Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Sri Meenakshi Government College
for Women (Autonomous)
Maduari – 625 002, Tamil Nadu
Sri Meenakshi Government College for Women (Autonomous) was established in the year 1965 by two visionaries, Thiru. T.N. Seshan and Thiru. P.T. Rajan. The college is affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University and has been conferred autonomous status in Oct.1998. The institution has rendered commendable service to the cause of women’s education and their empowerment. The college has tried to sustain achievement of its goal “strike, seek and do not yield”. In the most advance circumstances where women had, and continue to have, most unfavorable circumstances, the education imparted by the college has helped many women from ordinary circumstances gain power, to be on their own in various walks of life. Autonomy has given further impetus to such a mission.
The college has on its rolls 2310 students, 146 teaching faculty and 45 supporting staff. It offers programmes in different disciplines at both the under graduate and the post graduate levels. The college has 13 undergraduate courses under the faculties of commerce, arts and science. It offers the following programmes: B.Com, B.Sc., B.A., B.B.E., B.Sc.-Home Science and B.Sc.-Computer Science at the UG level, and M.A. History, M.A. Economics, M.A. English, M.Sc. Geography, M.Sc. Mathematics and popular course in Master of Computer Applications (M.C.A.) at the PG level.
Although student enrolment is large, maintains very high standards. This is evident from the scholastic performance of the students at university examinations.
The college volunteered to be assessed by NAAC. In response to this request, the NAAC constituted the Peer Team consisting of Prof. Neerada Reddy, Vice-Chairperson, A.P.State Council of Higher Education as Chairperson and Prof.G.H.Sawkar, Director, College Development Council, Bangalore University, Prof. Rajan Varughese, Principal, Union Christian College, Alwaye, Kerala as members. After a careful perusal and analysis of the self study report submitted by the institution, the Team visited the college on the 13th, 14th and 15th of December,1999 and reviewed the infrastructure, the functioning of various departments, and several extra curricular and extension activities. The Peer Team also interacted with the Managing Committee, the Principal, teaching faculty, students, parents and alumnae in separate meetings to elicit their views about the academic and administrative functioning of the institution. The academic, co-curricular, extra curricular, sports and extension facilities of the institution were reviewed. Based on the above exercise, and keeping in mind the criteria identified by NAAC, the Peer Team has made an assessment of the institution. The commendable features of the institution as well as issues of concern are reported in the following pages.
The college is affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University. It followed the curriculum prescribed by the university till 1998. The subjects offered were mostly conventional i.e. 13 U.G. courses under the faculties of science and commerce and 6 Post Graduate courses. A number of new courses were added in June 1994 like Environmental Biology, Communicative English 1997 (Vocational) at the U.G. level and M.C.A. at post graduate level in 1998. B.A. Communicative English is a Vocational course with internship in mass media in AIR, the Hindu (Daily News Paper) and the City television network. Students have to undergo 90 days of internship spread over all the semesters. The course trains students in radio-relay and telecast journalism. They are taken to field trips to Gandhi Gram University, the Hindu (Daily news paper) office and Doordarshan at Chennai. B.Com with computer applications is also a preferred U.G programme. The college offers fishery biology and apiculture (optional subjects to B.Sc. final year students in the dept. of zoology and clinical biology as an optional ancillary programme in B.Sc. zoology. It introduced microbiology in the zoology department in all three years of the B.Sc. course. The faculty are planning to start a course in the propagation of ornamental fish culture as a vocational subject, in addition to the existing course in sericulture.
The college offers instruction in English and Tamil media according to student choice. Now that the college enjoys autonomous status, it hopes to introduce more restructured career oriented and socially relevant courses. The Peer Team in its department wise interaction with teachers, could note the eagerness of the institution for introducing innovative modern curricular options. As noted already Sri Meenakshi Govt. College for Women is a multidisciplinary institution, offering programs in 3 faculties, Science, Commerce, Social Sciences in addition to Computer Science, and Home Science at the U.G. level. The postgraduate courses are M.A. History, M.A. Economics, M.A. English, M.Sc. Geography, M. Sc Mathematics, Master of Computer Applications (M.C.A.). The College offers a remedial course to I year students since 1995, and enrichment courses in Gandhian Thought.
