Assessment Report of
Mar Ivnios College, Thiruvananthapuram
A minority institution established in 1949 by the Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, as one of the Malankara Syrian Catholic Colleges, the Mar Ivanios College is located in a picturesque setting on a small hilltop with a sprawling campus area of 50 acres in Bethany Hills, Nalanchira, Thiruvananthapuram.
Based on Christian values of universal love and brotherhood, it caters to all, regardless of caste, community, creed or sex. The hand book announces that the college stands for ‘academic excellence, development of skills and character formation.... to produce intellectually trained, morally upright, socially committed and spiritually inspired men and women of India’.
This is the Golden Jubilee year and the college is using this as a golden opportunity to push through its plans for infrastructural expansion with some forays into modernization.
Education is available on the campus from Pre-Degree to Doctoral studies. It offers Degree courses in 8 Disciplines and Post Graduation in 6 subjects. The number of students in the college is 2800, which will shrink once the policy of Government to delink Pre-Degree from the tertiary sector is finally implemented.
Section II : Criterion-wise Analysis
Criterion I : Curricular Aspects
The college offers 8 UG and 6 PG courses of study. The Departments of Zoology, Physics and Chemistry are recognised Research Centres. One Vocational Course which is very popular is offered as a B.Com (Tourism and Travel Management) course with UGC assistance. It offers place and facility for an IGNOU centre and has just started a computer centre for students and staff to train themselves in computer applications, during their free time. Thus it provides a variety of curricular options As the college functions under the affiliating system, most of the courses of study are conventional. Perhaps, if it becomes an autonomous college as recommended by the Malcolm Adiseshiah Committee (on the Kerala University for l974 -’84) it would be free from many of the constraints and would be able to provide new courses which are interdisciplinary, need-based and responsive to the changes around. In the changing scenario, the institution will be able to train students to be socially useful only if it establishes linkages with industries and institutions, atleast around it, if not in other states and countries, with greater concentration on bringing education to those who have never been exposed to it.
Criterion II : Teaching-Learning & Evaluation
The college is able to recruit faculty members without fear or favour or money and with an eye on merit. This was reflected at various discussions at different levels of management and teaching faculty. Retired teachers and alumni particularly, kept reiterating how satisfying their experience in the college was. The unitisation of the syllabi and the adoption of the teaching programme/plan has made the teaching learning process highly useful. Admission of50% of students is also based strictly on merit and it accounts for a good number of responsible and responsive students on the campus. The academic performance of the students has been uniformly good with many ranks in the university examinations. Many of the alumni, have reached positions of eminence in politics, civil service and other sectors.
The college will do well to adopt newer teaching methodologies and technologies in teaching. Teachers would find it useful to have a personal plan for each year on how they wish to develop themselves, as well as teach and develop the students. This plan should mesh well with an annual departmental plan to be drawn up through dialogue and discussion in the department. Annual review of performance of both the teacher and the department would be facilitated by such a process. Although the faculty members have effectively benefited by the faculty development programmes of UGC they have not taken advantage of many part-time programmes, minor research programmes and the like. Considering the educational standard of the students admitted, not many bridge and remedial courses are needed, but they would certainly stand to gain by enrichment courses which the college may consider offering, even on a self financing basis.
Criterion III : Research, Consultancy and Extension
There is enough encouragement and freedom for the promotion of research and for publication. There are a good number of publication of books, text books and articles in standard journals. Four patents stand registered by a faculty member in the Physics department. It is hoped that the other departments would become active and alert and obtain recognition for outstanding work. It will be in the general interest of the college and its obligation to society if the research culture noticed in a few departments, becomes widespread, and other departments also adopt it. Some problems arise because the courses are outdated and this has to be tackled through innovative approaches to overcome the several restrictions outside one’s control. There seems to be scope for better utilisation of the students potential in regard to extension and outreach programmes. The college might also like to consider encouraging outstanding departments and teachers to take up consultancies(for which rules will have to be framed), as this will enrich the minds of the faculty members and lead them to becoming better teachers after exposure to the outside world.
Criterion IV : Infrastructure and Learning Resources
The infrastructure facilities available in the college are reasonably good. Instances in point are many transport buses for day scholars from the city, the library, hostels, employees’ co-operative society and sports facilities. Internet, the most modern component of information technology is available to staff and students of the campus at moderate rates. The library timings are found to be inadequate. Extending the hours will be to the greater advantage of students. If computerisation can be started for books and journals and access made available to the documentation from elsewhere, it would be a great help for staff and students especially in areas of research. This could be explored and a phased plan of action prepared for execution.
There is a computer centre in the college. Considering the growing expansion of information technology, the centre may require further enhancement and expansion. The exposure to computer technology is found to be extremely limited. Encouragement through an incentive scheme for people to train themselves on their own, may be thought of .
Although the staff and students did not have major complaints about adequacy of infrastructural facilities and their maintenance, we would not be wrong in surmising that there are not enough toilets for all. Special attention may be necessary for girls in the matter of better and more rest rooms and toilets in the very nature of the special needs of women.
It may also be mentioned that physical education resources (including highly qualified teachers) are not put to optimum use, especially by the girls, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a course in physical exercise i.e. aerobics or yoga or similar things may be provided for 15 minutes during college hours for anyone to attend voluntarily (in the first instance), for 4 days in a week. With the emerging ‘Keep-fit’ culture in and around society, guardians are bound to welcome this opportunity for their wards.
