Institutional Accreditation of
Lady Willingdon Institute of
Advanced Studies in Education,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Lady Willingdon Institute of Advanced Study in Education, Chennai was started in 1922 by upgrading the then existing elementary and secondary grade teachers’ school for women with the object of preparing an ideal secondary school teachers to impart advanced pedagogical skills. The college is affiliated to the university of Madras. Over the years it has developed into a comprehensive college of education offering B.Ed., M.Ed. and M.Phil programmes. In 1940, the college was shifted to the present campus where a spacious building was raised in 1944. It is situated on the Marina Beach and it has a commanding seascape opposite the Bay of Bengal.
The contribution made by the college to the cause of higher education of women through its 77-year history and its social accreditation paved the way for its elevation to the status of an Institute of Advanced Study in Education (IASE) in 1990.
The college application for grant of autonomy is under the active consideration of the University Grants Commission (UGC). It volunteered to be assessed and accredited by NAAC and submitted the self study report for the purpose. The NAAC constituted the Peer Team consisting of Prof. M. Malla Reddy, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University as Chairman and Prof. Mercy Abraham, formerly Professor of Education, University of Kerala as member. The Peer Team visited the college on February 18, 2000 and evaluated the institution’s performance and facilities. Based on empirical verification of records and on the assessment of fact that emerged during its interaction with the staff council, the Principal, faculty, students, alumnae, parents and non-teaching staff, the following criterion-wise report was prepared.
Although the college is an Institute of Advanced Study in Education (IASE) it continues to be non-autonomous with little freedom to design its curriculum and organize any innovative programmes. Under the circumstances, the college it follows the curriculum prescribed by the university at both the UG and the PG levels. It is actively trying to obtain autonomy.
As the nature of training offered is professional, the programme is inherently career-oriented. The college emphasizes the all-round development of personality and self-confidence in the teacher-pupils it trains to meet the challenges of today. The college has an organised mechanism to obtain feedback from the academic peers and examiners which help in the review and re-making of the institutional programmes and activities. It identifies every year about 12-15 secondary schools for teaching practice and also to pursue elementary pedagogical research on the institutional set up like organizational climate, student discipline, school community relationship etc. Despite its limitations for want of autonomy, the institution is in forefront of many innovations in pedagogical practices. Students are exposed to micro teaching techniques, programmed learning and recent developments in educational technology. The college also adopts the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach in teaching optional subjects. At the time of teaching practice, the college invites outside experts to offer model lessons. This has had a salient influence pm the trainees who thereby gained self-confidence.
Being an Advanced Centre of pedagogy for the young, it may consider a review and revision of its goals and consequent re-designing of the curricula, within the limits of the affiliating system, chiefly in the context of the changing role of women in society besides the advancement of science and technology.
Admissions to the B.Ed. course are made on the basis of an entrance examination conducted by the state government. The college follows norms of admission laid down by the state government. It has been offering remedial and bridge courses for educationally disadvantaged students through the Tutorial System. Good achievers are given additional opportunities to develop communicative skills by participating in debates, symposia, intercollegiate competitions etc. They are also given opportunities to take special classes in their respective practice schools.
The college insists on the maintenance of a work diary by every teacher along with the teaching schedule. In addition to regular teaching, trainees are required to participate in seminars, and group discussions, and to offer guest lectures. With reference to quality improvement of teachers, the college organizes seminars, team teaching and workshops. Training is also given to every teacher in the use of OHP, slide projector and audio visual aids.
The college works for 210 days including 20 days of examination, tests, etc. Students are assessed periodically through internal tests, assignments, preparation of records, teaching aids and project work. Since the Lady Willingdon Institute of Advanced Study in Education is a government college, the recruitment policy is vested with the government and no teacher can be recruited by the institution without its permission. The assessment of teachers is recorded in the form of confidential reports and used for the purpose of promotion, etc.
The college has conducted several faculty development programmes like workshop, in-service programmes, computer training, refresher courses and orientation courses during the last two years. About 10 teachers have benefited from these academic programmes. Almost all the teachers have research background, as every one of them possesses an M.Phil. degree. Six members of the faculty have Ph.D. It is significant to note that every year 15-20 student teachers from Sweden accompanied by their teachers visit the college during the month of September and interact with our faculty and students on various issues like curricular and extracurricular programmes. This programme is sponsored by the “Share and Care” organisers from Tamil Nadu.
