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Assessment Report on

Institutional Accreditation of

St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Maharashtra

 

Section 1: Preface

St. Xavier’s College founded by the Society of Jesus as a Christian institution in 1869, aims at the education of the Catholic community around Mumbai, and extends its services to members of other communities to the extent possible. Affiliated to the University of Mumbai since its inception, it became a constituent college of the same university in 1953 as a result of the University of Mumbai Act of 1953. It is entrusted by the University with the task of preparing students for degrees in arts, science and commerce of the university.

 

The academic performance of the institution through the years has endeavored to create a congenial environment of learning, fraternity, common piety and to generate goodwill among the people at large.  The college has contributed to nurture the necessary ethos of human values, as well as mutual compatibility among the members of the academic communities. The religious and moral emphasis in its overall framework is largely responsible for creating the attitude of service and dedication. 

 

The college volunteered to be assessed and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council  (NAAC) and submitted the self-study report in April 1999. NAAC constituted a peer team comprising Prof. R.P. Kaushik, Professor of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi as the Chairman, and Dr. A.S. Kukla, Principal, Acharya Narendra Dev College, New Delhi and Dr.  Sneha Joshi, Dean, Faculty of Education & Psychology, M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara as members.  The team visited the College from September 08 to 10, 1999. Dr. Antony Stella, Deputy Adviser, NAAC, facilitated the peer team visit.

 

The Peer Team had analysed the self-study report of the college earlier and followed it during their visit to the institution. The team validated the self-study report submitted to NAAC by information obtained from visiting the academic and administrative units of the institution, interacting with its various constituents and by scrutinising the relevant documents. The team visited all the departments of studies, the related facilities like the laboratories, library and computer centre as well as the supporting units of the institution that contribute to its curricular, co-curricular and extension activities. Extensive interactions were held with the Board of Management, Local Management Committee, the Principal, faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni. Based on the above exercise and keeping the criteria identified by NAAC as the frame of reference, the team assessed the quality of education offered by the institution.

 

The assessment of the Peer Team in terms of criterion-wise analysis and the overall analysis including the commendations and suggestions for further development are presented below.

 

Section 2: Criterion-wise Analysis

 
Criterion I: Curricular Aspects

St. Xavier’s College has lived up to its enshrined goals and objectives of providing the  Indian youth  an all round education and development. Being a constituent college of the Mumbai  University it is governed by the Act and Statutes of the parent university.  The college has to operate within the given frame work and procedures laid down by the University of Mumbai from time to time. Under the provision of the University of Mumbai, the College offers multi-choice  elective (optional) subjects, both in liberal arts and Humanities and Sciences. Students have a large number of courses to opt for.

 

Students are admitted to various courses strictly on the basis of merit, based on the percentage of marks, and admission is dispersed on liberal arts, viz. ancient Indian culture, history, Islamic culture, psychology, commerce, economics, anthropology, political science and sociology.

 

Science courses such as zoology, life sciences, microbiology, chemistry, physics and mathematics are also governed by the percentile system of merit. These courses offer a higher degree in placement for seeking employment. The certificate & diploma courses like personality and human values, gemology, and garden arts are found to be well received by the students.  It is heartening to note that this is the first College in the Mumbai University to start the Departments of microbiology and life sciences and the invention of the famous drug – Streptomycin was initiated in the Caius Research Laboratory of the college.

 

Though the College does not have the freedom to modify/devise its own syllabus for any courses, many senior professors of the College are members of the respective Boards of Studies and play an important role in designing, restructuring and revising of courses and they have added a few dynamics to their courses which are innovative in the given syllabi.

 

Innovations in curriculum design are also visible in the Honours programmes conducted by the college.  Introduced in the early 1980s, the programme seeks to change the narrow examination orientation and to provide scope  for greater student participation in the learning process. The Honours programmes, which have become very popular, have a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach and they allow interdepartmental collaboration in devising the course syllabi.

 

The college lays emphasis on value-based education as enshrined in its logo and  the college emblem, which permeates its atmosphere. The college has preferential option for the underprivileged sections of dalits, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste, and the other groups who are below the poverty line. The commencement of the evening commerce course for working men and women is a welcome move towards realisation of this objective.  The programme is quite popular among the underprivileged sections of the society.

 

The Personality and Human Values programme, though voluntary, continues to attract hundreds of students every year.  The co-curricular activities and student centered activities of the institution are appreciable. 

 

The college does not have a formal mechanism to obtain feedback from academic peers and employers on the teaching programmes, perhaps due to its limited  role in curriculum design.