The department of history offers journalism, tourism, archives maintenance, human rights & women studies as new papers in the Syllabus. Assignments carrying 5 marks on topics like monuments, archaeology, inscription and coin collection etc. are some of the themes, which I year B.A. students of History have done. The themes that are selected for M.Phil. thesis by the faculty are socially more relevant, and include women’s issues like social impact of divorce, history of telecommunication in Madurai, religious unity between Shaivaits & Vaishnavaits and the historical background of Ahobila Mutt. The commerce department has introduced computer applications at the U.G. level while a number restructured course papers like entrepreneurial development, marketing, demand forecasting. consumer economics for the syllabus of Bachelor of Business Economics at the under graduate level. Mathematics and statistics are introduced as ancillary subjects.
Statistics II, a paper on probability and statistics and Coding Theory as a separate paper in M.Sc., Maths, is an addition in the right direction. In future the mathematics department is planning to supplement mathematics with computer courses.
The environmental biology Syllabus was modified with a view to introduce prevention of pollution and also developed a model field. Recycling of sewage wastage through biological, chemical and physical methods form an important aspect of environmental biology at the U.G. level. A proposal for the postgraduate degree in M.Sc. environmental biology is submitted to Government for approval.
A very impressive march past of 600 students of I year was held including a display of Karate and Yogasana. The physical education department is planning to introduce a course in physical education as a co-curricular subject at the U.G. level with focus on Yoga and Meditation and has submitted a proposal to the government. The department of geography is the first P.G. Department in this college, and it has necessary teaching equipment, teaching aids and a self-contained library. Remote sensing / (GIS) geographical information system theory for U.G. and theory & practicals, for P.G. are noteworthy features. The department is planning to buy satellite imageries for U.G. and P.G. and increase the number of sample images in the department. The M.C.A. Course was introduced by the college in 1998 after getting the AICTE’s approval. The students are admitted on the basis of merit by an entrance and qualifying examination. Students are trained in developing packages in Oracle, VB, VC++, JAVA and MULTIMEDIA.
In addition to this changing scenario in the curriculum options of the college, we are happy to note that the college has rich infrastructure in terms of accommodation and natural ambience, congenial for imparting instructions.
The college fulfils all the statutory obligations of the UGC in establishing the Governing Body, Academic Council, Senate and Board of studies to ensure proper administration of academic activities. Teachers sit on the academic bodies of other universities as well. The programmes are generally in conformity with the mission, goals and objectives of the institution. Many co-curricular and extra-curricular activities such as NSS, NCC, general awareness programmes under extension activities reflect their vision. While the college shows much enthusiasm for the new, a better organised system of curricular planning and reform with precision in planning and participation in execution across disciplines may help in a better exploitation of autonomy.
Criterion II: Teaching–learning and Evaluation
The evidence from the self study report and extensive interactions of the Peer Team with all sections of the college community indicate that teachers are involved in serious and sincere teaching-learning processes. Students are admitted to M.C.A. and B.A. Communicative English course after an entrance test. End semester examinations and monthly tests are the modes of assessing student’s knowledge and skills. Bridge and remedial courses are offered by some departments.
The main teaching mode adopted is the lecture method. Some departments use audio and video aids which may be adopted by other departments. Teaching of the English language with the help of the language laboratory of the college is useful to the students. Deskwork, take-home assignments, group discussions and field work are some of the teaching techniques used by the faculty. Teaching is supplemented by seminars and workshops.
The college has well equipped laboratories for major and ancillary science subjects. Projects are undertaken by students as supervised academic activity. A number of co-curricular programmes through NSS and NCC are undertaken by students with the help of teachers who are incharge of extension activities.
The physical education department offers Karate and Yoga along with mass drill for the physical fitness of the undergraduates.
Internal assessment is weighted for 25% of the marks allotted to each individual paper for all semesters. This has proved to contribute to the process of teaching-learning and evaluation. 75 % marks are allotted for external assessment. Minimum marks for internal assessment for all examinations is insisted upon for a student to pass in the examination. Double valuation is adopted in post-graduate examinations and a third valuation is a necessary step for cases with more than 10% variation in marks awarded by the two examiners. Any grievance with regard to valuation at the undergraduate examination is taken care of by moderation of results. The introduction of the credit system through modularisation of the syllabus is planned by some departments as an innovative method of evaluation.
Faculty recruitment is through the Teacher Recruitment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu. All teaching positions are filled without delay as and when vacancies arise. Faculty development programmes including refresher courses, seminars and conferences are extensively attended by teachers. These have proved to be beneficial in updating their knowledge. A good number of teachers have availed themselves of the opportunities of the TFS under FIP of the UGC. Appraisal of teachers is mandatory and is regularly done.
