REPORT OF THE PEER TEAM ON
INSTITUTIONAL ACCREDITATION OF
(Deemed to be university under Section 3, UGC Act)
December 9 to 11, 2002
The Banasthali Vidyapith was established originally in 1935 and became a deemed to be university in 1983. Originally established as a school for girls in the memory of their departed daughter, Shantabai, by her parents, Smt. Ratan Shastri and Pandit Hiralal Shastri, in course of time, it began to offer undergraduate and graduate courses for women. Originally an “Approved Institution” of Rajasthan University, which gave it some degree of autonomy, it subsequently sought university status and became a deemed university in 1983, so that, it could enjoy greater autonomy to achieve its educational goals. It is a women’s university and the only one in the northern states of the country.
The Vidyapith is a unitary university with certificate, diploma and degree programmes and also has a school attached to it. It is situated on 610 acres of land. It has 19 departments with 23 post-graduate courses, 19 Ph.D., 2 M.Phil., 3 Postgraduate Diploma, 7 Diploma, and 10 Certificate courses. There are 196 permanent faculty members, of whom, 125 have only the Master’s Degree, while 57 have Ph.D. and 14 have M.Phil. In addition, there are 20 temporary teachers, of whom, one is part-time and 17 of those 20 have a Master’s Degree only. Two-thirds of the Faculty are women.
The total number of students in the undergraduate programme is 1,159, of whom, 723 is from other states, 60 are NRI and 3 are from overseas (presumably foreign students), while 373 are from the same State. Similarly, in the post-graduate programme, there are 913 students, of whom, 467 students from other States, 133 are NRI, and one student is from overseas, while students from the same State are 312. The total enrolment in the UG/PG degree programmes is 2,072. There are 53 Ph.D. scholars from the same state and 28 from other states, and 9 M.Phil. scholars from the same state. There are no post-doctoral fellows. Among the self-financing courses, there are 698 students, of whom, 374 students are from other states, 190 from the same state and 134 NRI students (almost 24%). Interestingly, as some of the departments offer certificate and diploma courses, there are 1,199 students enrolled. Here again, students from other states are in a majority of 803, while students from the same state are 382 and 14 are NRI students. Hence, as required for a deemed university, the students are drawn, substantially, from the various states of the country.
The fact that students are attracted from other parts of the country in substantial numbers, speaks well of the curriculum and programme of the university. The largest enrolments are in programmes, which have an employment potential, while the traditional humanities and social sciences draw fewer students. The university proposes to develop some more employment-oriented courses in frontier areas such as in Biochemistry and Microbiology, B.Tech. in Computer Science, Electronics and Communication, and Biotechnology, and a post-graduate programme in Textile Designing. However, research projects and consultancy assignments are few. It has shown adherence to the Calendar and the number of days of work are more than those stipulated by the UGC. It also has proposed the need for some infrastructure development. It has an auditorium, gymnasium, swimming pool, various playing fields (hockey, volley ball, basket ball, tennis), indoor games of tennis and badminton, horse riding, and an airstrip for courses in flying and gliding. It has 11 hostels for the university students and 5 for the school, while it has 220 staff quarters for all levels of staff. There is one hostel for working women. The Campus is self-sufficient with a market, and a post-office. Local buses ply to it along with their own to the local station. It has a Central Library with only a few departmental libraries. There is Campus Networking and connection with INFLIBNET (UGC).
A peer team comprising of Dr.(Ms.) Armaity S. Desai, Former Chairperson, UGC (Chairperson), Prof. Veena R. Mistry, Former Pro-Vice Chancellor, M.S. University, Baroda (Member), Prof. Sushila Kaushik, Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi, (Member), Prof. S.K. Jain, Jamia Hamdard University (Member), Prof. K.V. Ramakrishnamacharyulu, Dean, Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapith, Tirupati (Member) and Prof. S.C. Patil, Kannada University (Member), visited the Vidyapith from 9-11th December, 2002. As per the usual practice of NAAC, the team interacted with the Director of the Institute, Secretary, Faculty Members, Students and non teaching staff, visited the various facilities and checked documents to validate the self study report.
Based on the above exercise, and the criteria provided by NAAC, the peer team has assessed the institution, and given its judgment. It has taken into consideration features that are commendable, as well as issues of concern reflected by the peer team.
II CRITERIA-WISE ANALYSIS
Criterion I : Curricular Aspects
A center for Women’s education, the Vidyapith aims at “Panchmukhi Shiksha” endeavouring to develop an integrated and balanced personality of the students, Due to the unitary character, the Vidyapith enjoys autonomy in its educational and academic programmes.
