Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Quaid-E-Millat Govt. College for Women
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Section 1: Introduction
Quaid-E-Millat Govt. Arts College for Women, affiliated to the Madras University, offered itself voluntarily to undergo the process of assessment and accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), Bangalore. Accordingly, the college prepared and submitted to the NAAC in November 1999 a self-study report which then constituted the Peer Team consisting of the following to visit the college for the purpose of assessment.
· Dr. A.N.P. Ummerkutty, former Vice Chancellor, Calicut University (Chairman)
· Prof. D.S. Devaraj Urs, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, Mysore University (Member)
· Prof. Ramesh Trimbak Sane, Principal, Ramanarain Ruia College & Hon. Director, TDM Laboratory, Mumbai (Member)
The Peer Team visited the college on 24th and the 25th of January 2000 for the assessment work.
Located in the heart of the metropolitan city of Chennai in a campus of 30 acres, the college has a beautiful set up with some greenery very near Connemara Library and several other places of learning. The college was started in 1974, though the imposing buildings, furniture equipment and an unusual collection of old and rare books belong to an earlier period and an earlier institution. The college prides itself as one of the foremost government institutions to address the needs of higher education of women students in the fast changing scenario of free India. While there were only a few hundred students in 1974, today it is one of the largest UG arts colleges in the state of TamilNadu with more than 3300 students and 12 UG and 5 PG courses in a variety of subjects. The most interesting educational feature of the college is that it caters essentially for the needs of the poor and socially backward young women of the neighborhood though located in one of the most fashionable localities of the city.
That the Quaid-E-Millat Govt. Arts College for Women, has voluntarily come forward to undergo the process of assessment and accreditation by NAAC is appreciable. It clearly shows that the college authorities have real concern for quality in education and also in the welfare of students. They have asserted that the assessment process is being undertaken with a view of renewing and rededicating themselves to the cause of quality and excellence in higher education.
The Peer Team thoroughly studied and analyzed the Self-Study Report submitted by the college. During the visit to the institution, the Peer Team focussed its attention on validating the data and materials contained in the Self-Study Reports and other documents made available to them. They visited every nook and corner of the vast campus and saw all the academic and administrative units along with other supporting facilities. They also had extensive discussions with all the constituents of the college – the Principal, faculty, students, parents, alumni and other groups. They also scrutinized all the relevant documents to facilitate the process of assessment.
On the basis of the detailed examination of the Self-Study Report, visits to all the academic and administrative units and other supporting facilities, scrutinization of the relevant documents and in the light of the criteria evolved by NAAC, the Peer Team assessed the quality of education prevailing in the Quaid-E-Millat Govt. Arts College for Women, Chennai. The assessment of the team in terms of the criteria-wise approach and overall analysis, along with the commendations and suggestions for further growth of the institution are presented in the following pages.
The major objective of the institution is to provide access to higher education for women and to empower them. The focus is particularly on the socially disadvantaged groups and to that extent the programmes are generally in conformity with the goals and the objectives of the institution. As an affiliated college of the Madras University, the college offers 18 courses out of which 12 are undergraduate and 5 post graduate courses and 1 M.Phil programme in history. Two UGC sponsored vocational courses in zoology and commerce are offered. The college started with six courses and over the years, additional courses were added and it has grown steadily in the last 25 years responding to the requirements of society. Some proposals are also in the offing like B.A. Corporate, M.Sc. Nutrition and Dietetics, to improve the career prospectus of students. The college thus provides an opportunity for vertical mobility to students.
As an affiliated college, the syllabus prescribed by the university is followed and that is the major constraint for introducing any innovations. However, the faculty have been enriching the academic experience of students through co-curricular, extra-curricular and extension activities. While vocationalization has not been possible in the areas excepting commerce and zoology, the college should move in the direction of extending such opportunities by identifying need-based courses. Most of the courses are conventional and in the coming years the college may plan to make a departure in order not only to compete with other institutions in the metropolitan area but also to equip students with the needed skills to meet emerging challenges.
Interdepartmental co-operation appears to be at the level of sharing expertise which need to be strengthened to provide flexible interdisciplinary options. The college has been offering enrichment courses like computer education for the benefit of students. It should be enlarged and further strengthened. Several short-term certificate courses can also be designed by the college to help students acquire additional skills as they have their free time in the afternoon and in the evenings. Several short-term diploma courses and certificate courses may be offered for the benefit of the community particularly women, and also to utilize the infrastructure optimally. Proposals already made by the college such as Diploma in Financial Management and Diploma in Marketing Management can be expedited. The Peer Team observes that the departments like chemistry, home science and commerce have the competence to offer post-graduate courses. Restructuration of syllabi within the affiliating framework may be undertaken as an in institutional exercise in consultation with senior educators and with senior educators and experts.