           

Criterion II:  Teaching, Learning And Evaluation

Being a constituent college of the University of Mumbai, the rules do not permit the  college to judge the students’ knowledge and aptitude at the entry level, before admission. However, many departments do administer tests to assess students’ knowledge after admission.  Special classes are conducted to benefit the educationally backward, mentally handicapped, spastics and blind students. The evening commerce faculty was created especially to cater for the needs of the economically disadvantaged people and the working men and women.

 

Advanced learners are encouraged to work ahead of the other students by taking more  courses, project work  and by participating in seminars and inter-collegiate competitions. Special programmes viz., Honours Programme and Learning for Life, have been introduced by the College to cater for the needs of students who would like to explore areas beyond the prescribed university syllabus This has also helped to evolve good teaching methods to inspire students to attain academic specialization in the given areas of their choice.

 

Teachers maintain their regular work diaries and timetables so as to be transparent to the institution in pursuing their teaching work. Making of a teaching plan is left to the individual teacher.  Unitisation of syllabus has been done.  The university has introduced an internal assessment semester system for the first two years of the degree courses. Accordingly, the syllabi are divided into modules to be covered during each semester.

 

Some departments and teachers supplement the lecture method of teaching with other methods such as group work, seminars, projects and field trips.  The College has a multimedia hall, fully equipped with advanced audiovisual aids. Besides this, a separate audiovisual centre is available with facilities such as OHP, film projector, slide projector, TV & VCR and they are made use of optimally. The use of  audio visual teaching aids, computer assisted instruction and experimental models to supplement the traditional method of teaching,  has created a sense of participation among the students and teachers alike.

 

The methods of evaluation are set by the university. At the beginning of each academic year, an orientation programme is held and students are familiarised with the various rules of the college including those relating to assessment and examinations.

 

Since examinations are conducted by Mumbai University, the College is not able to influence or modify the University patterns of evaluation. However Project work ,  which constitutes part of internal assessment creates opportunities for field study, seminars, and participation in symposium. Students’ academic accountability is determined on the basis of periodic assessments in the form of tests and term papers alone.  Each department conducts periodic tests in their respective subjects. In addition to this, term end tests are administered to evaluate student performance before they appear for the final examination.

 

Teachers are normally recruited through advertisements and according to the guidelines of the State Government and the UGC.  The College has freedom to appoint temporary/ ad hoc teaching staff and they are paid consolidated salary until government grants are allocated.  Of the 93 teachers at present, 11 are temporary.  Teachers are encouraged to attend seminars/conferences/workshops. 

The performance of the teaching faculty is evaluated by students by means of a Teacher Assessment Questionnaire(TAQ) and feedback is obtained by the Principal through the Students’ Council.  In addition, as per the university rules, teachers are required to fill in the self-assessment form at the time when the staff member is due for placement in a higher scale.

 

The College regularly organises seminars and workshops to enable teachers to keep abreast of the changes that are taking place in the field of higher education. These programmes cover a wide range of  areas such as college autonomy, teaching Techniques, micro-teaching, student-teacher relationship, effective teaching methods, humanising education, education and pedagogy etc. During the last two years almost all the teachers have benefited from these programmes.  Quite a number of teachers have been honoured by appropriate awards for their meritorious service.

 

The content of the Honours Programme is relevant and up-to-date and  the teaching methods are varied so as to actively involve the students. The Honours Programme makes learning quit exciting, through projects, seminars, workshops, lecture courses, assignments etc.  Over the three years of under graduation, students accumulate credits for various activities under this programme and a certificate of merit is awarded to students who successfully complete it with minimum eight credits.

 

The departments in liberal arts, humanities as well as science consist of faculty members who have  Ph.D., M.Phil. degrees, and some have received state and national awards. Library facilities,  available to students and staff centrally and in departments are found helpful by both teachers and students. Mention may be made of the rare 16th century printed manuscript in the Department of Botany which is the exclusive custody of this department in the country.   Similarly the geology department has a collection of rare samples from all over the world, a unique feature of this department.

 

The zoology department has done significant work in toxicology and has won prestigious awards. Under the 9th Plan, Rs. 14 lakhs have been sanctioned for undergraduate development and 3 lakhs for postgraduate development in to some teachers geology. Under the Faculty Improvement Programme, fellowships have been granted to some teachers for two years for completing their Ph.D. work.

 

The St. Xavier’s Villa at Khandala is open to staff and students for retreats, seminars and educational conferences which are held periodically and add to the strength of their on-going academic programmes. 

