IntroductionWhat do educationists and Managements do when the predominant occupation of a big majority of parents is agriculture? Or when they are confronted with first-generation learners within a span of just four or five years from the same family? Answer: increase the standards of education to reflect the aspirations of the local population, reflecting their cultural aspirations and keeping the spirit of academic excellence quite high in whatever the college does.
Perhaps left with not much of choice in a situation such as the one described above, the three colleges from three towns (of which Tiruchirapalli is a big city with an International Airport), that is, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur and Tiruchirapalli, the three colleges discussed in this article, A.V.C College of Arts and Science, Mayiladuthurai, the A.V.V.M Sri Poondi Pushpam College, Thanjavur, and the Cauvery College for Women, Tiruchirapalli are doing a good job in their respective areas by concentrating on the basics and also introducing some contemporary courses.
In this fourth article in the series of six articles on the Promising Stars Among Arts and Science Colleges of Tamil Nadu, we will discuss a) What is special about Mayiladuthurai and Thanjavur b) What is on offer at theA.V.C College of Arts and Science, Mayiladuthurai c) What is on offer at the A.V.V.M Poondi Pushpam College and d) What is on offer at the Cauvery College for Women, Tiruchirapalli.
What is special about Mayiladuthurai and ThanjavurBoth Mayiladuthurai and Thanjavur are small district headquarter towns with around five to six lakh population in each of them. They are totally dependent on agriculture and there are very rich farmers in this rain-fed region. Both towns have the Cauvery river flowing nearby. Every effort is being made by the State Government to preserve the agriculture in these two towns. Tanjore is also home to three deemed Universities. Both towns are connected by trains from Chennai on the Chennai to Tiruchirapalli Mainline. There are hundreds of buses that ply to various smaller towns and villages from each town and to Chennai and other big cities of Tamil Nadu. Mayiladuthurai also has a prestigious daily Jan Shatabdi train to Coimbatore.
What is on offer at the A.V.C College of Arts and Science MayiladuthuraiThis is an autonomous college of the Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli. It offers all the conventional courses. However, the locals speak highly about the B.Sc(Electronic Science) BCA(Computer Science), B.Sc(Microbilogy), and M.Sc(Wildlife Microbiology) courses offered by the college. Similarly, the college also offers the M.Phil and doctorate degrees in Economics, Commerce, Zoology, Tamil and Mathematics.
Those interviewed for this article were of the uniform opinion that the agricultural background of the students does present a big problem. Nevertheless, this college which is part of a big group that also runs an engineering college of some repute is making every effort at offering the various skill-based soft skills programs for all students and the placement facilities are quite good. The college offers a Diploma course in BPO Management.
It is crystal clear that the AVC College Mayiladuthurai is a college that is doing its best to differentiate itself and become famous among all such colleges in the local area. Of course, this is reputed to be the best arts and science college of Mayiladuthurai. It is a college of choice for sure.
What is on offer at the A.V.V.M Sri Poondi Pushpam CollegeThis is a massive college with a big reputation in the entire Tanjavur belt. It should be noted that Thanjavur is also known as Tanjore. This college has been in existence, right from the year 1956, when it started with just 11 students. It was originally affiliated to the Madras University. After the Bharathidasan University was formed in the eighties at Tiruchirapalli, this college has been affiliated to that University as an autonomous college. This college offers a very unique course, the BA(Indian Culture). This is perhaps the only college in the entire State of Tamil Nadu to offer this course.
This college also offers the Master of Library and Information Science course and the MSc(Biotechnology) course and it is said that there are a good number of takers for these courses. This college is one of the few colleges in this district that offers both the MBA and the MCA courses. This college is also famous for its doctoral programs and it offers the M.Phil course in all the traditional subjects, while in the doctorate program, it also offers it in Physical Education and in Library and Information Science. There are special courses that it conducts as part of the degree programs. For instance, it conducts the Operations Research Program as part of the B.Sc(Mathematics) degree course. It has The UGC sponsored career-oriented courses and some of these include the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration, Herbal Medicine and Data Care Management.
The A.V.V.M Sri Poondi Pushpam College Poondi Thanjavur is also famous for its MBA and MCA programs and it is reported that the parents of the delta region do not look beyond this college. Some farmers proudly call this college as the "St.Joseph's College of Thanjavur", comparing it with the famous college at Tiruchirapalli.
Such is the reputation of this college which has produced thousands of graduates who have gone on to do further courses and settle in most parts of the world. The unique feature of many rural colleges of Arts and Science in Tamil Nadu is that such colleges are heavily focussed on all basics and enable the good standard of education in the conventional courses. It does happen that the conventional courses have many takers in such environments.
A.V.V.M Sri Poondi Pushpam College(Autonomous)
Tel:- 04374-239523, 239547, 239522
What is on offer at the Cauvery College for Women, TiruchirapalliThis is an autonomous college of the Bharathidasam University, Tiruchirapalli. Readers who would like to know about this city may please refer Shining Stars Among Non-Chennai Arts and Science Colleges. This college is famous for its Master's Degree in Social Work(MSW) course.
It has systematically built its core competencies in offering this course, as it first introduced the Bachelor's Degree Course in Social Work in 1985, the Master's Degree course in Social Work in 1995 and it has gone on to add the M.Phil in the same subject in 2005 and the doctorate in the year 2011. It has an International Staff Exchange program with Plymouth University, UK under the UKIERI scheme.
It also offers all the conventional courses and its M.Sc(Food Science and Management and Dietics) course is famous, as it reportedly has a number of takers. Those who were introduced talked about the serious intent of the college to make a big difference through every course it offers, irrespective of what it s,.
It is a recognized research center. The fact that it offers the M.Phil and doctorate courses of a high standard is fact enough that the Cauvery College for Women Tiruchirapalli is a long-term oriented college that has grown from strength to strength, year on year, ever since it was established in the year 1984. This college also provides limited hostel facilities at reasonable costs.
In fact, a feature that is common to all the three colleges is that these are private institutions that run both the aided and the self-financing programs. They cater to the rural population, though Tiruchirapalli is a slightly better city with a semi-urban ambiance. However, even today, Tiruchirapalli is no match to the urban standards and practices of the big industrial centre of Coimbatore and the hugely metropolitan standards of Chennai, the fourth largest city in India by area and the biggest hub for high-quality education. Yes. the students in rural or semi-urban areas lack vital exposure to modern industrial practices. However, if there are some training programs and some unique courses, this problem is taken care of. This is exactly what the three colleges have done thus far and look promising to do the same for all times to come.
Tamil Nadu is home to several such colleges, as we have seen in this series and the earlier series as well. Quality higher education is no more city-specific in Tamil Nadu. The smaller players are also becoming formidable players and it is hoped that with such sincere intents to promote high-quality education, the gap between Chennai and non-Chennai colleges will keep reducing over a period of time.
Cauvery College For Women
Cauvery Nagar Main Road
ConclusionThe unique features of the three colleges, the AVC College, Mayiladuthurai, the A.V.V.M Sri Pushpam College, Poondi, near Thanjavur and the Cauvery College for Women, Tiruchirapalli, have their own unique features and they are making their own developments in the field of higher education. They are doing a good job under the given circumstances.