Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
The Lala Lajpat Rai College of Commerce and Economics, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). It conducted the preliminary self-study and submitted the self-study report to NAAC in December, 1999. The Peer Team was constituted by the Council to visit and validate the self-study report. The Peer Team consisting of Prof. Ramdass, Professor of economics of the Pondicherry University as Chairman and Prof. Mayank Dholakiya, Professor of Management Studies of the MS University, Baroda as member visited the institution for two days on February 24 and 25, 2000.
The Lala Lajpat Rai College of Commerce and Economics, affiliated to the University of Mumbai as a Grant-in-Aid college, is situated in Central Mumbai in an area of 1.25 acres in an eight-storey building with a total constructed area of 77,131 sq.feet. The college was set up by the Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Trust in 1972. It was a symbolic initiative to realise the vision of Lala Lajpat Rai to enrich national and social life through the cause of education.
Today, the college has a student strength of 1492, enrolled in its Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Management Studies (started in 1999-2000) programmes. It also runs six other diploma and certificate programmes.
The college has a well-qualified team of 28 faculty members (19 full-time and 9 part-time). There are 17 members on the non-teaching staff. The college has a well-stocked library, computer centre, a health centre and two canteens. It has three departments : Commerce, Accountancy and Economics.
The Peer Team carefully perused and analysed the self-study report submitted by the institution. During the institutional visit, the team carefully examined all the relevant documents, visited the facilities and the departments. It interacted with various constituents of the institution. The academic, co-curricular, extra-curricular, sports and extension facilities of the institution were visited. The Peer Team interacted at length with the Governing Body, the Principal, faculty members, non-teaching staff, students, parents and alumni of the institution. Based on the above exercise and keeping in mind the criteria identified by NAAC, the Peer Team has made the following assessment.
Lala Lajpat Rai College of Commerce and Economics (LLCCE) is a Grant-in-Aid affiliated college of the University of Mumbai. It offers two UG programmes (Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Management Studies) and six other assorted certificate and diploma programmes.
The college provides educational service to the local community. There is no stated goal but educational service seems to be the major focus of academic activity
The college has very limited freedom to change syllabi. Two faculty members including the Principal represent the college on the university Board of Studies. It has introduced vocational and special courses such as portfolio management, banking practice, taxation. These have enriched the curriculum in a limited way.
It takes one to two years for the college to introduce a new programme under the affiliating system. No new courses have been introduced, except the Bachelor of Management Studies programme in the year 1999-2000.
Any major effort to enrich the syllabi on a voluntary basis was not evident.
The college enjoys some industry and trade interface, mainly through its Alumni Association. Students have been placed in some companies on vacation jobs for gaining practical training related to vocational subjects. Other than these, the college has limited industry interface on a sustained basis. No formal feedback was sought from students or academic peers on curricular aspects.
As the institution offers standard undergraduate programmes, there is no scope for programme options. However, to orient students towards professional careers, the college runs several certificate and diploma programmes which provide value addition to students for building their future career. Curricular support infrastructure in terms of library facilities, interaction with teachers from other colleges and audio-visual media, maps etc. is quite good.
Enrichment/supplementary programmes which help modernization of curriculum in terms of contemporary needs may be considered even outside the university syllabi.
Admissions to the B.Com. programme are made directly from the Junior College of the same institute. Students from other institutions are accepted on a very limited scale on merit plus state / national level participation track record in sports. Admission to the BMS programme is based on a central entrance test which judges the student’s knowledge base and aptitude for the programme. There is no provision for a similar judgment test after the admission. However, the college has provided for internal valuation on a continuous basis for the F.Y. and S.Y. students including Term-End, Preliminary and Mid-Term Examinations as well as assignments and seminars. Evaluation of student performance is, therefore, governed largely by university guidelines or university examinations.
Remedial courses are held in various subjects such as business economics, maths & stats and business communications, particularly for reserved category students. Adequate effort is made to help students overcome subject–specific handicaps.
The teaching-learning process is confined largely to class-room lectures. There is adequate support in the form of audio-visual equipment for supplementing the teaching-learning process.
Enrichment and learning enhancement initiatives are taken, particularly in the form of guest lectures by professionals and supporting outstanding achievers through limited encouragement incentives. There is no evidence of a formal mentor-protégé’ arrangement, or to coach students on a sustained basis for improving their exam performance.
Syllabi are unitised and all teachers prepare teaching plans.
Recruitment of teachers is according to university norms and system. There is apparently no formal performance appraisal system. There is a recent practice of filling out self-appraisal forms as per U.G.C. guidelines. However, senior teachers guide junior teachers through an Observation-Feedback-Improvement approach.
