 examinations and the Tamil department has the record of procuring three ranks every year since 1991. Last year the department of botany bagged 14 out of 20 university ranks. The above performance is commendable considering that the institution is a government college which follows the selection procedures prescribed by the Government and draws students with socially and economically poor background from near by rural areas.
During the course of visits to the departments which offer self-financed morning courses and regular courses, the Peer Team observed that the faculty involved in teaching the self-financed morning courses are newly recruited guest lecturers having less experience than the regular staff of the department. It would be advisable if some of the more experienced regular staff of the departments are able to handle self-financed morning courses as well.
The college adopts a continuous evaluation procedure for both PG and UG courses even though there is no internal assessment in the latter.
The economics and chemistry departments have computers in addition to the central computer facility which has been recently established.
There is a considerable inter-departmental interaction. The faculty in the department of Tamil provide expertise in translation of scientific subjects into the local language for the benefit of teaching and book writing. The department of English is developing a Language Laboratory for teaching of English.
Computer training is given to students of computer science. The Peer Team feels that training in using computer should be opened to students of other courses also. Some faculty have already been trained in computer and this should be continued. Further, the existing computer training could be offered to public for a fee and the proceeds utilized for the maintenance and upgrading of the computer facility in the college.
The Peer Team is of the opinion that more audio-visual methods may be used for teaching which is at present carried in a conventional way. It would be advisable to equip individual departments with OHP & other audio-visual equipment to make the teaching performance more effective and also train students in using such equipment for making presentations.
The members of the faculty are adequately qualified to handle the programmes offered in the college effectively.
The college has 101 permanent teachers and 26 temporary teachers. Among the staff 17 have Ph. D degrees while 76 have M. Phil degrees. Currently 13 staff members have enrolled for Ph. D and 1 for M. Phil courses in other universities either under the faculty improvement programme or on part time basis. The faculty members regularly interact with their counterparts in the Tamil University, Thanjavur and Bharathidasan University, Trichy. The publications are mostly in the form of books published locally or as chapters in such books. With the exception of a few publications, as for example in the Department of physics, where the faculty members interact with the Indian Institute of Science and have published research articles in reputed international and national journals, publications are localized. There are many M. Phil and Ph. D theses of faculty members which can be published in reputed journals or in the form of books. It may be noted that the Department of mathematics has recently received grants for a minor research programme of UGC.
A number of teachers from the college actively participate in seminars and workshops. The college encourages such activities by granting duty leave, adjustment of teaching schedule. The Peer Team is of the opinion that partial financial assistance provided for such activities to staff members every year may be enhanced by tapping PTA, PTAC funds and other grants. Such interactions with other scientists can have a very positive impact on teaching and research activities of the faculty members.
The college has active NSS programmes and extension activities. They have organized activities in the area of community development, health, hygiene awareness, environmental awareness etc. The Department of economics has adopted a colony “Samathuvapuram” where citizens are given education in finance and accounting, hygiene, small family concept etc. The college has been recognized for the successful conduct of extension programmes and has obtained financial assistance from FORD Foundation, for a novel programme like Campus Diversity Initiative on experimental basis. The programme consists of socio-economic survey, cultural programs, lectures on gender justice, national integration etc. Such activities certainly help strengthen the institution-society interaction.
Students are also actively involved in pollution prevention programmes and “keep the campus clean” drives within the college premises. They are also campaigning against the use of non-biodegradable plastics.
There is no NCC unit in the college at present. It is desirable to have such a unit in the immediate future and a suitable faculty member could be identified and trained for the purpose.
The Department of economics interacts with BHEL inviting experts to give lectures. The Department also interacts with Gandhigram Rural University for on the job training.
Students of vocational courses are working on a part-time basis in the local newspaper offices, departmental stores, etc. The Department of Zoology has organized a national seminar in the field of environment with financial assistance from UGC and other sources.
The time-sharing three morning courses partially utilize the infrastructure available in the college which also may be utilized for starting other vocational, degree, certificate and diploma courses. The buildings are maintained by the state PWD utilizing government funds. The campus is made green by planting trees with the help of faculty and students. The NSS volunteers are involved in the cleaning of the campus. Although the college has nearly adequate space for its various programmes, there are many class rooms with inadequate furniture. This aspect needs immediate attention by the authorities.
There is a central library and departmental libraries. The library has an Advisory Committee headed by the Principal. The librarian and two senior HoDs are members. The total number of books in the library including those in the departmental libraries is 34,556. The student book ratio is 1:11. This low ratio should be improved by adding more volumes in the coming years. The library functions during the college hours between 10a.m and 3.30p.m on all working days. PG students are allowed to borrow 5 books and UG students two books at a time. However, such a facility of borrowing books should be extended to students admitted under the self-financing scheme as well. The timing of the library may be extended to facilitate students to use the library even after the working hours of the college which closes at 3.30 pm. More funds may be made available for purchase of new titles, journals and periodicals. The library has not yet been computerized. The facilities in the library may be enhanced by providing computers, CD ROM and reprographic facilities. Inter library borrowing has to be strengthened.