A formal mechanism to obtain feedback on teaching methods, teacher’s response to students’ needs, the tutorial system, evaluation, and review of syllabus, etc. has been introduced in some departments only by distributing pro forma to students and in some cases informal feedback is given by the students.
The examination branch of the college is all set to take up the responsibility under the autonomous status. The Board of Studies, the Academic Council, the Boards of Examiners and other statutory bodies have been formed and they meet regularly. Some of the activities like tabulation of marks and analysis of the results are computerised.
Pedagogy is conventional learner-centred class-room activities are not reported. Perhaps they do not exist. The assessment of both student and teacher performance has yet to become more organised.
Criterion III : Research, Consultancy and Extension
The autonomous status of the college in October,1998 is an encouraging step for the promotion of research, consultancy, and extension activities. The college has 19 Ph.D’s and 121 M.Phil’s.
Some of the teaching staff of the departments of English, history and economics have been continuously involved in guiding research and some teachers are involved in publication of books, research papers and articles. Many teachers have participated in conferences and seminars.
Some important topics of M.Phil research in the Department of history, namely nature cure and yoga centres, history of blood donation movement, status of women, secular architecture, religious harmony among Shaivites and Vaishnavites are socially relevant themes.
Under the auspices of the department of economics, the following themes of research – demographic perspective of women in India, dry land agro system were undertaken and successfully completed and a minor research project – ‘Role of women in Family Planning’ in Madurai District is supported by the UGC.
In the Department of environmental biology, research on host – parasite relationship, Action of UV-A Radiation are in progress.
Teachers in the Department of mathematics have chosen exponential sums and their applications ( project approved by the State Government) and semi group theory for conducting research.
American fiction is an area of research in which teachers of the English Department are engaged.
Some Science Faculty members serve on the academic bodies of Mother Teresa, Bharathiar, Bharathidasan, Manonmaniam Sundaranar and Alagappa universities.
Teachers of the Tamil department have brought out two books besides presenting twenty papers in seminars. The faculty members of the English department have been engaged in paper publication, research guidance and working for Ph.D., and M.Phil. The Department of Economics has published five papers in research journals and has other publications to its credit. Teachers of the Chemistry department brought out five text books in chemistry in Tamil for the first year under graduate students. Faculty members of the physics department have published text books for semesters I, II and III of B.Sc.
NSS and NCC activities are vibrant extension programmes. The staff and students participated in the awareness programmes at Usilampatti village for the eradication of the evil practice of infanticide of female children. At Melavalavu village, the staff and students held a camp to create awareness for communal harmony and better understanding between two warring factions of the village community.
AIDS awareness programme and Blood donation camps are some of the important extension programmes. The physics department initiated training programmes at the college for teachers and students in the nearby higher secondary schools for learning physics through demonstrations. Hindi and English departments proposed to design diploma courses in spoken Hindi and Indo-American studies as extension and outreach programmes.
Some teachers from the department of physics have published text books for I, II, and III semesters.
Research publications do not seem to be significant. An organised extension programme with a networking of the neighbourhood may help build a community-academic inter phase especially in departments with expertise and specialisation. Consultancy seems to be a weak area although there is much scope for it under autonomy.
Sri Meenakshi Government College for Women, Madurai (Autonomous) is housed in the Panagal campus covering an area of 6.5 acres with an annexe in the Sivaganga Gardens, 11.25 acres on the northern bank of river Vaigai.
The main building constructed in 1932 by the Europeans in the Indo-European style of architecture, is very imposing and houses the Principal’s office, administrative offices on the ground floor and two majestic conference halls, along with the language laboratory on the first floor.
The main campus has 31 blocks and in the annexe there are 7 more blocks which are occupied by 13 undergraduate departments and 6 postgraduate departments. Very spacious laboratories, a central library and departmental libraries and class rooms, form part of this huge campus.
The other facilities include one big girls’ hostel accommodating 300 students, with modernised kitchen and a big dining hall, a sports department with 6 sprawling courts for ball badminton, volley ball, basket ball, shuttle badminton. The campus includes 5 big science blocks, a new building for M.C.A. and a huge block in which the departments of English, Tamil and Home Science are situated. The corporation block in the annexe houses the departments of economics, history and physical education. All the required class rooms are housed in the main building and other blocks.