The Vidyapith has different undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses of traditional, unconventional, professional and vocational nature. It has nine (9) Faculties, viz. science, mathematical science, social science, management, home science, education and fine arts. The programmes encompass a wide spectrum of disciplines from computer science to biological and physical sciences to business management, humanities including arts, fine and performing arts, home science and foundation courses including Indian Cultural heritage, Women’s Studies and one vocational course. Since gaining the status of Deemed to be university, postgraduate curricula in emerging areas have been introduced. Notable among those are Electronics, Biotechnology, Computer Science and Women in Management etc. Curriculum innovations include introduction of the semester system limited to postgraduate programmes of Science Faculty. A participatory learner centered programme is being attempted. There is an inter disciplinary M. Phil. Programme in Social Sciences which is a laudable attempt. However, the content of the course needs to be reviewed. In courses of professional nature, mainly Management and Computer Science University-Industry linkage programmes are undertaken. The residential setting, adequate student-teacher ratio and a conscious effort to reach out to the students lends itself to healthy interaction among teachers and students.
The Dual Degree programme offered at UG level in most departments creates better opportunities for students.
Towards the exercise of curriculum formation consideration is accorded to conceptual and practical components of a programme. The resources for the formulation of courses include national curricular sources and input from experts. The mechanism for the formulation and revision of courses involves inputs from Boards of Studies, expert committees, Faculty and Academic Councils. Representation of experts on Board of Studies and related academic bodies is 19%. The existing courses are reviewed annually. Rarely are programmes/courses discontinued after introduction. Besides the Academic Council, in- house Departmental meetings are held to review programmes and courses.
Inspite of the proviso for curriculum revision and ease in its implementation due to the unitary character of the institution the curriculum of some departments is not up to date in content and orientation. This restricts the scope of the discipline and future opportunities for graduating students. In these departments the review of courses needs to be pursued in a scientific manner. In front line areas of Computer Education, Electronics, Bio-technology and WISDOM use of modern technologies, research activities, Industry-Institution interaction and placement are well organized. However, traditional courses need career orientation, in these courses knowledge emanating from research and other sources with their implication for curriculum and use of technology remain limited. Such courses also need to incorporate field-based experiences.
There are ample opportunities for students to participate in curricular, co-curricular and sports activities beyond the syllabi and most students avail of these opportunities based on their interest. In doing so there are great deal of inter-disciplinary learning experiences for students as they interact with students and teachers from different disciplines. Activities of sports include aviation, horse riding, dancing and music which lends an air of vibrancy in the campus.
There is a high level of dedication and cordial relationship among teachers, hostel and administrative staff.
Criterion II : Teaching, Learning and Evaluation
The Vidyapith has a wide spectrum of courses offered in the Humanities, Languages, Sciences, Fine Arts and Performing Arts and Vocational courses. The teaching - learning process maintains a certain degree of uniformity across programmes for learner autonomy, and also provides options of main and parallel stream academic courses.
The practices of teaching and learning need to be reviewed vis-à-vis certain programmes of study with increment in outreach-programmes, field based experiences, improved and substantial linkage with surrounding villages and sensitisation of students to concerns and issues of women.
The admission procedure for students include combination of academic records, entrance test and interviews.
The budget for the year 2000-2001 indicates that 69% of the total annual outlay is spent on academic programmes which includes salaries, library and departmental expenditure.
On an average, the Vidyapith functions for 233 days per annum, out of which 212 are average teaching days. Ninety percent of teaching is done by full time faculty, and there is one part-time faculty. The total contact hours range from 38-48 hours per week comprising of 32-36 hours of main stream courses and 6 to 12 hours of parallel courses. The total number of teachers in the Vidyapith are 196, out of which 57 are Ph.D., 14 are M. Phil. and 125 have postgraduate qualifications. Among the 20 temporary teachers, 2 are M. Phil. degree holders and 18 have postgraduate qualifications, inclusive of one part-time teacher. There is a substantial number of teachers who do not have a Ph. D. degree. The Vidyapith needs to facilitate and motivate them to acquire the required qualification.
The total strength of students at the UG and the PG level is 2072. At the UG level, 373 students are from within the state, 723 from outside the state, 60 NRI and 3 overseas students. At the post graduate level 312 students are from within the state, 467 are from outside the state, 133 NRI and 1 overseas student.
There are totally 97 students pursuing M. Phil. and Ph. D. studies, from which 63 are from within the state and 34 are from outside the state. There are 16 students enrolled for M. Phil. and 81 for Ph. D. degrees.