The Peer Team recommends, for the active contribution of the Institute, a programme of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in order to develop the spoken and written communicative skills of the trainees in English. Coming to the disabilities caused in this area, students find it difficult to meet the competitive demands made on them by employers.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
The college promotes research from the postgraduate level by making project work and dissertation as the required component of their curriculum. Teachers interested in pursuing research are given leave and provided with seed money. The college has constituted a research committee for examining the project proposals and for making suitable recommendations. The fact that the college has not made any significant mark in the area of research in spite of it being an Advanced Centre for Studies in Teacher Education is a matter of concern. At present there are no on going research projects for want of financial resources and autonomy.
The strength of the college lies in the area of extension activities. Community development, social work, health and hygiene awareness, medical camp. adult education and literacy, blood donation camp, AIDS awareness, environment awareness are some of the important programmes organised annually by the college as part of its extension activities. The college organises some of the above activities with the help of NGOs, GOs, etc.
It is in the area of consultancy that the college may strive to achieve much as an Advanced Institute. Psychological Testing and Counselling as an area where many possibilities lie. Training of spoken English, organising speech training for school teachers are others.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
The college has adequate buildings, laboratories, a library, a hostel and a well-furnished auditorium.
There is sufficient open space for sports and games and for other physical education activities. The library is situated in the centre of the building and it provides access to every student. It works from 0830 hrs to 1700 hrs to enable every student to use the facility. The library has 15781 books and they are sufficient for use by 220 students pursuing B.Ed., M.Ed. and M.Phil. programmes. There is a small computer centre established in collaboration with an external agency and it is managed by technically qualified teachers.
The college building and the laboratories are well maintained. The physical science and biology laboratory has all the necessary equipment which enables the teacher trainees to conduct their experiments during practice teaching. The psychology laboratory is well equipped with several facilities. The teacher trainees administer several tests like aptitude and attitude test for secondary school students during their teaching practice.
The college also provides residential accommodation for about 100 students in the two hostels in the same campus.
The college may make a master-plan to take stock of the needs for expansion and development in the immediate future. An Advanced Institute may not escape the requirement to augment its research facility, to provide for more effective ways of imparting training using the electronic media and to sure the cause of women’s education in a significant way.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The college offers a wide range of opportunities for student support and progression. The prospectus which is published at the beginning of every academic year provides detailed information regarding the institution and its activities. The rate of success of the students in the college is very high which is evident from performance of the students in the annual examination (almost 99% pass).
With regard to progression to employment and further study, the college does not maintain any record. However, being a professional institution, a sizeable number of students trained here join the teaching profession and a few students pursue the M.Ed. course. Students of this college normally do not appear for any competitive examination except the examination conducted by the state government for recruitment of teachers for obvious reasons.
The college provides substantial financial aid to a large number of students in the form of merit scholarships and merit-cum-means financial support. The government of Tamil Nadu advances loans to poor and deserving teacher pupils, which is repayable after completion of their study. There is a placement cell in the institution which has succeeded in getting placement for 10 students in the last academic year. The college organises several activities in the area of sports and games and other extracurricular activities for overall development of student personality. These include outdoor games, nature clubs, debate clubs, student magazines, cultural programmes, audio-visual facilities, dance and music competitions, essay writing etc.
The college has started an alumnae association which helps the institution in the pursuit of its goals. The association has extended its exceptional support to the institution during its platinum jubilee celebrations and also instituted endowment prizes and medals for outgoing students.
The college being a state institution, the major policy decisions are made by the government which are implemented by it. However, there is an efficient internal coordinating mechanism for the governance of the institution for its day-to-day functioning. For this purpose the college has constituted a college council consisting of all the heads of the departments which coordinates the curricular and the extracurricular activities.
The college constitutes several committees assigning specific responsibilities like preparation of academic calendar, maintenance of discipline, conduct of examination, ensuring efficiency of non-teaching staff, and upkeep of the hostels and promotion of extension activities.
The college collects tuition fee of Rs.1000/- for B.Ed., Rs.1500/- for M.Ed. and Rs.1000/- for M.Phil. from every student per annum.
The college is one of the oldest institutions in the history of teacher education in the country and has built up several healthy traditions over the years. It has adopted many mechanisms to improve its efficiency and enhance the quality of teaching-learning processes. The various periodical tests, assignments, seminars, practicals, classroom projects form a part of such healthy traditions. The college organises Monday morning prayer, flag hoisting ceremony, meetings for conscientizing students against the practice of untouchability, and promoting a sense of national integration which are some of the significant healthy practices which have influenced the institutional climate, transforming the institution to “a portal of learning with a difference”.
