Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Periyar E.V.R. College
Tiruchirappali, Tamil Nadu
Section 1: introduction
Periyar E.V.R. College, Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu was established in the year 1965. The college is affiliated to Bhratidasan University and has obtained recognition of the UGC under 2f and 12B category in August 1965. The college is situated in an area of 52.65acres in the city of Tiruchirappalli. It was started with the PUC and has now grown into an important centre of higher education offering a number of courses at the UG and the PG levels in three major faculties ie., Arts, Science and Commerce. One of the major achievements of the college lies in the fact that some departments of the college are recognised as centres of research for guiding Ph.D. and M.Phil. scholars. The college sought assessment by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and submitted its Self-Study Report. In response to the request NAAC constituted the peer team consisting with Prof. Malla Reddy, former Vice-chancellor, Osmania University (Chairman); Prof. H. Surya Prakash Rao, Pondicherry University and Prof. Mruthyunjaya P. Kulenur, University of Mysore to visit the college and evaluate its performance for validating the Self-Study Report.
Accordingly, the Peer Team visited the college during 27-29 September 1999 and evaluated the existing infrastructure. As stated in the Self-Study Report, the college is situated in a vast area of 52.65 acres in which the government has generously provided massive complexes consisting of lecture halls, laboratories, a hostel and an administrative building. The college, though located in the densely populated area of Tiruchirappalli, is however protected from crowded urban atmosphere and environmental pollution. In future, the available vast area can be developed for landscaping and gardening, making the campus a better ambience.
Over the years the institution has added several programmes in three major faculties such as Arts, Science and Commerce. In addition to these faculties the college has introduced a few innovative programs in the form of diploma courses keeping in view the job opportunities for the young learners At present there are more than 2,3OO students pursuing a wide range of options available in the institutions. There are well qualified and competent teachers in the faculty. Except three, all of them possess research degrees, (33 Ph.D. degree holders and 112 M.Phil degree holders). While the focus of the majority of the teachers is on teaching, a sizable number of teachers are engaged in research in addition to teaching. The Principal and the faculty together form an efficient team and they try to respond to the ever changing needs of the institution and its socio-economic order.
The Peer Team has noted with a sense of gratification that the college caters for the needs of socially and economically backward sections of the society in conformity with the objectives of the founder philosopher and social reformer Periar E.V. Ramaswami. At present the performance of the students in the end-semester examination is rather disappointing. However, the college, after attaining autonomous status, has striven to elevate the standards through innovative techniques and remedial measures in teaching and evaluation. The semester system with continuous evaluation, according to teachers, is going to be the major paradigm shift and the faculty would be able to transform the institution in to a centre of excellence in the near future. Their vision is ambitious and optimistic.
The college is equipped with impressive support services like the central library with more than 48,000 volumes, computer centre, sports facilities, residential facilities, and a canteen. Despite these facilities the level of competitive spirit and need motivation among students is not perceptible particularly with reference to their participation, as well as performance, in national and state level examinations. Nevertheless with all its strengths and weaknesses the college enjoys considerable prestige in view of its social mission to serve the backward and culturally deprived communities.
Section 2: Criterion-wise Analysis
Criterion I: Curriculum Design and Review
Reflecting the vision of the founder of the college, the aims and objectives are towards upliftment of the educationally and economically backward communities of the region. One of the appreciative objectives of the college is to create social awareness among students. The Peer Team found the Principal and faculty members striving hard, with determination, to meet the goals and objectives set for the institution. In this direction faculty is contemplating the introduction of a compulsory course to all undergraduate students, which has, as components nation building. human rights, leadership qualities and secular values.
The admission policy of the college follows government norms. It was found that the students, both men and women, are drawn from rural areas and most of them are first generation learners. Obviously the performance level of the students at the entry point is considerably low, which calls for compensatory educational approaches and individualised instruction.
Faculty members of the college were found to be generally dedicated and committed to the cause of higher education. The fact that almost all the members of the faculty have research degrees ensures the high quality of teaching. Since, Bharathidasan University happens to be in Tiruchirappalli, teachers can utilize the facilities available at the university to upgrade their teaching and research capabilities.