The total number of students pursuing diploma and certificate courses is 1199, among them 382 are from within the state, 803 from outside the state and 14 are NRI. Enrolment in self-financing courses includes 190 students from within the state, 374 from outside the state and 134 NRI. The representation of students from various parts of the country creates an integrated environment, a consciously planned effort to learn about socio-cultural practices of different regions as a learning experience could be integrated into the curriculum of Social Sciences and Home Science.
Among non-teaching staff, there are totally 81 administrative staff and 109 technical staff. The student teacher ratio varies across departments from 5:1 to 66:1. The ratio of teaching staff to non-teaching staff is 1:1.13. Unit cost per student is Rs. 41,885.
The Vidyapith has both annual and semester system, the latter has been introduced in postgraduate science courses. From the time the Vidyapith has received the Deemed University status, the evaluation system has 20% for internal or continuous evaluation and 80% for external assessment. The practice of setting the papers and conduct of examinations includes setting of final examination papers by external examiners. Vidyapith follows traditional evaluation practices with retotalling of marks prior to tabulation and a scope for re-evaluation and double evaluation at Ph. D. level in controversial cases. There is a student redressal process for grievance in relation to examinations. The University conducts examinations and announces results regularly.
In a unitary university setting there are ample opportunities to implement innovative evaluation practices. There is need of review 20% internal and 80 % external evaluation system. Increase in weightage of continuous evaluation process by using methods such as field based experiences, project work (group and individual), assignments, library research etc. would make the teaching learning and evaluation process more relevant. Introduction of semester system in other departments can also be considered.
At present there is no planned programme for in-house Faculty Development Programme within the system. However, during the past two years, 54 teachers benefited from attending faculty development programme organised by other institutions. The faculty acquires information on new developments via library facilities, internet access and by attending seminars, conferences, workshop, refresher courses etc. There is a campus wide networking which is availed by almost all the faculty. Some departments have access to the network. The other departments should be linked to the network at the earliest. In the past two years twenty teachers have acted as resource persons and 119 have participated at various seminars. During the same periods four teachers have availed of study leave and one sabbatical leave .
At present there are no national and international linkages for teaching, however there is evidence of interest in this area. The teacher evaluation process includes student evaluation, reports from Deans and Heads of the Departments and in-house discussions. There is a need to improve Faculty Development Programme and interdisciplinary academic interactions. A formal system of assessment of the Faculty at Post Graduate level needs to be introduced across the Vidyapith. In service programmes and activities of academic nature such as seminars and workshops need to be introduced.
The teaching learning process has various instructional inputs according to the needs of the programmes, which include seminars, projects, workshops, and field-based activities. Students can participate in various sports activities. Drama workshops and summer Fresco workshops are held annually. Teachers and students together participate in music programmes. Vidyapith conducts various programmes to enrich and inform students about India’s rich cultural heritage and secular tradition.
Criterion III : Research, Consultancy and Extension
Research has been a component of the Vidyapith’s higher education even before its attainment of Deemed University status. However, earlier it concentrated mainly on Doctoral research but over the past ten years, the efforts have expanded to include institutional and individual research projects.
Nineteen departments in the Vidyapith have research programmes leading to M.Phil and Ph.D. degrees. There are 12 full time and 76 part time research scholars and more than 34% of the faculty members are involved in research activities in their disciplines. Quite a few teachers have authored books and have a number of research publications to their credit.
In the last five years nineteen departments have reported around 10 research projects. As research work is almost absent in some of the departments it is necessary that a plan for development of research be initiated.
The campus is networked and has fax, INFLIBNET (a UGC programme). Internet access , interlibrary loans and computing resources.
The Vidyapith has provided limited consultancy services. In this direction, efforts have been initiated. For example, consultancy services have been given to DOEACC, Ministry of Information and Technology, Government of India, by the Department of Computer Science and Electronics in Development of Manuscripts and Online Courseware for their ‘O’ Level Courses.
The Vidyapith has held a few regional and national level workshops, seminars, conferences and symposia in various disciplines. Similarly the faculty have participated in some national and international programmes. Besides these, the Vidyapith has organised:
a) Workshop - camp for training in Fresco painting are annually held during summers on campus wherein very eminent painters also participate.
b) As part of the TDIL, DOE, GoI, programme from 1991-1995, the teachers and teacher educators from various colleges and schools of the state of Rajasthan have been trained in CALT ( Computer Assisted Learning and Teaching) under a project at the Department of Computer Science. This was a major breakthrough in the area of education and since then the Vidyapith has been a pioneer in the field of CALT. It has CALT as a regular component in its B.Ed. and M.Ed. curricula.
Some of the research findings and project outcomes of the faculty and students have been published in the form of books, reports, monographs and articles in journals and periodicals. Various newsletters are brought out by different Departments from time to time to keep the members abreast of the Vidyapith with its activities and achievements.
