“Our education is a blend of traditional and modern innovative methodologies”: Dr Robert Arockiasamy
Meha Mathur, 11 Jul 2019, #St Xavier's College, Ahmedabad

Some of the factors responsible for the good ranking (in top 100) of St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad in the country are well-structured curriculum, well qualified faculty, democratic leadership and well-structured organogram, collaborations and tie-ups, opportunities to students for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to promote holistic development, etc. However, the institute faces certain set of challenges too in areas like skewed staff, student-faculty ratio, vacant posts, and taking research to the next level, etc. Meha Mathur takes us through several departments and unfolds the known and unknown factors at the college via this interview with Dr Robert Arockiasamy, Principal, St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad.

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 Robert Arockiasamy:

Strengths: Some of the factors include well-structured curriculum, quality in imparting education, well qualified faculty; democratic leadership and well-structured organogram, good infrastructure, diverse titles in the Library, research culture, collaborations and tie-ups to enhance overall growth of students, equity and inclusiveness, opportunities given to students for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities to promote holistic development, a green campus with adequate energy supplementation by having installed 85 KW solar based systems, a safe, trust driven, value based, disciplined, and yet free culture on the campus, counselling and personality growth oriented programmes conducted on a regular basis.

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USP: Overall development of students, inculcating magis – the feeling of doing better and enhancing life, promoting the spirit of a responsible citizen.

Careers360: What are the popular courses at your college?
Dr Robert Arockiasamy:
The popular courses in our institution include Psychology, English, Big Data Analytics, Biochemistry – Biotechnology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics.

Careers360: How has the college kept pace with the new pedagogical and technological advances, and with infrastructure requirements?
Dr Robert Arockiasamy:
The infrastructure is being developed to enable a desirable amalgamation of traditional and modern innovative teaching-learning methodologies – a learner centric system. Curriculum is being mapped with vision and mission of the institute and guidelines of NAAC. Classrooms have been equipped with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and online teaching methodologies are encouraged. Computer labs have been set up for computational studies in mathematics, statistics, BCA, biological sciences etc. Moodle based teaching and evaluation methods are being promoted. Modules of experiential learning supported by specific infrastructure - example: For entrepreneurship, examination reforms based on Bloom’s taxonomy is being explored.

Careers360: What cultural and sports life can students expect in your college?
Dr Robert Arockiasamy:
The college has a state of the art basketball court, grounds and facilities for football, cricket, athletics, tennis, volley ball, hockey, table tennis and chess. A basic gymnasium is available for sports students, which is going to be developed further. Our students win the General Championship at Gujarat University Sports Meet, year after year. Our students are also encouraged to participate in a number of sports events held in the city, state and even at the National Level. College hosts the Donald Dias Memorial Football Tournament. There is an Annual Sports Festival that includes Major Padheriya Marathon Race.

The college students organize several events over the year – a major cultural festival, CULFEST with a relevant theme, every year (There is a rolling Championship to develop a spirit of creativity and healthy competition and participation), and several events are inter-college competitions. We encourage celebrations of festivals, national days, annual day etc. The college through NSS and Campus Ministry Cell conducts special programmes for specially challenged students, children from neighbouring slums etc. Moreover, our students participate in the Gujarat University Youth Festival, and cultural events and competitions organised by other institutions in the city and the state. There are students exchange and cultural exchange programmes with colleges outside the state.

Careers360: What are the challenges before the college?
Dr Robert Arockiasamy:

  • Skewed staff: Student ratio (To obtain NOC from the government to recruit staff to fill the vacant posts remains a major challenge.

  • Although efforts are on, strengthening post graduate education and proceeding towards offering doctoral studies have been slow.

  • To incorporate more extension activities in the curriculum is not easy, in some of our departments.

  • It has not been so easy to ensure zero percent detention and zero failure.

  • A lot more to be done to build a stronger placement cell.

  • To take research to a more advanced level remains a concern.

  • ICT enabled teaching modules to be made effective and stronger.

  • In house sustainable development systems is yet to be established.

  • Intermittent grants for research projects from the UGC and Govt.

  • Strengthening our Alumni association has reached the desired level.

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