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INDIA TODAY

    CURRENT ISSUE JUNE 05, 2006

 

   COVER STORY: INDIA TODAY-AC NIELSEN-ORG-MARG SURVEY OF    COLLEGES

 
Science

Loyola College retains its top slot while Mount Carmel zooms into the ranks
  PICTURE SPEAK
SCENE STEALER: Loyola has an outstanding faculty
The year 2006 is significant for Loyola College, Chennai. It marks the 450th death anniversary of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius of Loyola; the 500th birth anniversary of Loyola's first recruit, St Francis Xavier, and the platinum jubilee of the College Church. Add to this the fact that it has been ranked the best science college in India.

But that shouldn't come as a surprise. Loyola was at the top last year too and the shuffling is evident only in the other positions. St. Xavier's, Mumbai, has moved from No. 4 to No. 2, while Presidency College, Chennai, has inched up from the fifth to the third slot.

Started by a group of dedicated Jesuits in 1912, Loyola enrolled its first batch of 75 students in 1925, offering English, economics, history and mathematics. It added the chemistry and physics departments the following year. Today, there are more than 7,000 students pursuing an array of disciplines that include computer science, visual communication and foreign languages. It was given the College with Potential for Excellence title by the University Grants Commission in 2004 with a grant of Rs 1 crore and has been accredited with five stars by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.

TOP 10
1 Loyola College, Chennai
2 St. Xavier's College, Mumbai
3 Presidency College, Chennai
4 Presidency College, Kolkata
5 St. Stephen's College, Delhi
6 Fergusson College, Pune
7 Mount Carmel College, Bangalore
8 St. Xavier's College, Kolkata
9 Miranda House, Delhi
10 Christ College, Bangalore
National rankings are derived from a combination of perceptual and factual scores. Colleges that did not provide factual information were not ranked. ( - ) Not ranked in the 2005 Top 10.

Over the years, the college has restructured the curriculum to underline the importance of skill-based programmes. "In the first year, we develop the personality of the student and in the second, we try to inculcate social consciousness-students have to put in 60 hours of social work," says Father A. Albert Muthumalai, principal of Loyola College. In the third year, students have to spend a month working in top companies and institutions. "In many ways, we are only implementing the policy and mission statement of the Jesuits," adds Father Muthumalai.

Loyola boasts of an outstanding faculty. More than 40 faculty members of the college contribute to leading scientific journals while some are engaged in research projects for premier institutions such as the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Defence Research and Development Organisation. A few even serve as advisors on government bodies. Loyola houses the Entomology Research Institute, which is one of the country's top 10 places to study biotechnology and is headed by renowned biotech expert Dr S. Ignacimuthu. In the recent past, half a dozen foreign universities, including London's South Bank University, have tied up with the college to offer greater exposure to students. And the Loyola Institute of Frontier Energy, which organises seminars and training programmes, is fast becoming an umbrella for the best scientific minds in the country.

CITYWISE RANKING
Delhi

1 St. Stephen's College
2 Miranda House
3 Hans Raj College
4 Hindu College
5 Sri Venkateswara College

Mumbai

1 St. Xavier's College
2 Wilson College
3 D.G. Ruparel College
4 Elphinstone College
5 Ramnarain Ruia College

Kolkata

1 Presidency College
2 St. Xavier's College
3 Lady Brabourne College
4 City College
5 Scottish Church College

Chennai

1 Loyola College
2 Presidency College
3 Stella Maris College
4 Ethiraj College
5 Queen Mary's College

Bangalore

1 Mount Carmel College
2 Christ College
3 St. Joseph's College
4 M.E.S. College
5 National College, Basavanagudi

Based on perceptual scores

"We are constantly trying to reorient our focus to meet the demands of our times and impart quality education," says Vice-Principal Xavier Vedam, adding that a Master's degree in corporate governance was introduced this year. Some of the new features in the college include a digital library, language and environmental labs and an instrumentation centre. Loyola has also incorporated a unique Internal Quality Assurance Cell which, says its coordinator, Joe Jesudurai, "helps students and the faculty to maintain high standards in the teaching-learning process".

Over the years, Loyola has produced many stars. Among its famous students are Union ministers P. Chidambaram and Dayanidhi Maran and tennis star Vijay Amritraj.

FROM THE PRINCIPAL
"We develop the student's personality and inculcate social consciousness." FATHER A. ALBERT MUTHUMALAI LOYOLA COLLEGE

The college has traditionally shown commitment to the poorer sections of society. And it shows-more than 24 per cent of the students are first generation learners who study almost free of cost. They also become financially self-sufficient by taking part in the "earn while you learn" programme of the college and benefit from special training in computer skills and spoken English. The college has adopted 18 slums in the city, where students regularly teach and conduct health camps. It is one of the few institutions which educates physically challenged students in large numbers-79 this year, 48 of whom are visually impaired. With a community fm radio service, the college is reaching out to more people than it ever has.

Innovative programmes are also introduced every now and then at other top colleges like St. Xavier's, Mumbai. The same is the case with Presidency College, Chennai, whose calibre can be judged by alumni like Nobel laureates C.V. Raman and S. Chandrasekhar. What gives these colleges the edge is the fact that they are not content to sit on their laurels. Every passing year brings with it its own value addition.

 

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