The NSS with its motto ‘Service to humanity’, organizes year long activities such as blood donation camps, medical camp, adult education, community development, and awareness programmes on AIDS and environment.
The linkages between research and extension need to be further explored. A synergy between the two would help in creating an atmosphere conducive for more research which is relevant to society. In general the Faculty and research scholars should avail more of the facilities for research provided by the infrastructure, UGC and other resources. The consultancy capacities would increase when the research and extension are further encouraged and strengthened. In this way the benefit and impact of the Vidyapith may be taken to avoid a area.
For an institution that began with an aim to have an impact on the nearby environment and its inhabitants the extension and out reach programme is limited in scope and coverage. Even in Departments where the field work programme exists there are no concerted efforts at formulating and planning need based, long term sustainable programmes that would have an impact on concerned issues of problems of the community. The programmes have been restricted to some departments and limited mainly to student participation and occasionally student research projects. Other involvement has been through NSS and BSD but again it is not continuous and sustainable where it is intended to have an impact.
It is an excellent concept to have a Krishi Vigyan Kendra on the campus but its functioning remains in isolation. Planned, concerted effort of collaboration with KVK and Vidyapith is crucial. The utilisation of this facility in reaching out to the community in a meaningful and sustained manner by different department should be a prime concerned of the Vidyapith.
Future planning should envisages involvement of all the departments and its students in its extension programmes.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
The Vidyapith has its own land of 610 acres in which there are at present 18 academic blocks housing various departments, Central Library, auditorium and administrative offices. Being a residential institution, it necessarily provides residential accommodation to all its staff and students. There are in all 16 hostels (including 5 for school students) and more than 220 staff quarters and one Working Women’s Hostel with 72 seats. The campus has provision for good games and sports programme. The Laxmi Bai Maidan 26,690 sq. metres is used for activities such as Parade and Annual Fairs. It also has a stage and projection room for cultural programmes and film shows . The Vidula Maidan 41,950 sq metres has fields for games such as Hockey, Volleyball, Basket Ball and Tennis and Yoga, Martial Arts and Mass Physical Display activities. In addition , space for indoors games such as Badminton, Table Tennis is also available .
There is a swimming pool where students learn swimming as per specified schedule. There is a licensed air strip of 50,191,418 sq. meters in the Vidyapith which is used for training the students in gliding and flying. This has been one of the activities introduced as early as 1960 even before Banasthali Vidyapith got University status. Another unique activity carried on since long is Horse Riding for which there are 32 Horses and a 25,390 sq metres field ‘Veer Bala Maidan’ and a trainer. The above details clearly indicate that there is provision for effective implementation of its programme of “Panchmukhi Shiksha”. The 200 capacity auditorium is regularly used for various cultural and academic programmes, concerts and lectures by guest artists and speakers, memorial lectures and so on. However, there is a dire need for a large auditorium to be adequate for the increasing requirements.
The Central Library of the Vidyapith has over one and a half lakh volumes and is equipped with reprographic facility. The library is connected to the UGC Inflibnet programme. In addition, there are several departmental libraries catering to the needs of the respective departments. The efforts are on to link these libraries through the Vidyapith’s Campus network. The students and faculty have access to Internet via a 512 kbps BSNL leased line and a Campus wide network having its central server at the Apaji Institute. The network and Internet access have recently been extended to the two hostels housing Computer Science Postgraduate students where a computer with network is provided in each room. This provides them unlimited opportunities to unleash the power of the Internet. On the other hand one part of the campus which houses the Social Sciences, the Department of Education are not yet covered but efforts are being made to improve the situation.
The Vidyapith has its own hospital, Arogya Mandir, with 60 beds, three Doctors and one Vaidya and other hospital staff. The hospital works round the clock throughout the year. The location of the Vidyapith being in the interior, it does not have any access to public hotels or guest houses. Round the year, there are guests on Campus for University assignments and /or parents and guardians of the students and visitors who are accommodated in the guest house. A new guest house has come up with full facilities. The Vidyapith has its own vehicles-one bus , two minibuses, four jeeps and four cars.
Besides these, there are adequate basic services made available on campus such as Post and Telegraph Office, three PCOs and a Telephone Exchange Extension Counter, Banks, a small market and restaurant.
There is a wide participation of students in all the activities that the Vidyapith provides on campus. Annual participation in youth festivals, tournaments at the state and national levels and other such competitions is an indication of this. Due recognition is given to such participation in the Vidyapith’s admission procedure. In fact, it is observed that even the relatively weaker students leave the campus quite enriched and more confident. Although a formal record of the Vidyapith’s alumni does not as yet exist, several of the alumni have made distinct mark in varied fields. These include –political leaders, IAS officers, many doctors and engineers, scientists, artists and of course teachers.
