Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
The NSS Hindu College, located in Changanacherry, a semi-urban area in Kerala was established in 1947 as a Pre University College by Sri Mannathu Padmanabhan, a great visionary and founder of Nair Service Society(NSS). NSS is a corporate agency managing a large number of educational institutions. Over the years the college has grown in size and strength and offers at present as many as 27 programmes. There are under-graduate and post-graduate programmes in mathematics, physics, chemistry, zoology, Malayalam, Hindi, English, history, economics, politics and commerce. There are only undergraduate programmes in botany and philosophy. The college offers the UGC sponsored vocational course Food Science and Quality Control. The departments of Malayalam, Hindi and zoology offer the Ph.D. programme as well. This is one of the biggest colleges catering fot the needs of around 3000 students. Though the college was started to provide opportunities for higher education for children of Nair families, it serves the needs of all sections of society and ensures that education develops democratic and secular attitudes and imbibes a sense of patriotism and personal identification with the vast masses of the people. The motto of the college is “Lead me from darkness to light to serve the country and society, where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, O’ God let my country awake”.
The college has turned out many eminent statesmen, academicians, writers, industrialists, social activists and administrators who occupied prestigious positions and served the country. Nearly 600 under-graduates and 170 post-graduates are admitted every year. 216 members constitute the teaching faculty with an equitable distribution of men and women, which is a reflection of the development of women in the region. The proportion of non-teaching to teaching staff is 1:2. The college has been following the annual examination system and is yet to plan for switching over to the semester pattern. Students are mostly drawn from rural areas around Changanacherry. The NSS is highly supportive of the institution in terms of organisation, finances and management. The unity among the Management, faculty and students is appreciable. The atmosphere in the college is conducive to the growth and development of youth.
Criterion I: Curricular Aspects
The college has a wide range of programme options, with the facility for pursuing post-graduate courses in 11 out of 14 departments. Further, three departments offer Ph.D. programmes, with more than 45 research scholars enrolled in them. Besides these, there is a vocational course in Food Science and Quality Control sponsored by the UGC; since the UGC assistance has ceased for this course, the college is running this programme with its own funds.
There is evidence of initiative; inter-disciplinary innovative programmes have been introduced. The college has applied for UGC support for starting post-graduate programmes such as (a)Fish, Fishery and Environment (b)Wetland Management and (c) Eco Monitoring and Sustainable Development. Teachers have played an active role, as members of the core committee at the university for course restructuring and revising the syllabi. This sense of participation among the faculty in curriculum making is to be specially acknowledged, given the limitations of an affiliating system.
A systematic feedback from the students(as well as teachers) on various curricular dimensions has been collected and results presented. This laudable attempt should be pursued and follow up action be taken on the basis of the feedback.
The broad, philosophical mission of the college of “leading from darkness to light” as envisioned by the founder, is sought to be realised through a thrust on holistic development of student personality by various curricular and co-curricular activities.
The college may take further steps to enrich and strengthen courses by bringing in additional inputs and providing opportunities for doing extra courses in applied areas, such as computer training, management courses and information technology courses.
Given the constraint of getting government approval for new under-graduate/post-graduate programmes of studies, the college may explore the possibilities of starting many job oriented diploma/certificate courses in the emerging areas by utilising the infrastructure facilities outside college hours.
The syllabi are unitised and in most of the departments a detailed `action-plan` detailing the time-schedule of teaching of various units of syllabi have been made in the beginning of the academic session. This schedule is also made known to the students.
There is an academic calendar at the institutional level. The conscious attempt to fulfil the required number of teaching days is evident. The college has worked for about 200 days, notwithstanding the general trend of loss of working days in colleges on account of politically proactive student community in the state.
There is a unique and healthy practice of peer-teaching followed in all the departments. Before the commencement of regular classes, one hour is allotted for this. The post-graduate students(and the bright students in the under-graduate courses) take to teaching the under-graduate classes, which is found to be well received and successful. Teachers do remedial/extra coaching outside the class hours almost on a daily basis and on holidays. The Continuous Internal Assessment (CIA) is, made with adequate transparency and it is required by the university. The schedule of terminal and model examinations are centrally planned and they are conducted systematically. A report on student performance in these examinations and on their attendance in classes is sent regularly to parents. The department-wise parent-teacher meetings conducted periodically, provide an occasion for reviewing and following up individual student performance. The success of these efforts is reflected in the fairly good results in university examinations obtained by the college. There have been quite a good number of university ranks in many subjects.