Admissions to the various courses are in accordance with the policy of reservation of the Govt. of Tamil Nadu with a view to extend opportunity for different strata of society. It is interesting to note that the cut-off percentage for most of the courses ranges between 60 % and 98 % and even among the candidates who belong to reserved categories, it is significantly high implying that a large number of students enter the portals of the college on their own merit. During 1998-99, 12,907 applied for 996 seats in the first year degree course. The Peer Team appreciates the computerization of the admission process. There is considerable rush for admission to some courses like commerce and the computer science where the ratio is 54:1 and 62:1 respectively. It is interesting to note that similar rush is noticed in mathematics where the ratio is 21:1. This is an indication of the demand for the courses required by the student community. There is no provision for assessing students’ knowledge and skill for a particular program before admission. However, several remedial courses and co-curricular activities are conducted to enhance skills of students. Remedial classes for English, mathematics and chemistry are said to have been conducted.
The college offers two parallel streams (both Tamil and English medium) in six subjects excepting in computer science, mathematics, commerce and nutrition and dietetics in order to widen access to education for women. The Team observed that the performance of the Tamil stream is not satisfactory as it can be seen from the statistics available. This needs further strengthening.
The college has 128 teachers. They have shouldered the responsibility to meet the challenges of providing higher education to socially disadvantaged groups. Two thirds of the teachers have completed their Ph.D.s and 89 of them have completed their M.Phil. It is desirable that the remaining teachers are motivated to pursue their research interests as it helps in strengthening the academic activities of the departments and also individually. Only 19 teachers have participated in national seminars and two have been resource persons. There are ample opportunities for the professional development of teachers because of the locational advantages and better access to these opportunities. The faculty should be encouraged to avail themselves of these opportunities. The Peer Team observed that only a few departments have organized seminars and it should be widely adopted by the remaining departments, particularly the PG departments. The use of audio visual teaching aids, computer assisted interaction with the experiment models may supplement the traditional method of learning may become increasing learner-centred.
Students are assessed by conducting periodical tests and seminars. Model examinations in both theory and practicals are being conducted to help them. They are also trained through question banks prepared by the faculty members. A regular tutorial system is practised and the progress of the wards is monitored and parents are informed about it. Special efforts are made by teachers to help students perform better in the final examinations.
The team observed that the performance of the UG students is highly satisfactory as reflected in the high pass percentages. However, the performance of students is to be improved in the PG programmes. The Peer Team appreciated the efforts made by some departments in securing ranks.
Faculty may be persuaded to explore possibilities of seeking improvement to enlarge their academic activities. Only a few teachers have acquired training in the use of computers. It is desirable that facilities should be made available for imparting computer education to not only teachers but also to non-computer students.
The conventional lecture method needs to be changed to make students participate in learning processes. Teaching innovations must be encouraged and supported. Only a few teachers are actively engaged in publishing their research output. It is desirable that the remaining teachers also get involved in publication of their research output. Teachers are encouraged to avail themselves FIP programmes and that should be further strengthened.
The college has been emphasizing teaching rather than research. The percentage of the faculty involved in research is not significant. The Peer Team felt that faculty should involve vigorously in promoting research at all levels and it should receive better attention in those departments offering postgraduate courses. The post graduate students do project work and it can be made more meaningful by addressing relevant and contemporary issues. It is appreciable that some departments are organizing seminars and workshops.
The Peer Team appreciates the difficulty involved in offering consultancy. Since the college is located in a metropolitan area, there is considerable scope for consultancy and that should be explored by the faculty. Teachers should be encouraged to involve themselves with many micro level problems as they open up opportunities for establishing linkages with outside agencies. Faculty could be assisted by a separate research cell to establish contacts with local industry and business communities including the corporate sector.
The college has been promoting many extension activities like adult education, community development projects, AIDS awareness programmes, blood donation camps, health and hygiene awareness etc. In addition several outreach activities like population education, national literacy etc are also undertaken. The college has been arranging legal awareness programmes and that is appreciable as it helps the empowerment of women. The college can explore the possibility of establishing a centre for woman studies by integrating the activities of some related departments.
The college has a huge campus in the heart of the city and only about 10 % of the area has been occupied by buildings, housing different departments and other facilities like the gymkhana and the canteen. The college entirely depends upon government funds not only for creation of new buildings and infrastructure but also for the maintenance of the same.
The college is trying to put the infrastructure to optimum use by using the classrooms and the newly constructed computer science laboratory for conducting various evening courses for students of commerce, arts and science faculties. A separate evening commerce course is also conducted. The college conducts contact classes for ICE of University of Madras and competitive examinations from the various bodies like BSRB and Anna University.
The campus occupied by the college buildings is maintained neat and clean with gardens and other plantations. The college utilises the assistance of NSS volunteers and Chennai corporation for this purpose.