The Vidyapith provides financial support to the needy students in the form of merit-cum-need scholarship . It also awards them merit scholarships.
Apart from the UGC grants financial support from the Government of Rajasthan and other State Governments and industry are sought to meet the need for augmenting the infrastructure. The institution has a separate unit for campus maintenance and budget provision for the same. The Vidyapith also has an extension center at Jaipur in computer courses for meeting the needs of girls. This also facilitates interaction with industry and meets the constraints of limited hostel accommodation.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
Banasthali Vidyapith looks like essentially student centred institution where all the students are residential, with the children of the staff and neighbourhood villages constituting small proportion of day scholars. The total number of students enrolled during last two batches of UG and PG amount to 2072. Out of this number the dropout rate in the first four months varies between 1.74 to 4.48%. The dropout rate in the subsequent months is negligible. There are 1199 students in Diploma and Certificate courses and 698 students in self financing courses. This amounts to a total of about 3969 students on the campus. Out of these 123 are day scholars; 1319 are from the same state of Rajasthan; 2402 are from other states; 341 NRI and 4 students are from overseas. In addition, the Banasthali Vidyapith also runs a school where upto Class IV it admits children of the staff and neighbourhood. From class IV onwards it has boarding facilities for girls upto class XII. It conducts its own school examinations and issues its own school leaving certificates.
In the last two years the success rate in all courses is almost 100% and the dropout rate is negligible. The number of students from other states is double (723) that from Rajasthan in UG courses (373); this is also true of PG courses although proportionately less (467:312). On an average 2 to 3 students from each department seem to get through NET but a few more write the tests. The number of JRF scholars is negligible. Sixty to seventy percent of PG students are from their own UG courses. Quite a number of UG students (75%) are from their own school.
Limited data is available on the number of alumni who continue in education/academic career or other jobs. There is no collection of alumni information taking place except in the Departments of Education and Management.
Eighteen percent students get fellowships. The source of these scholarships are State Governments, industries, bank loans, Rajasthan government and merit scholarships. 250 ST and SC students and 127 others get the fellowships in the university.
Informal counselling is available to the students by the teachers and others. Being a residential university, teachers, wardens and authorities are available all the time. Computer/Management departments undertake orientation and vocational (informal) counselling.
Both Central and department libraries have adequate number of books and journals in most of the subjects. Student can issue from both and the loss of books is minimal. Students have easy access to the central library since it is open from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
The Vidyapith has excellent provision for co-curricular activities by way of dance, music, sports, parallel and hobby courses. They have provision for awarding certificates and diplomas. These activities inspire students to work collectively, develop commitment to and pride in the institution and perhaps also help students to better in academic performance.
The girls seem to be appreciative of these facilities being available on ‘no fees’ basis, which are normally available only to girls of rich families or elite schools in the country.
The girls appreciate the moderate nature of fees (may be Rs.45,000/-) including tuition, examination, hostel accommodation and food for a three year degree course enabling families in the middle income group to admit their children.
The Vidyapith has 17 hostels of which 11 are for higher education. However, the available accommodation is insufficient as it limits the enrolment in different courses. Interestingly there are no problems of congestion as the hostels are built in a traditional structural pattern with open varandah and ‘Angan’ (central court). Girls are happy with the physical infrastructure, food and over all atmosphere in the hostels. The wardens have a warm and nurturing relationship. Festivals of different religions are celebrated. Film shows are organized by the Vidyapith within the campus every fortnight in the open theatre.
There is placement services only in Computer and Management Courses where students seem to have a good future with many of them getting jobs immediately. The Jaipur Extension Centre in Computer Courses has been started to make the courses available to a large number of students. It facilitates placement and interaction with industries. Economics and History departments are conscious of need to work out courses with job orientation, but there are no concrete plans as yet.
Free shuttle bus service is available every half an hour to connect various departments and hostels. The Vidyapith has provided cycle rikshaws for transport within the campus at moderate payment. The Vidyapith must develop a system for follow up on alumni, collect information and help formulate an association. A convenient shopping centre also exists within the campus.
There is no formal and organized career and personal counselling either in the beginning or during the year. There is no orientation course as such, but informal counselling is available. There is no grievance redressal mechanism.
Criterion VI: Organization and Management
Banasthali Vidyapith Society was registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act 1860, to establish, takeover or run educational institutions of professional education and training. The main organs of the Society are the General Council, Executive Council, Finance Committee and Academic Council.