The college offers awide range of program options such as B.A., B.Sc., B.Com., MA., M.Sc., M,.PhiL, and Ph.D. m various subjects to students. Recently the college has introduced a few career oriented programmes such as M.Sc. in Applied Physics, B.Sc. Applied Econometrics etc., under self-financing mode. After attaining autonomy the syllabi of all the courses have been upgraded by the respective Boards of Studies and approved by the Academic Council. Each course has been divided into five units and they are taught in semester pattern. Several inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary courses can be incorporated into the curriculum design of various programmes for the benefit of students. Interdisciplinary courses such as ecology, wild life, ethno-botany agricultural economics, pollution chemistry are worth considering. All the departments may be encouraged to offer one/two interdisciplinary courses Such a provision of optional courses and incorporation of horizontal mobility through credit mode of education is desirable. One compulsory paper for all the students in computer familiarization is also worth considering.
The Peer Team found that the high level of failure rate in undergraduate departments is due to inadequate language skills in English. Methodical introduction of bridge and remedial courses in spoken English and writing skills to students who come from vernacular background will help.
The opportunity provided by autonomy to redesign curricula by making significant departments from the university syllabi may will be exploited.
Criterion II: Teaching-learning and Evaluation
Selection of students to the college is based on merit and governmental norms. An average student of the college is from vernacular background and economically backward communities. Hostel facilities are available to only about 15% of the students. Rest of them stay outside the campus and commute daily to the college. This is a handicap.
The faculty are selected by the government. They are liable to be transferred depending upon need and requirement. Adhoc transfers of faculty also impair programmes of the college. The present faculty members were found to be dedicated to the cause of the college.
The college follows 20:80 breakup for internal and end-semester evaluation under autonomy. The controller of the examinations oversees the functioning of evaluation system. The Peer Team found that the evaluation process is transparent and students were satisfied with the system. Out of the 20 marks allotted to internal assessment, 5% weightage is given for attendance alone. This seems to have helped in improving classroom regular student attendance. Interactive learning may be encouraged through quizzes/seminars and class room responses. Some marks may be allotted to such a process.
Holding of weekly/monthly examinations has helped students to acquire better knowledge. Internal assessment was found to be transparent. The Peer Team felt that the internal assessment component is quite low and can be raised to 40% or 50%. The college may also consider introduction of retake examination for failed candidates so as to enable them to make up the time gap. Such a measure will also help reducing the failure rate.
The college authorities were found to encourage faculties to upgrade their teaching abilities by deputing them to refresher courses offered by the Academic Staff Colleges of the various universities.
Teaching, learning and evaluation processes were found to be, by and large, conventional. Leaner centred and participatory learning may be encouraged. Education technology may be widely used. Terminal exams may be substituted to a fair measure, by continuous assessment (which does not rely on more frequent terminal exams).
Criterion III; Research Publication and Extension Activities
Being a government college dedicated mainly to teaching activities, understandably the research component is at a low level. However, almost all the teachers have acquired research level degrees and about one third of them have Ph.D. About a dozen of the faculty members are actively involved in conducting research. Faculty members who belong to the departments of zoology, statistics, English, geography and commerce guide research scholars. At present 17 research scholars have registered for the Ph.D. degree out of whom three are working on full-time basis. Some findings have been published in international journals. A few books have also been published. However, lack of research culture in the college was apparent during the Peer Team visit.
It is laudable that a few departments such as history have organized national and regional seminars.
Some faculty members have secured research projects from funding agencies such as the UGC and the Tamilnadu Department of Science and Technology. At present the college has 8 ongoing projects.
Acquisition of research journals and rewarding the faculty who obtain research funding from external sources will promote research culture in the college.
Extension work by the students is being carried out through NSS and NCC. Since many students come from the rural background, need based extension works may be introduced in surrounding villages for betterment of communities from where students are generally drawn. Participation of students in extension work can be evaluated and equated to a course requirement in the curriculum at the undergraduate level.