The purchase of books, journals and periodicals is made through a properly constituted library advisory committee. However the college should try to get more grants from the Govt. to enrich the library that is so essential to more than 3000 students of the college. Connecting the library through internet with the other big libraries in the city will encourage the UG and the PG students to use library facilities to the maximum. The book bank facility is available to students. Higher level of library computerization will benefit students and teachers a great deal.
The library has centralized reprograpic facility. Longer working hours for the library may be encouraged especially when the evening courses run up to 5:30pm. Creation of computerized library facility for the college will be a welcome step in the future.
Many departments have their own computers. It is necessary to link all the computers through LAN for effective sharing of software and database. Developing of computer aided learning and tailor made packages is the need of the day.
A visiting medical officer visits the campus twice a week to cater for the medical needs of students. Sports facilities of the college are commendable. A playground of 6.480 sq.mts provides an excellent opportunity for outdoor games. Outstanding sports persons are encouraged to participate in regional and national competitions by giving them proper training and suitable financial assistance.
The college has a fairly well equipped workshop. Welfare programmes are attended through Social Service League and Legal Awareness Programmes. About 3 % of students stay in the college hostel. The grievances redressal cell may function more effectively.
The pass percentage of the students at the UG level is very good and there is a scope to improve the same at the PG level. Efforts could be made to reduce the drop out percentage. With the excellent teaching faculty available at the disposal of the college it should not be difficult to prepare students for the competitive examinations like UGC-CSIR, GMAT, GATE, GRE etc.
Creation of a formal and effective feedback mechanism from students will be a great source of information for qualitative improvement of academic and co-curricular programmes.
The college publishes up-to-date college prospectus every year giving the details of all courses, scholarships, fee structure etc.
The career guidance cell may be complemented by an employment cell. This will help students to find suitable jobs. Conducting tutorials is a routine matter. Additional efforts of academic and personal counseling will be the right step.
The alumni association seems to be very active. They have an annual get together and they offer prizes to students excelling in the academic and co-curricular activities.
The policy of the admission to the college is decided by the Govt. and admissions are strictly made on merit basis. Overseas students can be attracted if special facilities can be created for them.
Efficient coordinating and monitoring mechanism in any educational institute helps a great deal in transmitting innovative ideas of the staff members through a proper channel to the decision-making authorities. Heads of Departments can act as positive catalysts for transferring ideas into realities. In the process, the help of an outside agency is of prime importance.
Non-teaching staff members form the backbone of any academic organization. In the fast changing scenario of high technology communication and high degree of computerization, continuous training programmes for improving professional efficiencies of non-teaching staff has no substitute. It must take top priority in any institute of higher learning.
A special committee in the college prepares the academic calendar which brings about a workable co-ordination in planning and implementing academic programmes. The fee structure for UG and the PG is decided by the government and there has been only a marginal increase in the fee structure in the last three years. Appropriate expenses are made on academic and student welfare services.
The college helps the teaching and the non-teaching staff members to obtain loans for housing, medical treatment, buying computers and education of wards.
The college has a very active Parents Teachers Association (PTA) which has contributed substantially in the last six years to the development of the college. The PTA is a democratic body having elected representatives from the college faculty as well as from the parents. The PTA serves as an effective feedback mechanism to the college on academic and non academic matters.
The students of the college seem to enjoy indoor and the outdoor games. Many NCC cadets represented the state in the Republic Day parade. This exposure has given them an ideal exposure at the national level.
The financial assistance to the academic institutions from the Govt. funding agencies is on the decline every year. For keeping the academic standards it is necessary to generate our own resources. Making use of the existing laboratory facilities and the teaching faculty, it may be possible to establish links with the neighbouring industries and work on projects of mutual interests. Establishing strong links with national and international teaching and research organizations will help the teachers expand their horizon of knowledge and experience. Fund generation could also be possible by conducting meaningful self financing certificate and diploma courses. In the departments of Mathematics, History and English the PG courses are conducted and the teachers of the respective Departments have voluntarily agreed to put in 90 hours of extra work as a condition for starting the course. This is a highly encouraging practice.
In the metropolitan city of Chennai, which is also one of the premier educational centres of the country, the Quaid-E-Millat Govt. Arts College for Women, is rendering valuable service to thousands of underprivileged and backward women students. It has suitably furnished classrooms (more than one hundred), gallery halls numbering more than 10, well-equipped and large laboratories, general and departmental libraries, museums, a herbarium, a botanical garden with a good number of medicinal plants, electronic computer centres, vast play fields and other modern educational facilities. The faculty are committed to the profession and inconveniences which may be caused by transfers do not defer them from duty. The Peer Team also wishes to offer a few suggestions for further speedier growth and development of this major college run by the government of Tamil Nadu. They are given in a separate list at the end of the report.