All the members of the Society are the members of the General Council, who elect the office bearers the President, Vice-president and Treasurer.
The General Council unanimously or by 2/3 majority invites an eminent personality to be advisor of the activities of the Society for 5 years. He is called “Adhisthta.”
The Executive Council is headed by the president of the General Council, in which the Vice-president, Director, Treasurer, Co-ordinator for School Education, Deans, Secretary, and other persons, declared as members for the Executive Council are members.
The Executive Council is the executive body of the Vidyapith and except as provided otherwise in the rules, exercises all powers of the Vidyapith. It meets every three months to take decisions concerning the executive procedures and programmes. The Executive Council takes decisions on curriculum, appointments, starting of new departments and courses, creation and abolition of posts, recruitment rules, Bye-laws and Budgetary proposals which are proposed or recommended by the Academic Council and Finance Committee.
The Academic Council is headed by the Director, which consists of Deans, Professors, Heads of the Departments, one member of the teaching staff of each Faculty, one nominee each from the UGC and Government. of Rajasthan, six members nominated by the President, Chief Librarian and Chief Warden. The Academic Council meets once a year to examine and consider the proposals from the Departments regarding academic matters, such as the creation of new Departments, posts, courses, and syllabi, and recommends the same to the Executive Council.
There are Boards of Studies also for each subject, which meets annually and revise the syllabi. It is observed that the syllabi are reviewed and revised periodically, taking into consideration the change of trends in the society.
The Finance Committee prepares the Budget for the financial year, taking into consideration both plan and non-plan grants (33%) received from Governments, fees (50%) and from other sources. As per the discussion with the officials of the Vidyapith, it is learnt that the grants being received from the UGC and the Government of Rajasthan are enough only to meet 33% of the expenditure of the Vidyapith. The remaining 67% of expenditure is being met from the money received from other sources i.e. fees (50%), interest on deposits, donations and income from property. The authorities of the Vidyapith are to be congratulated for their efforts to make the Vidyapith self-supportive with a reasonable fee structure.
The Director, who is the Head of the Vidyapith is appointed by the President of the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Screening Committee, for a period of five years.
The Secretary, who is the administrative head of the Vidyapith is appointed for a term of 5 years, and he/she will be the Secretary for all Committees of the Vidyapith including the General Council of the Society.
There are nine faculties in the Vidyapith. One of the professors of each Faculty will become Dean, on rotation for three years.
The Vidyapith has approved Bye-laws, which consist of recruitment rules and other matters connected with the administration and academics. The UGC rules are strictly followed for the recruitment of teaching staff.
The Vidyapith budget is regularly audited by both the private and government auditors. All the policy matters about the structural aspects of the Vidyapith are within the purview of the General Council.
Though there are no formal self-appraisal reports from employees, decisions are based on informal feedback from the students, peer group, Heads and Deans.
The staff has opportunity for deputation to various orientation and refresher courses of the UGC. However, their participation in conferences, workshops and seminars at the national and international levels needs to be promoted further. The Career Advancement scheme, which is in the Bye-laws should be fully implemented. Housing is available to all the staff of the Vidyapith.
Modernization of the office with use of computers by the staff even other than those in finance and their training, are required.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
The Vidyapith has a number of other mechanisms to support its functioning. To supplement the finances, the institution has a relatively high fee structure. However, Vidyapith offers a number of co-curricular and extra-curricular facilities to the students for which extra fees is not charged. Some of theses activities such as flying and horse riding are very expensive. Further it has also started a number of self financing courses specially in high demand and job oriented areas. These courses, on the one hand, cater to the need of the students, on the other hand, these programmes also help the institution in generation of funds and probably help in sustaining the other programmes.
There are many qualified teachers. However, Vidyapith should appoint more teachers with Ph.D. and should encourage the young faculty to further their qualifications. It would be more beneficial in the long run and will further strengthen these courses. These teachers would be instrumental in developing focussed research programmes in key areas. The institution has very few linkages, both national and international and is developing joint programmes. Some collaborations are already working. Such linkages should be able to induce many youngsters to undertake research, develop new programmes, publish high quality papers and help in strengthening the ongoing research programmes. This may increase the number of extra-mural research projects, their outlays and also the consultancy work and generate more funds for research.