There is a grievance redressal mechanism for students to represent and get their grievances redressed in respect of CIA tests. The college union and the staff council, take care of other general grievances.
The learner-centred methods of assignments, seminars, study tours, project work(for only post-graduate departments) have been introduced as part of the restructured programme. These components are found to be conducted effectively. The Tutorial System which has been in operation is found to be systematically organised and conducted. This provides good scope for close student-teacher interaction. From the teacher’s side, the teaching method may have to be made more innovative using audio-visual aids and teaching-learning aids of electronic media. It is gratifying to note that in one of the departments (physics), a Computer Aided Learning(CAL) package has been developed by a faculty member, who claims that there is a good demand for the same in the market.
Faculty are recruited in accordance with the rules prescribed by the university and the government. Majority of teachers are from Mahatma Gandhi University and the University of Kerala. As part of professional development, many teachers have attended refresher courses. There is only an informal faculty appraisal system. Some teachers have established linkages with national-level institutions.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
Three departments(Hindi, Malayalam and Zoology), which are recognised research centres, have produced more than 15 Ph.D.s and currently more than 45 research scholars are working for their Ph.D. There is a good and enabling provision of the university permitting scholars registered with research guides from other colleges also work in these recognised research centres. There are creditable publications in national and international journals especially in the departments of Hindi, Malayalam, zoology and physics. In fact, one of the former faculty members in Hindi was honoured with the prestigeous Sahitya Academy Award for his creative work. For a college in a semi-urban location, the research profile of the faculty is quite commendable.
Another impressive aspect of the research output is that some departments such as Hindi, zoology, physics and English publish research periodicals(the journal from the Hindi department is fairly long standing, while others have just been launched). In many departments, manuscript journals are being brought out as an annual feature, giving opportunity for bringing out the creative potential of students. The department of economics is actively involved in research on environmental issues of socio-economic significance.
Notwithstanding such impressive research activities in certain departments, it is observed that a considerable number of faculty members need to be encouraged to avail themselves of funding support from national agencies for minor/major research projects, conduct of seminars, conferences etc. The research committee which has been formed recently can do a good job in this regard.
Faculty members are deputed to do M.Phil./Ph.D. programmes under FDP. But there seems to be a sort of inertia among some teachers in availing themselves of the FIP. And some teachers(more than two thirds) are yet to qualify for M.Phil. or Ph.D.
As part of the extension activity faculty members offer orientation to school teachers of the region in new subjects. Student involvement in co-curricular and extension activities, and faculty guidance of these extension works are quite appreciable. In some of the extension programmes, there is an attempt to integrate with related disciplines. To illustrate a few, Fisheries Forum and Nature Club under the zoology department, Electronics Club under the physics department, the tourism Club under the economics department, the literary society (Pranjna Patham) and the folklore forum under the Malayalam Department are trying to make the extension work discipline based. Science exhibitions organised by the college have received wide public appreciation and stimulated interest among students.
Conscious effort may be made to involve students in an active research culture often realised in individual and group project/research work and in periodical presentations of argued positions on Sundry themes.
The college campus is spread over an area of six hectares. The main building has three floors in which office and science departments are located. Several annexures have been built to accommodate language and social science departments. Each department has adequate number of laboratories and there are 104 classrooms. There is a well-furnished auditorium and a seminar hall. The playgrounds are vast and well maintained to facilitate popular games. Special mention may be made of a modern basketball court, tennis courts and the indoor stadium. The canteen needs improvement. The new library building built partly with UGC assistance is small and inadequate to meet the needs of the college. The library building needs expansion. Photocopying facilities should be provided in the library. The computerisation of the main library has been just started and the process needs to be expedited with installation of additional terminals. Research departments have departmental libraries.
There are two women’s hostels in the campus. Men students expressed the need for hostel accommodation. It is observed that after delinking of pre-degree from the college, more classroom space will be available for starting new programmes. The campus is clean, green and well planned.
The computer centre has just been initiated with four systems. Although no formal grievance redressal mechanism has been developed for handling grievances other than those related to internal assessment, the grievances are found to be very few and are handled by the staff council. The NSS mission hospital located close to the college campus provides health facilities to students on nominal payment. On the whole there is an optimum use of available facilities in the campus.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
Admission of students to various courses is made subject to norms of reservation of seats for SC and ST students. The college publishes its updated prospectus every year. It is a fairly comprehensive, informative document conveying details about rules of admission, fee structure, subject combinations, code of student conduct, financial assistance schemes available to students etc.