 

Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension

The College has set up research centers within its campus.  It enables the faculty and students to undertake research work. The Heras Institute is a good  illustration for undertaking research work in history. The Social Science Centre focuses on regional and applied research issues of social concern.  There are 10 ongoing research projects in the college with a total outlay of Rs.6.5 lakhs.  Under the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology, a major research project is being carried out by the Geology Department for the past two years.

 

The national and international linkages established by the departments of Botany,  Geology and Zoology are appreciable.  However, in their individual capacity, a couple of teachers have teaching/research connections with some foreign universities.  The College could try to work towards converting these links into formal official collaborations.

 

The College has a lot of potential to promote research further. There are six full-time and 27 part-time scholars registered in the college for research. Of the 93 teachers on the rolls of the College, 36 are Ph.D. degree holders. Many faculty are recognised as guides for Ph.D. and are active in research.

 

The College does not offer any consultancy and testing services in a formal sense.  Hence, no funds are generated through consultancy and testing activities. There are a number of highly qualified teachers in the college who are capable of giving consultancy services and thereby contributing to societal and national development.  The college should consider adopting rules for individual as well as institutional consultancy with a view to encouraging its teachers to offer consultancy services in the areas of their expertise on a commercial basis, without prejudice to their regular work in the College.

 

The college has a full-time person to take care of the various extension activities. Involvement in social services affords students an opportunity to do their bit for the less fortunate and helps to make their education more relevant to the needs of the common people.  The Social Service League (SSL) of the College and the Akanksha Foundation an independent association by an ex-student of the college are making a remarkable contribution, in this respect.  Through the SSL, a number of students have participated in education camps in the villages and in regular visits to the physically handicapped in the Cheshire Home, Andheri, and to institutions for poor children.  It also organizes exhibitions, blood donation drives, the annual “Project Care” for slum children and a cleanliness drive in the college.  Akanksha continues to hold its classes for slum children every afternoon, in a few classrooms in the college. Through the Social Involvement Programme (SIP) the students are doing excellent work in the slums and institutions for the underprivileged, in collaboration with other voluntary agencies. Students are awarded one credit/10 marks for every 60 hours they put in this extension service. The establishment of the Department of  Inter Religious Studies to promote communal harmony is appreciable.

 

Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources

The main building of the college is an imposing landmark of architectural importance.  The college building is also declared a Heritage Structure. The existing infrastructure and facilities are put to optimum use by the Bombay St. Xavier’s College (Trust) society by organising need-based short term courses and evening courses after regular class hours. Akanksha for street children is also conducted in the college premises. Some lecture rooms are given out on rent for other agencies to be used during holidays or after working hours.

 

The college has a central computer facility equipped with 25 Pentiums that support multimedia and internet. However, it has a Computer Science Department with good computer facilities. Most of the departments and the offices have computers.

 

The College library has a holding of about 1,50,000 volumes and subscribes to national as well as international Journals and Periodicals. It also has a collection of audio and video cassettes that are available for students’ use. It does not have inter-library borrowing facilities at the state and national levels.  It has a book bank, which lends textbooks to students who need them.  The library has a photocopying facility.  The library is kept open from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.  The computerised library services and free access to reference sections are found to be satisfactory.

 

The laboratories of the Science departments, were found to be spacious and they are equipped adequately with necessary instruments. The workshop and centre for instrumentation provide the basic facilities like glass-blowing, glass cutting, Carpentary and electrical repairs.

 

The college has adequate facilities for sports and games.  It has playgrounds for all major games and a Gymkhana with facilities for indoor games and body building equipment. A Sports Director appointed by the College Trust looks after these activities. Students talented in sports and games are given incentives such as scholarships, personal sports equipment, best sports person awards and incentives.  The college has very strong sports teams.  Several students find places in the university, state and national level teams. 

 

Approximately four per cent of the students of the College stay in the hostel. The college also has a partially subsidised canteen.  The welfare schemes for students include among others loan scholarships, poor students scholarship fund, distribution of free note-books and midday meals scheme. Though there is no health centre in the College, the health services are taken care of through informal arrangements with reputed doctors and hospitals around the location of the college.

 

Criterion V: Student Support and Progression

General information about the College including its objectives, regulations and facilities is given to the students through the college prospectus and college calendar, which are updated every year. 

 

The College does not have any formal mechanism to collect feedback from students every year.  Feedback is reported to be collected on matters such as teaching methods, infrastructurel facilities and student services in an informal manner through the Students’ Council. However, once in ten years a thorough review of the College by an external body  is done which includes student feedback.

 

Financial aid is given to deserving students in the form of various types of scholarships, and fee concessions.  The college has instituted a special fund named as the Deserving Students’ Fund to help the needy and economically underprivileged students. The fund is used to pay their fees, buy them books, pay their hostel fees and their mess bills etc. The Bonet-Fernandes fund is also used for this purpose.