The Vidyapith is concerned about the all round development of students. They have created an environment that imparts programmes aimed at value based education and provide experience to students that make them not only good in academics but also a good citizen and would benefit the society at large. The concept of `Panchmukhi Shiksha’ is praiseworthy. Many aspects of the `Panchmukhi Shiksha’ have been incorporated in the formal education syllabus. The formal education is supplemented by cultivating a sense of community living in the students. The residential character of the institute where the students live in the hostel helps in these feelings. The hostels provide a family type environment where the wardens and teachers have a pivotal role. There are all religion morning and evening prayers which cultivate respect for all the regions and harmony among all the residents. All the students, teachers and staff members wear only Khadi on the campus. This is a tradition started by Gandhiji during pre-independent period. The importance of this does not need to be emphasized. This is one of the very few institutions which maintains this tradition. The girls appreciate this tradition and see it as a symbol of equality. The Vidyapith is greatly influenced by Gandhian philosophy. The faculty members also reside in the campus. There is a close interaction between the students and the faculty members. The students call the teachers and wardens as ‘jiji’ and Secretary is fondly known as ‘Dada’ and is readily accessible to students and staff members for their problems, counselling etc. Personal attention is to paid to each student.
The institute offers the programmes like NSS, BSD etc. The sports facilities are very good and help in the over all personality development of students. The students get full opportunity to participate in these activities. The academic programmes of the Vidyapith have wide degree of flexibility. There is appreciation of women specific issues and empathy with women staff.
III Overall Analysis
Areas to be commended
Areas of Concern and Suggestions to which the Institution may give consideration
- The institution has widened opportunity for higher education of women even in cases where they may not otherwise have had access.
- The institution has been developing and offering new courses in frontier areas to women and seeks to do so also in the future.
- It offers dual honours and facility to take a vocational course with the degree. It also has six foundation courses.
- Its statutory procedures facilitate changes to be implemented in the curriculum following the year in which these are initiated.
- There is full utilisation of the infrastructure with a number of course offerings by the department. A unique feature is the offer of certificate and diploma programmes which a student can take parallel to the degree and learn skills in an area of interest such as music, dance, computers, textile designing and flying.
- Being residential, it gives full scope for student participation in curricular and extra/co-curricular activities, and attracts students from all over the country, who are proportionately greater than the students from the same State.
- The institution offers many opportunities for games and creative activities and attempts to make up for its remoteness from the city of Jaipur by offering programmes on campus, including films.
- It has campus-wide events that make for togetherness, development of institutional identity and teamwork.
- It acknowledges that, while it is unable to include all its objectives (physical, practical, aesthetic, moral and intellectual) in the curriculum, it attempts to do so through its extra/co-curricular activities in which a majority of students participate.
- There is considerable infrastructure development.
- There is adherence to the Calendar in terms of the number of days of work and examination schedule.
- There is a conscious attempt to provide opportunities usually reserved for men such as through swimming, horse riding and flying/gliding.
- The outcome reported is that there is a change in the personality of the students from the time they enter to the time that they leave the institution as a result of the campus living and the opportunities to which they are exposed.
- That the institution has allocated 20% to continuous assessment is a positive step.
- The institution has a very conducive atmosphere for the all round development of the students including a warm and nurturing human environment.
- Empowerment of women appears to be an underlining philosophy with its articulation mainly reflected in some of the courses selected in the frontier areas, which increase the potential for their employment or in extra/co-curricular activities. There is a Foundation course for all programmes on gender sensitisation of the students. Besides creating the necessary environment, students need to develop greater consciousness of gender issues in Indian society by way of both classroom and extra/co-curricular activities. The courses, especially in the Social Sciences also need to examine the gender issues. A full degree programme on Women’s Studies, or on Women and Development, may be offered at the Master’s or the M.Phil. level. Various activities, such as seminars, workshops, and discussion groups, should be held for both students and Faculty and, even for administrative and support staff, including the men. A Department of Women’s Studies may be included in the Tenth Plan of the University and the UGC scheme accessed thereafter.
- The research work is very negligible in the Vidyapith. In five years, 19 departments report only 10 research projects. The number of publications in several Departments are also few. Most of the teachers seem mainly to guide students for the Ph.D. A university stands for the generation of knowledge and not only its transmission. It cannot claim university status only as a teaching institution. Hence, it is very necessary that a planned development of research be initiated and even younger members, without a Ph.D., are encouraged to take up small studies in their area of interest. The Vidyapith needs to do considerable thinking on the strategy needed to promote research. It already stresses on intellectual development (Panchmukhi Shiksha). An atmosphere needs to be created, even for bachelor’s and master’s students, to undertake small group projects related to their discipline.
- There is a need to focus on encouraging the Faculty to complete their Ph.D., as it is noted that a very large number of permanent staff (125 out of 196) does not have it.
- There is a need for greater stimulation for Faculty development programmes. There is inadequate participation of the Faculty in external workshops, seminars and conferences, and other activities like the sabbatical and international exchanges. Similarly, there are too few workshops and seminars on campus that bring outsiders. As a result of lack of opportunities for interface with the larger academic community and lack of recognition through research, the Faculty have little opportunity to offer consultancy in a specific area of expertise.