There is a career club and a counseling centre functioning with the participation of faculty and students. There is no formal machinery to monitor the progression of students passing out from the college. The alumni of this college hold prominent positions in public life ranging from academics to politics and journalism to performing arts. Although the departments of zoology and history have formed departmental alumni associations, the college has just taken steps to form a college level alumni association.
There is rich potential for academic support and resource generation from many well placed alumni which the institution can tap and develop.
In the context of the fact that nearly two thirds of its students belong to low income families, the college, over the years, has evolved a comprehensive, broad based and supportive financial aid system for the benefit of needy students. Students benefit from free studentships, fee concessions, loans, etc. from as many as 41 schemes including 21 endowment schemes. The role of the PTA in providing financial assistance to needy students is noteworthy.
The institution encourages holistic development of student personality, physical, mental and spiritual, by means of its high quality curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular programmes. Towards this end, it maintains a large number of associations and clubs which carry out innovative programmes. Mention must be made of Pranjana Patham, a high profile literary-cultural forum, Fisheries Forum, Tourism Club, Career Club and Quiz Club. In keeping with the impressive wealth of Kerala’s folklore and folk arts the college regularly organises a wide variety of cultural festivals which attract majority of students. It undertakes annually a cultural outreach programme by way of art and culture camps in distant villages of Kerala which naturally win wide public acclaim, brightens up the image of the college as a centre of learning and culture and offers to students and faculty a rich teaching-learning experience.
Through NSS and NCC programmes, the college provides to students rich learning experience in the domain of leadership, self discipline, social work and extension activities. The enrolment is found to be good in both the programmes and the projects undertaken were socially relevant.
A commendable feature of the department of physical education of this college is the encouragement given by it to maximum number of students, not only to star performers, to participate in sports and games by organising inter-class, inter-division and inter-institutional tournaments.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
A seven-member central committee, with the President of the Nair Service Society as Chairman and its secretary as Manager, governs the college.
The central committee formulates the broad Management policy of the college and leaves the day-to-day administration to the Principal who acts in consultation with the college council. The council consists of all Heads of Departments and three teachers elected from among themselves. The Principal is its chairman.
For the successful functioning of the college, several committees such as the following have been constituted: Planning Board, Library Advisory Committee, Purchase Committee, Internal Assessment Committee, Tutorial Committee and Research Committee. It is better to avoid frequent transfers of academic staff to maintain continuity of research and development activities.
By and large, the administrative staff, students and faculty are friendly. The administrative staff need to be trained in computer applications for administration and accounting. There is an internal audit mechanism, besides other statutory audits.
The NSS is a well-endowed resourceful institution. The dynamic Parent-Teacher Association provides good financial support for the development of infrastructure to in order to ensure efficient functioning in the service of learners.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
Many healthy practices characterise the institutional functioning of this college. Some of them are listed below.
· The democratic and participatory style of functioning of the Principal involving the College Council in decision making at various stages.
· Proactive role of PTA in maintaining a good academic atmosphere besides resource support.
· Extension programmes being discipline related.
· The successful practice of peer teaching(post-graduate students to under-graduate and under-graduate to pre-degree) on a structured basis.
· Healthy conventions founded in Indian culture passed on from generation to generation.
While the Peer Team appreciates the accomplishments of the college, it has the following suggestions for planning for the future.
· At the under-graduate level the focus should be on introduction of vocational courses.
· Faculty members need to be
Ø provided with more opportunities to do Ph.D.
Ø encouraged to develop linkages with research institutions and industry
Ø guided to seek financial assistance for research
· Structured mechanism of self-appraisal and student evaluation of teachers to be introduced, along with course evaluation of and assessment of the performance of each department.
· The computer centre to be expanded to provide training for all students and encourage faculty in the use of computers in the teaching process.
· Most laboratories need to be equipped with modern instruments for post-graduate teaching and research.
· Library facilities require to be strengthened in terms of building, computer and internet facilities for post-graduate students.
· In keeping with modern technology and for securing greater efficiency the functions of the office should be entirely computerised.
· Interdisciplinary post-graduate programmes and research need to be encouraged.
· Budget provision needs to be enhanced considerably for all departments for effective practical training.
· Special incentives such as awards should be introduced by NSS for best teachers of the college.
The college has completed fifty years of service in the cause of higher education of students drawn from rural Kerala and also of the under-privileged sections of society. It has maintained good traditions and academic standards. The NSS has assisted the college in building capital assets and in the management of the college. In view of the changing trends in society and vast expansion of knowledge, the courses offered at the college need to be redesigned and modified by phasing out outdated courses. The college has the potential to be an autonomous institution with adequate support from all concerned.