IntroductionThis is the fourth article in the series of seven articles. We will discuss the most important features of the courses offered by three Madurai-based arts and science colleges in this article. It should be noted that these colleges are "colleges of choice" of hundreds of students who belong not only to Madurai but to the entire South Tamil Nadu. This is because Madurai is the central city to all the developments in South Tamil Nadu. The three arts and science colleges are the American College, Fatima College and the Lady Doak College.
This article, will focus on a) What is special about Madurai v) What is common to all the three colleges c) What is special to American College d) What is special to Fatima College and c) What is special to Lady Doak College. The one particular objective of this series of articles is to inform the prospective student from any corner of India about the higher education facilities available in the other major educational centres of Tamil Nadu. Another objective is also to drive home the fact that high quality colleges are not only available in Chennai, but in other cities as well. With the best organized bus transport in the entire country and excellent connectivity to all parts of the State, Tamil Nadu is well poised to become a major educational hub for all courses.
In the second article of this series,Shining Stars Among Non-Chennai Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu-2 an attempt was made to discuss the salient features of three branded colleges of Coimbatore, the second largest city of India, that has already emerged as a big educational hub. The colleges discussed were the most famous and branded colleges of Sri Krishna Arts and Science College, PSGR Krishnammal College for Women and the Kumaraguru College of Liberal Arts and Science.
In the third article Shining Stars Among non-Chennai Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu -3, the focus was on the three branded and well known colleges of Tiruchirapalli, the Biship Heber College,Holy Cross College, and National College.
It should be noted that all the three cities covered in articles two and three and now in this article, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Madurai, are fully developed B class cities, with all amenities and are well connected by train to all parts of India. Each of these cities have a distinct culture of their own, with International Airports. Coimbatore city enjoys the biggest status of the three, as one of the fastest growing mini-metros of India.
What is special about MaduraiMadurai is the third largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is also the cultural capital of Tamil Nadu and takes all credit for the enrichment of the ancient Tamil language. It positively has a semi-urban orientation and is surrounded by hundreds of villages that are very well connected to the main city. This single advantage of mobility has created a massive service sector that has made Madurai such a big trading city. For instance, the jasmine flowers grown here are exported straight to Singapore and Malaysia and reach there within a few hours. Madurai now has an International airport. This airport is now being expanded.
The TVS group and a few other companies have a presence in Madurail. The TVS group has invested in a high quality school that has turned out the best of professionals in every field. However, at the college level, Madurai has no major industrial culture to talk about. Yet, Madurai is the first choice of most parents in South Tamil Nadu, and for NRIs in Singapore and Malaysia, who reportedly send their children for higher education to the USA and UK, like never before.
Madurai is also called "thoonga nagaram" ( the city that never sleeps), as the city has over 400 night restaurants that open at 6.30PM and close at 3AM the next day morning, for just one hour.These restaurants offer the best of hot vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, that caters to the vast tourist traffic. Madurai is home to the majestic Meenakshi Amman temple that draws thousands of tourists every day to the city. The Madurai-Kamaraj University at Madurai is among the oldest and best Universities in India.
What is common to all the three collegesAll the three arts and science colleges are autonomous colleges of Madurai-Kamaraj University. These colleges cater to a huge number of first generation learners from farmer families. The courses are heavity localized in terms of teaching methods with a distinct semi-urban orientation. These colleges may lack the glamor of the Chennai and Coimbatore city colleges. The latter have huge industrial bases and are streets ahead in terms of urbanization. The significant others like lawyers, doctors and teachers interviewed for the purposes of this article had a different take. They opined that these three colleges are doing their best to give the vital "exposure"through soft-skills programs and also through the guest lectures. These colleges concentrate on the basics. This is deliberately done to cater to the cultural background of the students.
What is special to American CollegeOver the past few years, the MBA offered by this college has emerged as one of the best in the entire South Tamil Nadu, among Arts and Science Colleges. There is a bit of a comparison with the branded MBA offered by the autonomous Thiagarajar School of Management that is also based at Madurai. This institution has good links with industry. It is now reported that American college is doing the same, by forging links with industry like never before. The teaching methodologies are also case-study based in a big way. Apart from the MBA course, the college also offers the Master;s degree in Social Work (MSW) course. This course is also reportedly famous for the community development focus.
The unique course in BA with a specialization in Religion, Philosophy and Sociology, offered by American College gives the undergraduate student a good grounding of the philosophical leanings of all religions with a big focus on Indian religions and then gives it the sociological perspective. Also popular is the Economics course. The post-graduate and M.Phil courses in economics are on offer.
Phone:- 0452-2530070, 0452-2530973
What is special to Fatima CollegeThis is an exclusive college for women. It runs a number of courses in two shifts. Among the most famous courses at the undergraduate level, the former students talk about the B.Sc (Home Science with Food Biotechnology) course that is now very popular. The B.Sc(Biotechnolgy) course here is said to be a passport to do the post-graduate course in good institutions like the VIT, Vellore, a deemed University of good repute. The Master's Degree in Social Work, and the M.Com with Computer Applications are also reputed to be most sought after courses, according to former students of this college. The M.Sc( Human Nutrition and Nutraceuticals) is also reputed to be a very unique course, with a good intake, year after year.
The old students of Fatima College recall with fond affection, the dedication and commitment of the teachers,who would go to any length to give the best of personal attention at any point in time.
Fatima College ( Autonomous)
Mary Land, Madurai 625018
Phone numbers:- 0452-2668016, 2669015, 2665777, 2665700-99(Extn)
What is special to Lady Doak CollegeThis college, exclusively for women, has been in existence since 1948 and had become autonomous since 1978. This college is known for its innovative courses. The B.Sc(Fashion Technology) and the Diploma in Apparel Designing are particularly mentioned as being popular, by the local people. The biotechnlogy courses offered by this course, are also famous.
The B.Sc(Biotechnology), the Msc (Biotechnology) and the Post Graduate Diploma in Bioinformatics are the courses pointed out as being among the best in Madurai. Similarly, the Master's Degree in Social Work, with a specialization in Human Resources Management, is now said to be gaining traction in the past decade. The M.Sc (Computer Science) and MSc( Information Technology) are also quite famous in this college. Of late, the Lady Doak College Madurai, is competing with the best colleges for the MSW degree courses and the college's undergraduate programs are also being quoted as having a good standard by its former students. This college has another big advantage -- international student exchange programme for credit tranfer. Interested students may please contact the principal for all details.
Lady Doak College(Autonomous)
Hakim Ajmal Khan Road
Tamil Nadu 625 002
Phone:- 0452-2530527, 2524575
ConclusionGiven the fact that Madurai is not an industrial city, the improvements made by each of the aforesaid colleges are commendable and deserve appreciation from all. It is also a fact of life that not many rural students can study in urban environnments. He or she needs cities like Madurai to give them the right exposure at the right time. To that extent, the three colleges discussed above are doing a good job.