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Potentially excellent!

Chennai’s Loyola, a College with Potential for Excellence, focuses on quality, inclusive education

education Updated: May 16, 2011 14:34 IST
HT Horizons Correspondent

If any entity’s website is any hint to how good it is, Loyola’s scores pretty well. With curricula, fee details, mode of payment, attendance report and more, the website is befittingly that of a College with Potential for Excellence (CPE), a tag awarded to it by the University Grants Commission in 2004. Loyola also received SIRO (Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) recognition in January 2011, the only arts and science college in India to receive it, says G Ramamurthy, vice principal. Its Entomological Research Institute boasts two patents.

Its old boys include former presidents S Radhakrishnan and R Venkatraman; Ram Shriram, founder board member, Google; and P Chidambaram, union home minister.

Programmes offered: Shift I (government-supported) - BA in economics, English literature, history, sociology, and Tamil literature, BCom, BSc in advanced zoology and biotechnology, chemistry, math, physics), BSc in plant biology and biotechnology, statistics, visual communication.

Shift II (self-financed) - economics, French literature, BBA, BCom (corporate and secretaryship), BCom. BSc animation design, BCA, BSc (computer science), BSc (maths), BSc in physics, BSc visual communication.
PG Shift I (government-supported) - MA economics, English literature, and social work; MCom; MSc in chemistry, maths, physics, statistics and zoology.

Shift II (self-financed): MA in applied history, media arts (Tamil medium only), philosophy, and social work; MSc bio-medical instrumentation science, MCA, MSc biotechnology, MSc computer science, food chemistry and food processing, MSc medical lab technology, medical sociology, and visual communication. MPhil in economics, English, history, social work, commerce, chemistry, maths, physics, plant biology and biotechnology, statistics, zoology. PhD in economics, English, history, social work, commerce, science, chemistry, biotechnology, entomology, maths, physics, statistics and zoology.

USP of the institution: It’s a CPE, and has an accreditation with an A+ grade from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

The CPE-status gets the institution resources. The UGC gave it the second instalment of CPE funding worth R75 lakh.

Above all, the college stresses on being inclusive. “We not only give importance to academic excellence but also to character formation. We give students opportunities to showcase their talent and we provide equal access to everybody - rich, poor, rural, and the marginalised of all religions,” says Rev B Jeyaraj, principal.

Ramamurthy says they induct average and below average students and give them quality training. “We take students mostly from rural communities and train them in the best possible manner.” The college offers mentoring and remedial support to such enrolees.

“Mentoring has been strengthened through training of teachers keeping in mind the first generation students and students from marginalised sections of society. Students weak at English were identified and given regular coaching in the language,” adds Ramamurthy.

IT quotient: The college provides internet and intranet facilities for students as well as for the staff. It has about 500 computers, including more than 150 for its digital library. Departments like physics and chemistry have Wi-Fi connectivity.

Infrastructure: The 99-acre campus houses Loyola College as well as Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Loyola College of Education and Loyola-ICAM College of Engineering and Technology.

It provides hostel accommodation to about 1400 male students. The central library stocks more than 1 lakh books and 225 journals.

Clubs and societies: AISEC; Students in Free Enterprise; Citizen Consumer Club, affiliated to the state department of civil supplies and consumer protection; Enviro Club; Friends of Police; Forum for Intellectual Advancement; NCC and NSS; and All India Catholic Universities Federation; Rotaract Club; and Youth Red Cross Society.

Studentspeak: “The faculty are very co-operative and I doubt that students would feel out of place at Loyola,” says Mohamed Karan Ubaidi. “There is considerable importance given to the development of soft skills. It is not an atmosphere in which emphasis is given to academics alone. What is the point of you knowing that 2+2=4 if you cannot stand up and say it out loud, or build the guts top prove it in public?”

Loyola College was started by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1925 mainly to provide university education “in a Christian atmosphere for deserving students,” especially Catholics. However, it takes in other students, too, irrespective of caste and creed. This college became autonomous in 1978 but it is still affiliated to the University of Madras