Some effort is made through workshops, conferences, symposia for teacher development. There are no national / international strategic partnerships with other institutions to facilitate greater interaction with other institutions on contemporary issues. The institution, while it does not restrain any teacher from pursuing any programme of self-development, does not make special efforts to encourage the members of faculty to develop themselves. one teacher has a Ph.D. and seven others have M.Phil.
The college may seriously consider improving upon conventional pedagogy by adopting more learner-centered instruction besides education technology.
Computer studies have become indispensable for commerce and management
There is no evidence of promotion of research and consultancy. Limited effort is reported in the field of taxation and civil-law for consultancy services. Some faculty members undertake consultancy assignments on an individual basis, but not as institutional assignments or on behalf of the college.
There is limited effort to encourage teachers to pursue research and consultancy. As the college is essentially a UG institution funded by the university, research culture and consequent research output do not form a significant part of its activities. There was no significant evidence of the faculty members proposing to take up specific research projects through well known research funding agencies.
While research and consultancy are not a major strength of the college, it is quite prominent in extension activities, specifically social and community development activities. Through its students, N.S.S. volunteers and teachers, the following noteworthy initiatives have been taken by the college in the past:
· Medical / Blood donation camps
· Career counselling
· Health and hygiene awareness
· Environment awareness such as tree plantation
· Sports and cultural activities
Internally, the College has a vibrant Students’ Council. Taking into account its cosmopolitan student population, several multi-cultural events and festivals are organised at the college.
The greatest strength of this institution lies in its physical infrastructure developed over the years since its inception in 1972. Viewed in the context of a single programme offered by the college, the facilities available appear to be more than adequate for a congenial learning climate and the efforts of the Management in this regard are commendable.
The campus of the college itself is situated in a prime location of the city in a cool and salubrious surrounding facing the Arabian Sea on the one side and a small but beautifully maintained triangular garden on the other side. The college has an eight storeyed building with two lifts, one generator and a centrally air-conditioned room. The class rooms are fitted with adequate furniture and blackboards and some of them are equipped with slide projectors and audio visual equipment. There is a water cooler and the office is equipped with xerox machines, electronic stencil cutter and computers. The infrastructure is fairly well maintained out of the non-salary grant received from the government (Rs.6 lakhs per year) and the funds provided by the Management of the college. The Management of this college also runs a few self financing courses, a PG programme in management and a junior college (for +2 students) which ensures optimal utilisation of infrastructure. Further, the practice of the institution to rent out its facilities to the public without affecting its academic work also contributes to the fuller utilisation of its resources besides raising marginally managing additional funds.
The college has built an impressive network of library facilities to provide a fairly good environment of self study and learning. It has a collection of 31,998 books and 80 periodicals (including the latest books and journals) and back volumes of journals. The library offers inter-library borrowing and Book Bank facilities, internet and reprographic facilities. The computerisation of the stock of the library is completed and the plan for the computerisation of other operations of the library is on the anvil. A software for library information management has been developed. There is a library committee and an amount of Rs.1.29 lakhs has been spent on the purchase of books last year.
However, free access to books may be given to students with adequate safeguards. Although the college does not have a degree programme in computer science, it has developed a central computer facility with 21 systems with Novell Netware and Windows NT platforms, Pentium nodes with Multimedia. The three departments of the college do not have separate computer facility but they avail themselves of this facility through the LAN system. The centre has developed accounting and examination packages and the software support is provided by the Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Management functioning in the same college. The computers and their accessories are well maintained through Annual Maintenance Contract with the suppliers of machines.
Another remarkable facility could be seen in the health centre consciously developed by the college. The centre has two full time Health Counsellors and a few visiting specialists in ENT, Dentistry and Cardiology. The centre provides both allopathic and homeopathic treatment to students, faculty and the general public. The methods of occupressure and occupuncture and other alternative medicines are practised. An amount of Rs.2.5 lakhs is spent on medicines alone.
The college has a Gymkhana Hall where training in indoor games is imparted. It does not have ground facility for practising outdoor games such as volley ball, basket ball, tennis, ball badminton or cricket. It is understood that these games are conducted in TMC ground and the Race Course patch adjacent to the college. Student achievement in sports has not been significant, as only a few students of this college have participated in state, regional, national or international levels. There is no faculty of physical education and the need for creating sports facilities is greatly felt by the team.