There is an air conditioned centralized computer facility with 12 computers. In addition, economics and chemistry departments have their own computers and the administration including the Principal’s office has three computers. Steps may be initiated to optimally utilize this facility beyond normal working hours by giving short-term training to students and staff. The computer expertise may be utilized for the preparation of computer aided teaching packages.
There are two generators in the college, one donated by the Annamalai University and the other purchased from PTA funds. The PTA funds are also used for repairing furniture. Besides the general hostel managed by the college, there are BC, MBC and SC hostels run by welfare departments whose facilities are also available to the college students. Since special UGC assistance for ladies hostel and non-residential student center are available, the college may send a proposal to the UGC for special assistance.
Routine medical check-up for the students is arranged by the college. The availability of services of nearby hospitals in cases of emergencies may be confirmed.
Facilities like open stadium, Tennis, Volleyball and Basketball are available. Adequate space may be provided for indoor games like chess, carrom and table tennis. There is a co-operative store housed in the campus. Text books and stationery materials are sold at a fair price. If a photocopying machine, fax and public telephone facility are provided through cooperative stores at nominal rates, they will benefit both students and staff.
Ever since the college was started with a view to providing an opportunity for higher education to the women of Thanjavur, it has striven to achieve this objective by harnessing the human resources of this region. Thousands of women who graduated from this institution have contributed their mite to the development of the rural society.
The college regularly publishes an updated prospectus and academic calendar in Tamil and English with details of the courses offered, admission rules and college regulations, fellowships and scholarships offered etc., The calendar is issued at the beginning of the academic year. The college admits students according to the rules of Bharathidasan University and the reservation policy of the state government. Different types of scholarships and financial assistance such as Adi Dravida welfare scheme, BC scholarship, DNT scholarship, Nagammai scholarship, First graduate scholarship, National Merit Scholarship, Ex-servicemen scholarships, Transport concessions, loans from Banks and post offices are provided to students. Majority of the students are getting one or other types of financial aids.
The student drop out rate is low and the percentage of students passing in the university examinations is high (about 85%).
An alumni association functions in the college. A few of the alumni are in good positions both in administrative and public services. Many are self-employed. The association meets once in a year and conducts the convocation. The career guidance bureau is working in the college but it does not keep records of beneficiaries. It is suggested that an input, output register of the old students and the beneficiaries may be maintained by the bureau.
An informal system of counselling services is working in the college, but it has to be formalized. Possibility of starting a placement cell under a senior faculty member has to be looked in to. Linking between industries and the college has to be initiated with the aim of strengthening the skills and work culture of students. The institution takes all steps to develop the overall personality of the students through associations and clubs like the College Union, Environmental Club, Fine Arts Club, Population Education Club, Rotaract, Leo club, Youth Red Cross etc.
The college magazine is regularly published. The student feedback system has to be formalized. Bridge and remedial coaching should be strengthened.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
The college functions under the direct control of the Director of Collegiate Education (DCE) of the Government. There is a statutory College Council with the Principal as Chairperson and all Heads of Departments as members. The council has advisory powers and meets as often as necessary. The decisions of the college council are effectively implemented with the help of several committees constituted for that purpose. Wherever there is excess workload , the Principal appoints guest lecturers in consultation with the DCE.
Plan and non-plan funds are provided by the Government. Apart from government funds Parent Teacher Association (PTA) raises funds by way of donations and contributions which are used for the development of the college. The college has succeeded in attracting special grants from MP’s contribution development funds for the construction of class rooms , auditorium and cycle shed.
Auditing is done at three levels, internal audit by the college faculty and external audit by local fund auditors, the DCE and Accountant general. UGC funds are properly utilized and accounts are maintained. Interactions with students, teachers and non-teachers indicate that there exists a good rapport among these vital constituents of the college. A number of clubs and associations exist in the college which are student-friendly in terms of upgrading skills and providing encouragement to enhance their talents.
The fee structure is according to the guidelines of the government and the university. Welfare schemes of the state government are implemented to the benefit of the students, faculty and administrative staff. Teachers help the poor and needy students by financial assistance, noon meal and adopting students in their homes.
The student welfare committee looks after the function of the grievance redressal cell.
The Peer Team is happy to note some healthy practices in the institution.
· There is a wide range of extension and extra curricular activities for the students to choose from Notable among them are fine arts, Students Service League, National Integration Samithi, National Service Scheme, Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) Environmental Education and sports.
· Students are encouraged to participate in quiz, elocution competition, essay writing competition etc., on such issues of national importance like environment, national integration and population education.
· Feeding poor students out of the money donated by the rich students builds a bondage between the two.