The college strives to inculcate a sense of civic responsibility and a high degree of discipline in every student with the help of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, which is unique. On every Monday and other special occasions students attend the college with a common dress(uniform) to highlight the significance of the occasion.
Yoga forms a part of the curriculum in the institution and classes are conducted for the physical, mental and spiritual development of students. In addition to the several curricular and extracurricular activities, which are conventional in nature, college also organises computer classes to all its students to make them computer literate.
The college is aware of the significance of the “general transferable skills” among the students like capacity to learn, communication skills, numerical skills, use of information technology, working as a part of team, etc. and makes every possible effort to promote these important skills among teacher pupils in the institution.
Section 3: Overall Analysis
Lady Willingdon Institute of Advanced Study in Education, Chennai was founded in 1922 to prepare ideal teachers. The contribution made by the institution to promote the spirit of freedom even before Independence is well attested. The pragmatic approach and vision of the founders of this institution and especially the role of the state government in upgrading it to a comprehensive college of education are the major causes for the growth and evolution of this institution into a centre of advanced study in education. The college offers regular courses within the curriculum prescribed by the University of Madras and all the programmes are designed according to the guidelines laid down by the Board of Studies in Education, University of Madras which are mandatory. The college however, has undertaken several extension activities which form an integral part of the regular curriculum, and it is obligatory on the part every student to participate in these activities.
The college strives to prepare ideal teachers with strong cognitive, affective and co native skills which enable a teacher to develop the skill of critical inquiry and to practise teaching-learning with an in depth understanding. Based on our observations during our visit we commend the institution for the following achievements.
· Being a single faculty institution the range of options are few. Despite this limitation, the college has introduced a broad curriculum with strong foundation courses, instructional techniques, opportunities for specialisation in different methodologies and several extension activities.
· The college preserves the ethos of the teacher preparation institution with exceptional discipline and order among both students and staff.
· Through its interdisciplinary curriculum, teaching-research-extension, the college is able to produce teacher scholars with strong pedagogical skills.
· Members of the faculty are full time professionals and qualified scholars who offer a wide range of services in addition to their regular teaching responsibilities. The extra service of teachers include guidance to rural students, remedial teaching, guiding dissertation work, counselling and career guidance.
· Despite the fact the college is a government institution it functions on the model of “Human Relations” implying participatory democracy. The Peer Team has not noted any form of hierarchy: superordinate or subordinate relations in its governance. Such a healthy institutional climate has thus transformed life in the institution into a close knit community and a happy place of work.
Thus college is able to live up to its reputation by promoting excellence in the area of teacher education. However, it has to go a long way to move closer to its goals. The following recommendations are made keeping in view the strengths and weaknesses of the institution:
· One of the important challenges of the teacher education institutions is integrating theory and practice. The college should organise seminars on these themes.
· The college should use its alumnae association in its developmental activities.
· The college should undertake operation research by providing necessary financial support to teacher educators to undertake such research. The earlier experience of the teachers in scantily funded research projects undertaken by them may be augmented by undertaking major research projects.
· The Peer Team noted with concern that Lady Willingdon Institute of Advanced Study in Education, Chennai continues to be a non-autonomous institution, which defeats the purpose for which the college has been upgraded to an advanced centre. The Peer Team therefore strongly recommends autonomy for this college.
· The college should prepare a list of eminent scholars in the field of teacher education who should be involved in teaching-learning processes as visiting faculty. These scholars can deliver lectures on different themes covering complex issues of pedagogy.
· The college is situated in an area of 16 acres in an excellent ambience. However, the land is not optimally utilised. During our interaction with the students, the students expressed their willingness to transform the entire land into a green belt and oasis of landscapes in the near future. The college should work out a scheme to translate this idea into practice.
· The college is situated in a major metropolitan city Chennai in this country and it has access to many important educational institutions in the area. Therefore, the college should think of organising conferences, workshops, symposia, etc. on a wide range of themes with interdisciplinary approach by involving experts from other institutions.
· Research in teacher education is normally designed with topics which do not often lead to solutions to emerging challenges in pedagogy. We recommend that the college should conduct a workshop on the nature of future research needs and areas of research in this challenging discipline.
We place our appreciation on record for the warm welcome and cooperation extended in the evaluation of the institution.