Research work may be further encouraged. A large majority of faculty without Ph.D. may not adequately help to maintain students at the post-graduate level. Consultancy may be fruitful when research is promoted.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
Periyar EVR College (Autonomous) owns a campus of 52.65 acres of land. The college has a main block, which provides accommodation for departments like zoology, computer science, botany, administrative wing, examination section and the Principal’s room. Behind this building another block has been constructed which provides accommodation for commerce, statistics, mathematics and few other departments. There is a separate building for English, Tamil and history departments. The physical education department is put up in a different place, which is near by the playgrounds. A hostel, three vehicle sheds, a few parks etc., are also provided.
To keep the campus clean and green voluntary service by the students is being enlisted The annual maintenance of the building is done with the help of the grant provided by the Government of Tamil Nadu. The college undertakes maintenance work under the supervision of the college staff. UGC grants are also being utilized for the construction of the building. The College works from l0a.m to 4p.m. Computer facility is available from 9a.m to 6p.m and at the time of requirement even on holidays.
Apart from the department library services to students, the central library facility is provided and a good number of books have been procured for the library. An advisory committee has been constituted for the smooth functioning of the library. Other facilities like reprography, video and audiocassettes are also available. However, lack of the book bank facility, absence of computerization of services and want of inter-library borrowing systems are the shortcomings of the library
There is a well-established computer science department, which imparts education for B.Sc Computer Science students. This centre also serves as the central facility of the college. The computer centre extends its services to all other departments and to the college administration for updating information. Recently the internet facility has been acquired
The college has the physical education centre with facilities like volleyball court, hockey ground, football ground, shuttle badminton court, kho-kho ground, basket ball ground and kabbadi ground. Further a provision was also made for indoor games like table tennis, weight lifting etc. A few students of the college have participated at the university level, state level and national level sports competitions. It is appreciable that one girl student was placed first in the state level hepthalon competition and the Peer Team felt that the maintenance of the sports facility has to be improved. The present hostel facility available for 250 students. is inadequate to meet the demand. Filter water facility for drinking purposes, first aid room facility and health service are also available in the college. The college may further develop an efficient grievance redressal mechanism, workshop centre and welfare programmes.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
Many alumni of the college occupy important positions such as lawyers, administrators, lecturers, doctors, bank officers, engineers, state and central government officers, businessmen, MLAs & MPs etc. Nearly 30% of the students go for either higher studies or employment. It is desirable that the college makes provision for a career guidance programme for students. Linkage between college and industries can also be developed. An alumni association may be formed for the benefit of the college.
The college collects feedback from students regularly. Nearly 25% of the students receive scholarships In addition, sports candidates are given some privileges like concession during admission time, free breakfast during the days of practice and matches, financial assistance, cash awards etc., The college follows the tutorial system by which counselling is being offered to students.
During the interaction with the students many said that they maintained good relationship with their teachers. During the interaction with the teaching faculty it was evident that they also maintained good rapport with students and encouraged them to follow paths of progress.
Criterion VI: Organization and Management
The college is an autonomous institution funded and managed by the Government of Tamilnadu. There is a Governing Council consisting of representatives from the UGC, Government of Tamilnadu, Bharathidasan University and faculty member of the college. In addition to the Governing Council, in conformity with the autonomous structure, the college is guided and directed by two more important bodies 1. Academic Council, 2. College Council. The college has constituted six additional committees to improve the organization and management of the institution, 1 Hostel Committee, 2. Games and Sports Committee, 3. Admission Committee, 4. Finance Committee, 5. Examination Committee, and 6 Disciplinary Committee The hostel committee examines and initiates action against students who violate the code of conduct in addition to the specific function of the hostel management. The Autonomy Committee is entrusted with the preparation of the college profile.
There is a special committee which prepares academic calendar giving all the details of the academic activities, both curricular-extra-curricular, which is supplied to every student seeking admission to the college. The college functions under the overall framework of the administrative setup designed by the government and ordinances issued from time to time. Thus the college is not in a position to introduce any major changes in the matter of its administration. On the whole the Peer Team was impressed with the discipline & order, service culture and team spirit among the members of the college.