 

Average student progression to employment and further study after under-graduate level is about 80% while the overall drop-out rate is only three per cent after the huge dropouts for the professional courses settle down.

 

The Counselling Centre renders yeoman service to students, round the year, by providing testing, counselling  and career-guidance facilities to Xavierites and other students. Over 2,500 students take advantage of these services during the year. The Personality and Human Values (PHV) Programme is designed to impart a solid formation in moral, social and religious values to the students.  Though it is not compulsory, over 500 students qualify every year for the PHV certificate awarded to those who have over 60% attendance at these classes. The Learning for Life Programme which offers various short courses, like communication skills, public speaking, naturopathy, etc., also keep attracting a fairly large number of students who participate enthusiastically in these courses.

 

St. Xavier’s has been found to be in the forefront in the sports also. During the academic year 1997-98, the senior College Girls’ Basketball Team had won the Inter-Collegiate Tournament and five  players were selected to represent the Mumbai University team.  The senior College men’s basketball team took the third place in the Inter-Collegiate Tournament and students have been selected to represent the Mumbai University team.  The men’s football team has qualified for the Inter-Collegiate Tournament proper and is soon to contest the quarter-finals.  One of the players has been chosen to represent the Mumbai University as captain. 

 

In boxing, the College has won a gold medal at the inter-collegiate level. The water-polo team has secured the third place in the Inter-Collegiate Tournament and a student was selected to represent Mumbai University, which won the first place at the All-India Inter-Varsity Water Polo Championship. In chess, the men’s team tied for the third place at the inter-collegiate level, putting up noteworthy performances.

 

The state-level Xavier Castrol Open Basketball Tournament was hosted and organized by the college which attracted about 40 of the top teams from Mumbai city and other parts.  At the state-level inter-university sports meet, “Ashwamedh”, held from 27th November to 1st December, 1998 at the Andheri Sports Complex in order to promote AIDS awareness, four students represented Mumbai University:  The college has won laurels in  swimming, basketball and Women’s Volleyball as well.

 

The college can be proud of its alumni who are placed in high positions in various fields. The association of the alumni named the Xavier’s College Association serves as the link between the institution and generations of students who pass out of the College. It supports the institution through fund-raising drives for college projects and other worthy causes like instituting scholarships for the Xavierites. Some of the names are worth recording:

·       Dr. Homi N. Sethna, Former Chairperson, Baba Atomic Centre

·       Mr. S.K. Patil, Former Chief Minister of Maharastra

·       Mr. Nani Palkhiwala, Eminent Jurist and Economist

·       Mr. Zubin Mehta, Symphony Orchestra Conductor

·       Shabana Azmi, Actress and Social Worker

·       Dr. Armaity Desai, Formerly Chairperson, University Grants Commission

·       Mr. Soli Sorabjee, Attorney General of India

·       Mr. C.H. Bhabha, Commerce Minister, Government of India

·       Mrs. Violet Alva, Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabha

·       Mr. M.C. Chagla, Ambassador to US

·       Mr. Sunil Gavaskar, Former Captain, Indian Cricket Team

 

Criterion VI: Organisation and Management

The college is governed by a six-member Governing Council, chaired by the Rector and consisting of the Principal and other Directors of major units on the campus. The Rector is the head of the College and the Principal has powers delegated to him by the Rector.  The functioning of the College has been decentralised.  Each job is assigned to a committee consisting of both teaching and non-teaching staff. A Local Management Committee(LMC) comprising both elected as well as nominated members of teaching and non-teaching staff,  is the body that makes overall policy and decision, constituted as per the Maharashtra Universities Act 1994.

 

It is heartening to note that the institution regularly reviews its functioning once in ten years. In 1997 the management of the College had hired the services of the Behavioural Science Center, Ahmedabad, to carry out an exhaustive review of the working of the College.

 

The College has an in-built mechanism to check the work efficiency of the non-teaching staff. A committee consisting of  the Principal, Vice-Principals and the Registrar of the College oversee the performance of the non-teaching staff.  The College regularly holds training courses such as computer courses and other training courses in office administration for the administrative staff. Whenever such courses are held by other agencies, the administrative staff are deputed to attend those courses.

 

During the last two years, the college had a deficit budget (Rs.12,59,200 in 1996-97 and Rs. 15,35,768 in 1997-98). The college is fully aided by the State Government as far as salary and non-salary grants are concerned. Yet, during the last several years the non-salary grants have not been paid and the pending grants are over Rs. 50 lakhs. However, the Trust Society has been coming forth with necessary funding as and when such contingencies arise. The internal auditing system of the institution is working satisfactorily.