- Similarly, administrative staff should also have such opportunities to attend training programmes, such as those offered by Punjab University at Chandigarh and Jamia Milia Islamia.
- The extension work is mainly based on the traditional activities like NSS, KVK and BSD. The programmes are adhoc, lack continuity of impact and sustained effort towards change. The Vidyapith is situated in a state, which is often described as backward on several parameters, including the status of girls and women. The institution could develop field action programmes to reach out to those persons, at least in their immediate neighbourhood. such as improving the quality of the zilla parishad schools. Development of programmes for women could be another area. Even the Department of Home Science does not have any specific community based extension work of a long term nature and does not provide students opportunity for development of skills. The Faculty and the students could identify many issues for action.
- Traditional courses, such as in the humanities and social sciences need to examine how they could offer, either through options, or parallel certificate, more career oriented subjects. For example, with the greater demand in the area of both print and visual media, students enrolling for languages, could be offered courses in publishing, journalism, script writing for the visual media. Each of the social sciences could identify the subjects that could offer employability. Economics, public administration and sociology could come alive with hands-on experiences. Psychology is another area that is conspicuous by its absence, but it has several areas of employability such as student counselling and industrial counselling.
- Even where opportunities exist, there are inadequate inter-disciplinary activities. Research is one area where this could be facilitated, especially in the Social Sciences, Home Science and Education departments.
- It is rather surprising that almost all students, and in some Departments all students, get a first class. The method of marking needs to be reviewed.
- The courses in the traditional subjects need to be updated with reference books which are recent publications.
- The institution could consider full internal evaluation of student examinations if it has confidence to do it. It could be undertaken jointly also with external evaluators.
- There is no self-evaluation by teachers. This should be instituted. The UGC had sought to do so in the early nineties and all institutions were required to institute it. The present system appears to be ad hoc though feedback is said to be obtained.
- The institution has the goal of full development of the individual through its educational programme (Panchmukhi Shiksha), covering the physical, practical, aesthetic, moral and intellectual development. It may re-examine the way in which these could be incorporated to a greater extent in the context of the curriculum which enables the student to have greater exposure to practice and project work, as well as theory, even in its traditional courses. Also, to attain the objective of one of the Panchmukhi Shiksha, “moral education,” it may be stressed through greater involvement in civil society and on issues which should concern them most, that is, the empowerment of women, both for their own benefit and for those less fortunate than themselves. This will have a ripple effect in their adult lives. Another way to implement the objective of physical development, the degrees in B.P.Ed. and M.P.Ed. may be instituted.
- Aside from the very general objective of personality development of the students through Panchmukhi Shiksha, the institution needs to have specific objectives, which guide its selection of degree programmes and the curriculum content. Without such specific objectives, selection of courses will become random, being driven to a greater extent by the factors operating in the external environment, rather than the philosophy or vision of the institution.
- With respect to the various statutory bodies of the Vidyapith, meetings of Boards of Studies and Academic Council are held only once a year. This may seem infrequent when items may have to be returned for further work and resubmission. It would seem that there would be considerable loss of time in the decision making process. It is possible that if the Academic Council were to meet more frequently, it could encompass the work of all the Departments and also make policies on other issues. Collegiate participatory decision-making is the hallmark of academic functioning in the institution. The association of Faculty and Administrative, Non statutory committees increases skills in planning and decision making and develops a sense of ownership of the institution.
- In every response of the Departments to the query on the representation of the teachers on Committees, only the statutory bodies are mentioned. Since all 196 Faculty cannot be accommodated, it is presumed that they get the opportunity by rotation. However, it would be more pertinent to note how many of the Faculty are represented on one or the other Committees functioning in the Institute besides the statutory bodies.
- It is noted that there is no Grievance Committee. Moreover, the UGC had sent a circular on sexual harassment to establish a special committee and procedures in every university and every college. There is no mention of such a Committee. Although the Vidyapith is for women, it is not uni-gender in all respects. Hence, such a Committee is essential to be set up.
The Vidyapith may set up Committees to discuss the above recommendations made by the peer team, and the statutory bodies may consider their suggestions for implementation. The implementation of the recommendations will further enhance the status of the institution in the community of academic institutions in the country.
The committee wishes to place on record its appreciation for the cooperation extended to them towards the fulfilment of its task.
Names and signatures of the members of the peer team.
1. Chairperson 2. Member 3. Member
4. Member 5. Member 6. Member
I agree with the observations and recommendations made by the peer team in this report.
Name of Head of Institution