There is a well structured 650 seater auditorium with theatre facility and a centrally air-conditioned conference hall. The auditorium is rented to the public also whenever it is free. There are two canteens which provide subsidised catering service. The college does not have a hostel of its own, since the institution caters mostly for the students of Mumbai and there may nor be any takers for hostel accommodation.
Optimal utilization of infrastructure for academic and co-curricular programmes may be planned by the college community.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The existing support programme for student progression (as measured by percentage of pass, dropout rate, further study and employment) is just satisfactory.
The college, besides providing a teaching-learning climate, also arranges financial aid to students through various national and state government scholarships. The college offers its own merit scholarships and free studentships. Poor students receive a good deal of financial assistance through the Welfare Fund created by the college. An amount of Rs.37.52 lakhs was earmarked for it. However, it is to be noted that despite a variety of scholarship schemes, only three students have received freeships last year. Streamlining of procedures and expeditious action are recommended.
The librarian of the college acts as the employment and placement officer who maintains liaison with the university employment cell and provides regular employment guidance service to students. Many reputed industries / establishments have requested manpower supply from this institution. The institution does not document the extent of employment or placement secured by the college in the recent past nor the success of self-employment among students. However, our interactions with the alumni and students revealed that a considerable proportion of students get jobs or are self employed. The Alumni Association also assured of placement facilities to students since most of the members of the Association are engaged in business, industry and trade. This suggests the effective functioning of the placement cell and interactions with all concerned and collection and maintenance of data on placement regularly. The placement arrangements may be encouraged further.
Although the dropout rate is as low as 4 percent the pass in B.Com. was just 56% last year. And only 14 percent of those who have passed have secured first class. This performance, in the midst of facilities available and the strong faculty position, causes concern. The college Management make a self-study to probe into the causes (such as student admission, quantitative rather than qualitative expansion, admission of its own junior college students, teaching methods and programmes, faculty improvement, tutorial system etc.)
In terms of student progression, students admitted to F.Y.B.Com. classes join professional courses such as C.A. Foundation Course, Diploma in Business Finance, Diploma in Computer and Company Secretary and I.C.W.A. Foundation. It is claimed that 60 percent of its students seek admission in professional courses after their graduation (although no evidence is available to this effect.)
The college has an Alumni Association established in 1999 which helps students in placement, summer training and financial assistance. Currently it meets the educational expenditure of six students. Other activities organised by the Association are : organisation of musical concerts and fun fair, celebration of Independence Day and holding of Guest Lectures on topics of national importance and relevance. Old students of this institution have excelled in sports and in cultural activities. The Association has a plan of creating a corpus of Rs.10 lakhs, the proceeds of which will be used to pay scholarships to 20 students at the rate of Rs.500/- per month. Some of the present day, legal luminaries, shares legends, sportsmen, foreign exchange dealers and stock brokers, solicitors, exporters, T.V. and film stars, film producers, singers, music directors and directors of dramas are the alumni of this institution. A positive aspect of the college is the frequent interaction of the Alumni Association with its Alma Mater at least once a month. This Association may be utilised by the college for fund raising for the college in the future. Among the teachers, one has become a Vice Chancellor, another Registrar and another Director of DDE.
Fortunately the college has an enlightened Management comprising industrialists and philanthropists of the area who are responsive to the educational needs of the emerging society. The interaction of the Peer Team with the Management of the college was fruitful and it indicated its positive thinking on the future development of the college. The Management has an ambition to convert this college into a national institute. But they lamented that their efforts for educational diversification and development are scuttled by the restrictive practices of the university.
The Management of the college has created a corpus of Rs.2.5 crores, the proceeds of which are used for the development of the college. The future goal of the institution is to create manpower to meet the business and Information Technology needs of the society. The Management appreciated and accepted the idea of Prof. A. Gnanam Chairman NAAC to introduce a four year programme in B.Com. with a one year apprenticeship scheme.
The Governing Board is the executive authority of the college exercising financial, administrative and expansion powers of the college. The day to day administration of the college vests in the Local Managing Committee which has the President of the Governing Board as its Chairman and the Principal of the college as its Secretary. Representatives of Teaching, Non-teaching staff are members of this committee. The members of the committee can inspect all records and documents of the college.
The Heads of Departments prepare the academic calendar for their respective departments which in turn are approved in the meeting of the Principal, Vice Principal and the teacher representatives of the Local Managing Committee. A committee consisting of three senior faculty members, co-ordinates and monitors the functioning of the college. A three member committee looks after the interest of non-teaching staff. Members of faculty are recruited by a selection committee as per approved rules of recruitment by the Mumbai University. The college has made only temporary appointments in recent years. Non-teaching staff need professional development. The college draws expertise available on hourly basis and this meets the human resource needs of the college.