 

The College has a formal grievance redressal mechanisms for students(through Student Council), staff (through Karmachari’s Union) and teachers(through Staff Council) which is functioning effectively. It has a recognised Students’ Union, Staff Association and Non-teaching Staff Association, which give suggestions and make representations on matters concerning them.

 

Criterion VII:  Healthy Practices

The College has some unique features, which enhance the academic ambience of the institution and which have already been dealt with under the various headings.

·       The Heras Institute of Indian History and Culture and its Museum founded in 1926 by the late Rev. Fr. Henry Heras, S.J. as the Indian Historical Research Institute.  It has an excellent Research Library and Museum. It provides guidance and facilities for post-graduate research in the fields of Ancient, Medieval and Modern Indian History, Indian Art and Literature etc.

·       The Social Service League started in 1940 in order to promote adult education and prevent child delinquency

·       The Caius Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research, named after the late Fr. J. F. Caius, S.J, established in 1947 for the purpose of carrying out drug research.  It provides services to all the science departments.

·       The Counselling Centre founded in 1954 that offers the following services: Psychological counselling, Inventories on better personal and social adjustment;, Personality evaluation tests, Testing programmes for vocational purposes, Information on careers and professions etc.

·       The Teacher Assessment Questionnaire introduced in 1968-69 which consists specially formulated questionnaire for the students to evaluate their teachers

·       The Nadkarny-Sacasa Research Laboratory opened in July, 1972 which is a well-equipped laboratory for research in Organic Chemistry.  It attempts to link research with industry.

·       The Indian Music Group founded in 1973 to promote Indian Classical Music in the city, especially among its young people

·       The Malhar Inter-Collegiate Cultural Festival held every year since 1979,  in the month of August, during the rainy season

·       The Learning for Life Programme started in 1980 in order to offer students courses which they could choose voluntarily outside the usual syllabus and lecture hours

·       The Social Science Centre inaugurated in 1980, which focuses on regional and applied research on issues of social concern

·       The Honours Programme introduced in 1985 in order to challenge faculty and students to go beyond the syllabus

·       The Department of Religious Studies inaugurated in 1987 to foster an understanding and appreciation of religions and thereby to contribute towards communal harmony and national integration

·       The Evening Commerce Section  started in 1988-89 for the economically disadvantaged background, to provide them an opportunity to improve their prospects in life

·       Social Involvement Programme introduced in 1996 as an attempt to add a social component to education

·       The Blatter Herbarium started at the end of the last century with a very large number of plants collected by the late Rev. E. Blatter, S.J., his associates and students. It has the  largest collection of plants in Western India.  It provides facilities for the study of Plant system has a well stocked library.

·       The Fell Gymkhana named after Rev. Fr. J.Fell, sj furnished with equipment and facilities for body building and recreation for staff and students of the college.

·       The Smith Center fir Audio-Visual Instruction started in December, 1979 and the Multi-Media Room in June 1997.

Section III: Overall Analysis

The Peer Team is impressed with the institution and would commend it in particular on the following aspects:

·       The various healthy practices listed earlier

·       The goal focus of the institution in providing  the  Indian youth  an all round education and development

·       The support of the Management in all activities of the institution

·       The programmes offered by the institution in addition to the normal ones to enrich the student experience are appreciable

·       The highly talented, motivated and dedicated faculty

·       The cordial relationship that exists between the various constituents of the institution

·       The commitment of the students and their relationship with the faculty that contributes to the institution’s cohesiveness.

·       The trust reposed in their students by the faculty in allowing them to participate in various programmes  as well as make appropriate decisions

 

While commending the great contributions made by the College to promote higher education in the country, the Peer Team would like to make the following suggestions for its future growth and further development:-

·       The college needs to interact with other institutions and industries through visiting faculty for special lectures. Illustrious alumni and others may be invited to deliver lectures on areas of their respective specialisation.

·       Even though the college is providing good education in liberal arts and pure science, there is a need to deliver newer courses with larger job potential like computers, information technology and such other courses.

·       Many more teachers may submit research proposals in their respective fields to funding agencies such as UGC, DST, DOE, CSIR, ICSSR and ICAR.

 

The Peer Team has had a comprehensive view of all the segments of the College. Judged against the background of  the trends and the potential with strong areas in the academic sphere already in existence, the committee wishes a good success in future vistas of growth. The Peer Team places on record its appreciation of the enormous amount of good will and cooperation extended to it by the Management, the Principal, faculty, staff, students and others concerned.

 

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