· The caring attitude of the faculty whose efforts to provide effective counselling to students who come from socially and economically backward communities, rural areas, and from disturbed families is worthy of emulation. In one instance the college adopted a student whose hut was burnt due to group clashes so that she could continue her education without a break or hindrance.
· Students also help the handicapped and mentally retarded children in a nearby school.
· Under earn and learn scheme the college has created a network with local industries and businessmen so that those students who are in need of financial support for their studies are given part-time jobs in business establishments outside the college hours.
The above practices help students to develop a sense of discipline, cooperative spirit and above all promote universal brotherhood.
The Peer Team after going through the general facilities, on the academic and extension programmes in the college is convinced that over the years of its existence it has been able to fulfil the aspirations of the women of Thanjavur, who are fundamentally first generation learners, in imparting higher levels of knowledge. No doubt that today on the basis of the success rate of students in the exams the institution is adjudged as one of the best government women’s college. This would not have been possible with out the efforts of committed staff and dedicated students of the college.
The following positive aspects of the college have impressed the Peer Team and the Team wishes to place on record some such commendable aspects:
· Since its inception in 1966 the college has been striving to impart cost effective higher education to women of Thanjavur many of whom hail from remote rural areas and belong to first generation learners.
· There is a dedicated team of teachers who are devoted to their profession and endeared themselves to students. They are held under high esteem by students, parents and alumni for their professional competency and devotion to duty.
· The students are involved in different types of extension activities which help develop their overall personality and ability to face the future.
· Despite their teaching workload, members of staff are keen on introducing post graduate programmes in their disciplines. They are prepared to share the teaching responsibilities if the programmes are offered in the college. This demonstrates their sincere concern for the future of the students of this region.
· Almost all the students get one or the other types of financial assistance in the college in the form of freeships, scholarships etc.
· The college can boast of its alumni who occupy several important positions in India and abroad.
· A cordial relationship exists among the Principal, teachers, non teaching staff and students. The counselling and guidance given by the faculty to the needy students is noteworthy.
· The college premises are kept clean with the help of student volunteers. An academic atmosphere prevails in the college.
· The college is making sincere efforts to go in for academic autonomy and we are glad to know that their application for Autonomous college status is under the active consideration of the Bharathidasan University and the Government of Tamilnadu.
However the Peer Team wishes to make the following suggestions for the future growth of the institution:
· Due to increased admission of students and starting of self financed morning courses the need for more classroom space and furniture for students has increased. We are confident that Management will consider this requirement on top priority basis
· There is a great demand for residential accommodation in the campus. A proposal may be sent to UGC for grants to construct a hostel building.
· The students admitted under the Self Financing scheme feel that they are not treated on par with other students of the college with reference to teaching arrangements, library facility etc. We hope that the college council will examine this matter carefully so that the feeling among the self-financed course students that they are discriminated against the day students will not remain.
· More programme options may be given to students and for this purpose the college may consider starting need based UG programmes such as Tourism and Travel management, electronics, journalism, computer application etc.
· PG courses in applied mathematics, zoology and chemistry may be introduced to provide vertical mobility to students.
· Thanjavur is a place rich in regional art and culture. There is a need for introducing programmes related to performing art and music. For this purpose the alumni of the college and local philanthropists may be approached.
· There are some departments where expertise of the staff are available for offering short term courses leading to gainful employment of students. For example certificate courses like mushroom culture in botany department, poultry, dairy and pisiculture in zoology department may be introduced. We understand that the local dairies and poultries are available for practical training. Like wise, business management and stock management in the department of economics, bank automation in the department of mathematics and primary education training in the department of English may be considered.
· Research is an integral part of post graduate departments. In the post graduate department of Tamil, there are many qualified staff who are inclined to undertake research. They may be encouraged to undertake research in certain identified areas. For this purpose, they may have to interact with the faculty of Tamil university. Similarly, the department of English may take up translation of classic works in English literature to Tamil.
· The computer facility is of recent origin. It is presently used for Computer Science course and to a limited in extent in administration and accounting. These computers should be used to offer training to the staff and non computer-science students too. If the training facility is also offered to the public by charging a reasonable fee it will augment the resources of the college. The funds granted in this way can be reutilized for strengthening the computer center itself. It is needless to say that computer models change every year and it is necessary to provide latest computers in the center.
· In other colleges of Tamil Nadu, there are good women NCC wings. It is rather unusual that this college lacks one. The Peer Team was given to understand that there was a unit of NCC in the college before and for some unknown reasons it was discontinued. Necessary steps may be taken to train a woman NCC officer and introduce a NCC unit in the college.
· Study tour provides a good field experience for students of History, Botany, Zoology and Tamil. It will boost the enthusiasm of students if a provision is made for study tour in the curriculum.
· There are very well qualified and motivated staff in several departments. They have expertise in their areas of specialization. Their expertise will be better utilized if they are able to interact with the people of Thanjavur. There guidance will be useful in farming, in establishing business and effective utilization of certain welfare schemes of the Government