Within limits of governance by the state strategies may be worked out for participatory management with a balancing system of checks and controls to ensure accountability. Accreditation at departmental levels may be strengthened by facilitating decision-making.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The Peer Team is happy to note the following healthy practices followed in the college:
1. Good interpersonal relationship among teaching, non-teaching staff and students is being maintained and this helps the smooth functioning of the college
2. A few self-financing courses are being offered by the college for the benefit of students
3. Some teachers are involved in active research.
4. The Fine Arts Association was established in 1973. This association plays an important role in cultural, social and educational activities for the betterment of students. Further, a club was established recently in the name of “Tree Club” which works for the greening of the campus.
5. Students are involved in doing voluntary service like blood donating for needy patients, traffic regulations during festival seasons, conducting of adult education classes in the villages etc.
Section 3: Overall Analysis
The Peer Team after visiting various departments, interacting with the functionaries of the institution and examining the available infrastructure has arrived at the Peer Assessment The report is therefore based on the information gathered about the institution in terms of seven criteria suggested by NAAC., and deliberations held with several functionaries.
As stated in the preface, the Periyar E.V.R.College, was founded in 1965 by the Government of Tamilnadu in response to the request of Periyar Rarnasamy, a visionary and great social reformer. Sri Ramasamy donated his buildings, popularly known as Lanka Building and a sum of Rs.3.5 lakhs for extending educational opportunities at tertiary level to economically, socially backward and culturally oppressed communities in the region. As a mark of its respect to Sri Ramasamy, the Tamilnadu Government, has not started the college but also acquired an additional 30 acres of surrounding area for future expansion of the institutional activities The construction of the main college with well designed laboratories, class rooms and a hostel building were undertaken one after the other under the administrative control of the Government of Tamilnadu.
The college today has gained considerable prominence in view of its size diversity of programmes , the quality of the faculty, the student discipline and their over all development.
The curriculum has a multi-disciplinary approach. The college has introduced several job oriented and self financing courses in tune with the emerging needs of students, whereby creating linkages between education and employment market.
Admissions are made as per the policy of the state government which stipulates 69% reservation in favour of disadvantaged students.
The Peer Team noted with concern that a large number of students both at the UG and the PG levels are not able to complete their respective programmes within the prescribed time. While the unsatisfactory performance of students in the final examinations, in the case of the students drawn from the disadvantaged family backgrounds has been a national concern, earnest attempt has been made to help the students of this institution. It is imperative therefore to adopt several programmes in remedial education to overcome this difficulty, as an urgent step.
The college has attained the autonomous status and the faculty are optimistic about the future performance of students. The faculty, proposes to undertake several remedial steps for improving the institution to achieve the goal of excellence in the near future. Despite this major problem of a large percentage of failures confronted by the college the college has many achievements to its credit which are well reflected in the report.
The Peer Team however, would like to make a few constructive suggestions for the future development of the institution
1. The main objective of the college is to help the young men and women are first generation learners, drawn from rural areas. It is therefore obligatory on the part of the institution to introduce many remedial approaches to enable the students of this category to compete with the rest of the students. The open door admission policy bears no relevance unless the institutional impact is discernible in the performance and overall development of the students’ personality.
2. A large number of teachers are engaged in research and teaching but it is noted with surprise that teachers do not utilize the facilities available at the university in-spite of its close proximity.
3. The college has not created adequate support structure for the progression of students There is a need to introduce career and academic guidance cell, various enrichment programmes for the preparation of students to take competitive examinations.
4. The need for instituting an alumni association is being recognized by the Management and faculty. It is necessary to initiate action to translate this concept into reality.
5. As stated earlier several inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary programmes may be incorporated into the curriculum design. For instance, inter disciplinary courses such as ecology, wild-life, ethno botany, agricultural economics, pollution chemistry are worth considering. The faculty and the departments can individually and collectively share the responsibility.
6. The Peer Group felt that the present practice of 20 per cent weightage given to internal assessment is not adequate enough to promote standards. We strongly recommend that 20 percent may be raised to 50 percent in tune with the spirit of decentralization of academic policies.
7. The faculty expressed its unanimous opinion on the theme of certain examination reforms- According to them, the retake examination scheme appears to be a major solution to the problem of stagnation and wastage in the college.
8. The frequent and abrupt transfer of teachers, affect the performance of the institution. In view of the autonomous status conferred on the institution, it is desirable to retain every teacher for a minimum period of 10 years.