Blending conventional learning with contemporary is our forte - Dr N Maragatham

Though there are multitudes of academic institutions that have been offering quality education to myriad students, however, here is one institute (Vellalar College for Women) that caters to the needs of rural students, especially the farmer community. The institute focuses on educating the marginalised and the economically weaker sections from the rural areas. Meha Mathur strikes a conversation with Dr N Maragatham, Principal, Vellalar College for Women, Erode and unfolds several elements of the academia there.

Excerpts from the Interview:

Careers360: What are the strengths and USPs of your college, which have enabled it to become one of the top 100 colleges of the country?
Dr N Maragatham: Vellalar College for Women caters to the needs of the socially and economically marginalized rural especially the farmer community. Besides achievements like autonomy conferred in the year 2007-2008, the College with Potential for Excellence (CPE), 57th position in NIRF, re-accredition with NAAC ‘A’ Grade (3.43) in III cycle, DST-FIST funding, DBT Star College funding (on-going), TNSTC-Science Awareness funding, ICMR-Research project funding, DBT-fold scope funding, TNSTC-Student project funding, the college has some pluses which attract nearly 6,050 students presently on role. These are academic enrichment committees, social responsibility initiatives, library with digital facility, Data Documentation Centre and Placement Cell.

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Careers360: What are the popular courses at your college?
Dr N Maragatham: The college offers 23 UG courses, 13 PG programmes and 12 Research programmes, 13 UGC and university approved certificate courses. The most sought after courses are English Literature, Maths, Physics, Commerce fits core branches, Commerce (Professional Accounting) exclusively for CA aspirants, Computer Science, Chemistry, Nutrition & Dietetics, Costume Design & Fashions and BBA (CA). The popularity of these courses is due to the career opportunities, research prospects and corporate connect programmes they hold out.

Careers360: How has the college kept pace with the new pedagogical and technological advances, and with infrastructure requirements?
Dr N Maragatham: Blended learning is its forte as the conventional teaching is enhanced by the integration of techno-supported learning which is addressed by ICT complemented pedagogy and e-learning viz. Staff and student registration in SWAYAM and MOOCs, Virtual Simulations, Google Form, E-Pathshala, NDLI, NAD, NPTEL, Spoken Tutorial, Camtesia, digital content development and generation of Multi-Media Learning resources.

This is complemented and supplemented by the campus infrastructure which houses Language & Career Labs, Maths LAB, Central Research Laboratory, Virtual Lab, hi-tech computer labs, smart classrooms, CBCS and OBE Academic Pattern, Online Examinations, Automation in Examination System and Administration etc., Combining pedagogy leveraged with technology and experimental exposures has become an integral part of the academics thereby bridging the gap between application and abstraction.

Our faculty members have got national level training on Research Based Pedagogical Teaching (RBPT) offered by Sheffield Hallam University,UK and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune and sponsored by MHRD and British Council. Two faculty members got selected upto the third level and pedagogical training given by them internally to the other faculty members, making RBPT an inherent pedagogical tool in our teaching methodology.

Careers360: What cultural and sports life can students expect in your college?
Dr N Maragatham: Talent shows, classic and the contemporary cultural competition, traditional festive celebration and annual day variety entertainment bring the students with various inborn and acquired skill under the umbrella of cultural events.

The Physical Education department hones the athletic fervor of the youth through track and other events and it also caters to the students’ zeal in diverse sports like swimming, shooting, volleyball, basket ball, badminton and the sprawling playground is the most happening place for inter and intramural tournaments .Yoga, Meditation, Health & fitness are also considered as the main features of Physical Education department. Centre for Martial Arts trains the students on the defensive skills such as Karate, Taekwondo, Silambam, Shooting and Boxing.

Careers360: What are the challenges before the college?
Dr N Maragatham: Breaking the gender-based stereotypes to empower the girl students from semi-urban areas is the biggest challenge.

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