A small canteen catering for staff and students, co-operative stores supplying stationery items, and a branch of the Indian Overseas Bank are other supporting facilities in the campus. The whole campus as well as the buildings are well maintained, and the Peer Team felt that the campus with natural ambience is fully utilised, while two new structures (buildings) are coming up very fast to meet the space requirement. Though the college is well equipped with furniture, the need for additional furniture is felt in view of the starting of new courses. All the teachers are provided with furnished staff rooms and other amenities.
The new building has an air conditioned reading room with 36,297 books in stacks in addition to a few departmental libraries. However the college has to purchase more books of recent editions and add a good number of journals.
The College has 34 computers of which 29 are in the Computer laboratory for B.Sc., Computer Science and M.C.A. course.
Every Science department has major and ancillary laboratories fully equipped. Three departments have over-head projectors, 2 science departments have slide projectors and the geography department has photo copying facilities.
Under health service a well equipped medical inspection room is maintained with a visiting physician.
The college play ground is specious to hold march past and sports. The total plinth area is 31,937 Sq.M. Sri Meenakshi College is situated in the prime location of the city.
A master plan may help to ascertain how well the institution is planning to cope with expansions considered never the new status.
The achievement of the students of both U.G. and P.G. for the years 1994–97, 1995 – 98 as presented in the self study report and validated by verification of relevant records, is commendable. Out of 732 students 540 students passed, with 315 first classes and 49 students received University ranks, with 82.8% success rate. Out of 115 post graduate students, 77 got first class with 9 university ranks and the success rate is 83.7 %. The college fared equally well in the years 1995 – 98 and 1996 – 98 and out of 626 students 283 passed in first class with 54 university ranks at the U.G. level and the success rate is 87.5%. In P.G. courses 94 students appeared, 77 passed with 66 first classes and 6 university ranks and the success rate is 81.9 %. The drop out rate of students for both U.G. and P.G. is less then 10%. More then 80 % of the students receive financial assistance. Students of Sri Meenakshi Government College for Women receive financial support from four sources i.e., Community Scholarship by the State Government, endowment scholarships, community social services (Poor) Students Aid Fund by the staff of the college. In all about 1861 students get financial assistance to the tune of Rs.9.5 lakhs per year. It is found that 25 % of the students go for higher studies from the U.G. to the P.G. and further up, where as 30% of the successful students find employment in different walks of life like, teaching, banking and government services.
The alumnae have an association which offers scholarships to financially weaker students. Though formal counselling is not offered, informal personal academic counselling is given by faculty members.
While academic progression deserves commendation the college might augment counselling support for social mobility. It might also want to strengthen programmes of empowerment by organising awareness and action programmes.
Sri Meenakshi Government College for Women (Autonomous) is a Government College. Director of Collegiate Education is the over all head of the collegiate education.
The Principal is the administrative head of the college to whom all academic and administrative matters are referred. The Bursar’s office looks after financial aspects and accounting. The College Council (executive body) comprises all the Heads of Departments and it is the decision making body for all academic matters. The Governing body decides all policy matters related to the college hostel and educational practices. Being a government college, recruitment, training and performance appraisal are made according to state regulations.
Since the college has been given an autonomous status during the year 1998-99, the Boards of Studies, the Academic Council and the Board of Examiners are constituted, in different subjects. All the departments have conducted meetings of Boards of Studies to make necessary changes in their syllabi. The college has a Controller of Examinations.
Teaching and non teaching staff members have been provided banking facilities within the campus. The staff enjoy the facilities of loans for construction of houses, purchase of motor vehicles and other consumer durables from the bank. They also have such facilities from the government. The medical reimbursement facility, Provident Fund and pension are available for teaching and non teaching staff.
The Teacher Recruitment Board of the Tamil Nadu State Government makes the selection of teaching staff as per government rules.
Since it is a government college, all the college expenditure is met by the government. Every year the college plans its budget and submits it to the Government. For the current year 1999 – 2000, the Government has sanctioned Rs.2,69,68,000 under Non Plan Grant and Rs.69,00,000 as Plan Grant. The audit is carried out by the State Audit Department and the Accountant General’s Office.
On the whole the principal and the college council administer the college within limits of the policy laid down by the state. Nevertheless academic autonomy enables the college through participatory procedures to make changes in the syllabi, if not to change existing courses of study leading to degree programmes determined by the universities. There is much room for the college to exploit autonomy to the full and introduce supplementary and enrichment of courses, to make pedagogy and assessment learner-centered and formative and to reform the whole academic set-up. The management may play a creative role in generating funds.