The college has a self appraisal programme for the faculty and a grievance redressal mechanism. The college provides loan facilities to its teaching and non-teaching staff under the College Welfare Fund and the Provident Fund Schemes, loans for marriages, sickness and house construction is also granted. The college also encourages its faculty to pursue their research interests without any hardship. The Management has a well conceived welfare programme for its employees.
The college has shown its budget for the last two years. There is an internal audit system as well. Besides, the accounts of the institution are audited by an external Audit Agency. The college has incurred a deficit of about Rs.2.18 lakhs in the last two years which is easily met by the Management. The quantum of deficit is not alarming and is indicative of sound financial management by the college. The efforts of the college to utilise the infrastructure to raise additional resources are commendable. The proposal of the college to mobilise resources through launching self-financing courses, organisation of smaller self financing programmes, establishment of industry linkages and tapping the resources of the Alumni Association deserve encouragement and appreciation.
While there was not any substantial evidence of innovative & unique practices followed by the college which add to its academic ambience, there were some initiatives observed by the Peer Team, which are noteworthy:
As complementary add-ons, the college offers several courses / programmes such as:
· CA Foundation Course
· Diploma in Business Finance (DBF) offered by Institute of chartered Financial Analysts of India, Hyderabad.
· Computer Certificate Course
· MBA Foundation Course
These initiatives are satisfactory. The criterion of offering need-based courses for the integrated development of students is commendable.
Given its focus on running a single university controlled B.Com programme, educational innovations like the Credit System or examination reforms were not attempted. However, continuous evaluation effort through presentations, projects & seminars for first year & second year students can be commended.
The college maintains high discipline and decorum among students. Students and parents said that their choice of this college was influenced by this consideration.
The work experience provided by the institution and compulsory projects for each paper of the B. Com. programme enhance skills and competencies of students.
Section 3. Overall Analysis
The overall impression that the Peer Team gathered after an analysis of the Self Study Report, a visit to various academic and physical facilities, and interactions with the students, faculty, alumni, and parents is that, this single faculty college has made a reasonable progress towards the achievement of its goal of disseminating commerce education. The college has established a reputation for its devotion to the cause of education and discipline and imparting vocation based education to students. The Peer Team could identify some elements of quality education and its potential for quality assurance and standards in the future. The Peer Team would like to commend the institution for the following aspects:
· The college has a well built Management and organisational structure. The management of the institution provides the needed encouragement and assistance for the present and future development of the institution.
· There is a sense of unity among the faculty, students, non-teaching staff and the administration, which works under the dynamic leadership of the Principal.
· There is a sense of job satisfaction among the teaching and non-teaching staff of the institution.
· There is a congenial atmosphere for effective teaching and learning processes.
· The teacher-taught relationship is very cordial, and it promotes good atmosphere of learning. The alumni of the institution occupy eminent positions in the fields of finance, business, industry, exports and judiciary, and this is an indicator of the quality stamp of the institution.
· The infrastructure created is commendable for a single faculty programme.
· The remedial instruction system adopted by the college has enhanced skills of poor and backward learners.
· The Health Centre of the college renders commendable services.
However, the Peer Team would like to offer the following suggestions for the future expansion and development of the academic activities and student progression:
· While the Peer Team appreciates the efforts of the faculty and the institution to promote better learning processes, the college should step up its efforts to enhance its performance in terms of higher percentage of passes.
· The Management may explore the possibility of offering more self financed relevant courses, which could ensure more course options for students.
· The Placement Cell of the college may be strengthened with the appointment of a Placement Officer who may maintain and monitor the data on placement, and foster college-industry linkages.
· The counselling and guidance aspects of the college may also be strengthened.
· The Research efforts of the faculty must be augmented. The faculty may be encouraged to undertake research projects and to acquire research degrees such as M.Phil and Ph.D.
· The college may initiate effective measures to improve the student performance in the area of sports.
· The benefits of the welfare fund may be extended to more poor students.
· The college may also concentrate on the professional development of non-teaching staff especially in the area of accounting, administration and automation.
· A formal system of feedback on the educational efforts of the college from students and industry may be established.
· The college may appoint a faculty in physical education who can take care of the sports needs of the students.
· The college may indicate its mission and goals and translate them into strategic plans of action.
· The future expansion of building should be horizontal rather than vertical.
· Open access to library may be provided to students.
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