Criterion V : Student Support and Progression
The college offers a host of co and extra curricular activities in which student participation is excellent This is the arena which promotes caring and sharing as well as camarade-ship and joy which in turn helps students to understand and adopt human values. The Alumni Association of the college is very active and has made significant contribution to the development of the college in terms of mentoring, acting as senior advisors and in material ways. Eminent persons in Thiruvananthapuram. in political and business circles are part of the galaxy of alumni of the college. The Guardian-Teacher Association of this college is doing yeomen service by way of helping out in emergencies and in areas needing humane considerations. Awards and assistance to the needy, the meritorious students instituted by them to promote academic excellence, are noteworthy.
Participation in clubs, associations, unions, NCC, NSS and like bodies which promote personality, excellence and daily-life skills, make for education without walls, and that is perhaps the real education that is needed to face the world as compared to education within the four walls of a class room.
The importance of encouraging students in these activities must, therefore, continue and be promoted as much as possible.
However, it is a matter of deep concern that the students tend to neglect physical education. It is the right time to strengthen their bodies, mind and sprit. The college management should provide a congenial atmosphere and encourage the students to develop their physique.
Similarly in an environment terrorised by the phenomenon of ‘Aids’, awareness and education in the sphere of ‘sex’ and ‘sexuality’ must also be considered as one of the responsibilities of the head and management of a co-educational institution. Thinking in this aspect may be activated and leadership given by Mar Ivanios College to similar institutions in the area.
One other provision is also to be considered by way of service to students: a counselling and placement centre. This could also be the mechanism for obtaining student views and feed back.
Criterion VI : Organisation and Management
There is excellent co-ordination among management, faculty, staff, and students with reference to their functions and powers. Besides the Govt. grants, the management is able to mobilise necessary resources from different sources. There is an efficient internal co-ordinating and monitoring mechanism in this regard. The atmosphere is a cordial one where there are no inhibitions to representing grievances to the highest authority. Perhaps it is just as well that there is no formal grievance redressal mechanism (sometimes because of its existence, non issues are made into issues).
Periodic professional development programmes for the nonteaching staff and training in computer technology will help them to improve their work efficiency and effectiveness. In service programmes on office systems and procedures could be tried.
It is the supportive and enlightened leadership of the management that has contributed much to the making of the institution as it is today. This is aided by having an experienced and well-oriented Principal for providing on the spot benevolent leadership. Added to this are devoted teachers and disciplined students. One gets the impression that there is, in the very air, a consensus on goals and objectives. This is one sphere which could be used as a benchmark for judging the running of other similar institutions.
Criterion VII : Other Healthy Practices
Complementing the formal education system the institution has started a part-time programme offering a certificate course in computer applications. It also serves as a centre for distance education programmes of IGNOU.
The college has been functioning efficiently without any kind of interference from oustside.
Section III: Overall Analysis
In a nutshell, the Peer Team of NAAC, has no hesitation to state that this is one of the best run institutions not only in Kerala, but in the country. It is eminently suited to being conferred ‘Autonomous Institution’ status. One day we hope it can become a ‘Deemed-to-be-University’. Such is its reputation that a student of ‘Mar Ivanios’ is considered to be very lucky, as there are plenty of opportunities for personality development and all round growth. A spirit of partnership pervades, amongst the management, the staff-both teaching and nonteaching, and the students-nay, even the alumni, parents/guardians and retired teachers. Naturally, many students excel and obtain university ranks and awards in cultural festivals. Transparency in recruitment/ selection and in admissions where there is no fear or favour done, nor considerations of money, and/or community shown, has helped the high esteem in which the college is held. The management and staff could well be proud of the value orientation that has been built into the philosophy and approach of the college. The Peer Team has no hesitation in listing Mar Ivanios College as a benchmark institution for its organisational set up, its constituencies working as a family and its efforts to promote ‘character’ in students through emphasis on values and discipline at every turn.
The Peer team considers that there are many good features in the institution which need mention, such as;
1. Promotion of the spirit of co-operation and co-ordination between the management and the various departments of the college has resulted in an atmosphere of harmony and stability devoid of any kind of unrest in the campus.
2. Four patents by a faculty member from Physics department is indicative of the budding consultancy spirit on the campus.
3. The contribution of the guardian teacher associations through good will and financial support are noteworthy and has been a source of strength to the institution.
4. A responsive and enlightened management led by a strong but sympathetic leadership has ensured cohesive and effective management.
5. Periodic assessment of students through internal assessment and the provision to return the answer paper with feedback.
6. The emphasis on integration of research and teaching has promoted research spirit among the teachers.
7. The efforts taken through the extension activities has provided a stimulating learning environment.
The Peer team while appreciating the efforts of the college feel that there are clear pointers for improvement:
1. Starting self-financing need-based courses in the sphere of Information Technology and Life Science.
2. Introduction of newer teaching methodologies and technology together with a personal plan for teachers which will provide the necessary framework for annual and departmental plan.
3. The Peer team observed that participation in extra curricular activities is of a fairly good order but would however suggest that rescheduling the time table with adequate emphasis on utilisation of sports facilities by girl students will strengthen their participation.
4. The members of the team are convinced of the good work done by the college in promoting student development. As the expectation of stake holders, society and employers relate more to cognitive and general skills, a formal mechanism such as a counselling and placement centre may bridge the gap. The establishment of a counselling and placement centre will promote student development and interaction with outside agencies.
5. The Peer team while appreciating the informal methods of teaching appraisal feel that the introduction of a formal performance appraisal of teachers will instil a positive spirit of competition and accountability.
6. Modernisation of office administration, library and labs may be pursued to the advantage of the institution and the student community.
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