Sri Meenakshi Govt. College for Women caters for higher education needs of the lower middle class and the economically backward sections of the society. Parents regard the institution as a centre of excellence based on the encouraging academic results obtained and discipline maintained by the college. The parents and alumnae of the college keep the institution in high esteem because of the relatively lower and affordable cost of higher education in Sri Meenakshi Government College which does not collect any donation. The interpersonal and teacher-student relations are commendable as was expressed by the students who interacted with the Peer Team. The expression of self confidence found in the students of Sri Meenakshi Government College is very heartening.
The following are the important healthy practices found by the Peer Team in consonance with the goals and objectives set for the college. i.e. Strive hard -Seek knowledge and do not yield to temptations.
· Introduction of need based courses - M.C.A., B.Sc., Home Science (Food and Nutrition), B.A. Communicative English, B.Sc., Computer Science – Clinical Biology, Day to Day Chemistry (Cosmetics), Prevention of Pollution, Photography, Ornamental Fish Culture, Corrosion of metals.
· Teaching First Aid, Yoga and Karate in Physical Education classes.
· Offering computer education to non computer students after college hours.
· Coaching classes for meritorious students for competitive examinations – Civil Service, BSRB, etc.,
· Coaching classes for backward class students to appear for Civil Service Examinations (1985-1991).
· Orientation for inducted school teachers.
· Clubs and societies for social service.
· Adult Education Programmes
· ENLIT (Enlightened Circle) – a forum of teachers to discuss and exchange views on different humanitarian aspects related to different disciplines of knowledge.
· Certificate course on Gandhian Thought.
· Training for Laboratory Technicians (non teaching staff of the college)
· Awareness programmes against social evils – female infanticide, drug abuse, arrack distillation and communal disharmony initiated by the National Service Scheme (NSS) at Usilampatti Village.
· `Home Stay’ by students in different homes of the village during NSS camps.
· Financial assistance to identified projects by Non Governmental Agencies like Lions Club and societies.
· Organization of Balawadi’s by NSS in a nearby village.
· Construction of a post literacy centre at Melavalavu village.
· Best teacher award.
· Best institutional award for NSS.
· University and State award for best program officers for several years.
· Indira Gandhi Mahima Award, New Delhi, 1996-1997.
· Shield for Blood Donation.
· Award for outstanding community service.
· Award for averting communal clashes in the Melavalavu village.
· Tutorial System for students
The above healthy practices are the innovative and healthy practices of Sri Meenakshi Govt. College for Women which sets the academic and human ambience in its true spirit.
Most of the faculty are highly qualified with a large number of teachers possessing research degrees, Ph.Ds 19, M.Phil 121 and three numbers of the faculty have received national recognition which is noteworthy, yet many of them are not exposed to seminars and conferences on recent developments in respective fields. However the college has to its credit many accomplishments which are evident and the Peer Team has brought out these highlights separately in the criterion-wise analysis.
The scholastic achievements of students stand out as a testimony to the concerted endeavour put in at three levels, by the teachers, the Principal and the Management i.e. Government of Tamil Nadu. The enthusiasm and dedication exhibited at the above levels are gratifying. Good team spirit is the outcome of effective leadership. Discipline is the prominent feature of this college conducive to high academic achievement exhibited by students.
Promotion of research with special reference to departments of Tamil, economics, English, environmental biology, geography, mathematics stand out among disciplines.
A very healthy teacher – student relationship has created a conductive academic atmosphere for furtherance of academic pursuits.
Several ranks secured at the university level by students speak highly of the academic profile and dedication of the Principals and teachers the major inputs into the system.
NCC, and NSS and supporting extension centres and their activities involving students provide a strong complementary structure to the students. The number of appreciations and awards backed by students speak about their dedication and teaching-learning activity.
The pursuit of excellence should be a continuous, ongoing process specially in the field of Collegiate education. The Peer Team makes the following observations and wishes that the college may consider them in its endeavour to maintain and improve quality and standards.
· Performance appraisal of the faculty could be formalised with the appropriate mechanism.
· Efforts may be made to compile the data about the alumnae with special reference to their occupation, academic achievement and employment.
· More vigorous exposure of the faculty to seminars and symposia would result in publication of more research papers. Attention may be paid to this lacunae in the college.
· Proper placement services and important parameters to measure the success of the institution. Therefore a career guidance cell may be established.
The members of the Peer Team are of the opinion that specific strategies for enhancing the quality of education to achieve excellence, is a contineous effort of the Management, the Principal, teachers and the non teaching staff for a perspective development and realisation of the goals of Sri Meenakshi Government College for women's education.