The Peer Team’s visit to the Quaid-E-Millat Govt, Arts College, Chennai, and the interactions it had with various segments of the academic community bring out a few basic facts which should be recorded here for the urgent attention and necessary action of the authorities concerned. Being a Govt. institution, the college itself has very little administrative role in planning or conceiving the future developments or lines of growth. Being amenable to transfers, the faculty might not also feel inclined to take a long-term view of the development of the institution. In the case of Govt. higher education institutions, particularly the important ones, the following policy options may, therefore, be considered by the government:
· Separate College Committees with adequate freedom may be constituted for more important colleges to begin with and extended to other colleges later. They may be entrusted with the job of designing, executing and monitoring long-term academic programmes, planned and prepared in consultation with the govt. A prominent educationist of the area may be the President of the College Committee and the Principal of the college its Secretary. Senior faculty members and some prominent alumni could be members. The College Committee should function under the overall policies of the govt. and the university concerned. A long-term plan of development may be prepared by this committee and submitted to the Govt. for financial approval and to the University whenever necessary.
· Govt. may adopt a transfer policy which allows for greater stability of staff in a given institution in order to ensure continuity and accountability of programmes and executors.
· The Govt. may draw up broad lines regarding the development of the various colleges taking into account the regional needs, the aspirations of the surrounding community, the potential of the students enrolled etc. The College Committee may function within these broad guidelines.
· Since modern higher education institutions are supposed to conduct a certain amount of research and some medium level consultancy services to the surrounding community, the govt. may consider constituting research cells and consultancy cells in all leading govt. colleges to work under the College Committee and extend appropriate support, financial and otherwise.
· Curricular development is very important in all colleges to ensure continuous growth of academic programmes. Therefore, a curricular development cell may also be formed in the Govt. colleges to work under the College Committee. Placement efforts to help the students to get a job also needs some focussed attention. For this, a placement cell can be formed.
· To be able to conceive genuine need-based growth, College Committees may be allowed to adopt a zero budgeting system at least in some areas. Otherwise, the present govt. budgeting system itself becomes a hurdle for fresh academic ideas and educational programmes in newly emerging and interdisciplinary subjects.
o Though only a degree college, the students of this institution frequently get ranks in examinations conducted by the University of Madras.
o In sports, the athletes of this college have distinguished themselves as University blues and have won prizes at national level competitions.
o The NCC units – Army, Navy and Air Wings – performed well and found their representations on many occasions at the Republic Day parade in Delhi.
o Youth Forum for Gandhian studies reveals the interest of students in the Gandhian thoughts.
o Alumni and parents’ associations are active and contribute to the facilities of the institution.
o That nearly 2500 out of 3300 students get some financial assistance is indeed commendable and speak volumes about the care has taken on them by the institution.
o The newly started Computer Science Department offers useful evening certificate courses at a very moderate rates of fees and they have plans to cover the entire student population of the college in a phased programme. This is really good.
o The present dynamic Principal has managed to get an amount of Rs.24 lakhs from the govt. in the current year for the proper upkeep of the buildings. This is really praiseworthy.
Suggestions for further growth and development
· A self appraisal system on the lines suggested by the UGC may be introduced. The state govt. may be moved in this respect.
· Research and consultancy cells may be constituted with govt. approval and some token funds sought.
· Career and academic counseling may be organized in a more meaningful way, since students come from extremely backward backgrounds.
· Some placement effort is also possible as the college is situated in the heart of the city. A placement cell may be constituted.
· The Home Science Department has submitted proposals to start a P.G. course. The proposal deserves immediate attention and encouragement by the University and the govt. since the course has high job potential.
· It seems that the PG courses at present do not have project work or dissertation. This deficiency may be set right and the university may consider this problem and take necessary remedial measures.
· All the suggestions made in the overall analysis regarding the institution of a separate college committee for major Govt. colleges, including Quaid-E-Millat Govt. Arts College for Women, with the necessary number of subcommittees or cells for Research, Consultancy, Curricular Development, Career & Academic counseling and Placement may be vigorously followed up by the college authorities.
· It will be better if the Home Science students are given some practical training in industries in addition to their present exposure to academic institutions.
· In the meeting of the Alumni Association, members have shown great enthusiasm to help the college academically and financially. The offer may be followed up vigorously by the authorities.
· Majority of the teachers from about all departments seemed to clamour for autonomy for the college as they feel that much more course diversification and curricular updating are possible with autonomy. The idea may be sympathetically considered by the government and the university.
· National and state level linkages and collaboration with industries in relevant fields must get immediate attention of the authorities.
Finally the Peer Team extends all good wishes to the Quaid-E-Millat Govt. College for Women, in their Silver Jubilee Year and the Team hopes that the occasion will be made use of for a real breakthrough in its developmental goals.