Best Practices: 2018-19
Best Practice 1: Vidya Amritam Scholarships
Objective of the programme: The vision behind the establishment of Maheshtala College in 1971 was spreading of collegiate education among the economically challenged and minority community students of the area many of whom could not pursue higher studies due to poverty and other handicaps. The introduction of VidyaAmritam scholarships is an effort to make the students able to continue their studies despite many obstructions faced by them. Context: At present, the college caters to a multicultural studentpopulation comprising of girls and boys belonging to different communities, religions, caste and beliefs. Most of them come from a disadvantaged background. VidyaAmritam scholarships have been introduced with this group of students in mind.
Programme Practice: Besides Kanyashree, Aikyashree (Minority), Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship, Nabanna Scholarship, Waqf Scholarship, Principal and all teachers of the college provide scholarships to poor and meritorious students, the seed –money of which was procured by disposal of wastepaper inside and around the college. This scheme favouring students and using nonconventional means for resource mobilisation was documented in newspapers such as AnandabazarPatrika, EiSamay and The Hindu, and hailed as exemplary. Girls and boys from across all academic disciplines are identified by teachers on different parameters such as academic excellence, perseverance in face of physical adversity, poverty, physical handicap, excellence in special skills such as sports, any branch of study, regularity in attendance, regularity in library, overall proficiency and most innovative idea exemplified in model/project etc. Special awards are reserved for girlstudents. Teachers, both present and former, award prizes commemorating their deceased loved ones and their memory is eternalised by these young bright students who carry the legacy of the departed souls in their life, their pursuit of knowledge and overcoming obstacles. Evidence of Success: This scholarship scheme has positively impacted the enrolment of students and after introduction of the scheme ‘VidyaAmritam Scholarships’, there is a healthy competitive spirit among students. This will hopefully result in better academic performances by them in the coming sessions.
Best Practice 2: ESanjog for Three Es: Ease, Efficiency and Excellence
Objective of the programme: In today’s context many people’s lives are saturated so thoroughly with digital technology that the once obvious distinction between either being online or offline now fails to do justice to a situation where the Internet is an integral part of life. Indeed, it is often observed that younger generations are totally dependent on the Internet and is assumed to be a basic condition of modern life. This programme seeks to take advantage of this scenario and make the teachinglearning process more accessible. Context: The Internet is an inherently educational tool. Indeed, many people would argue that the main characteristics of the Internet align closely with the core concerns of education. For instance, both the Internet and education are concerned with information exchange, communication, and the creation of knowledge. The ESanjogof the College uses this feature to make teachers and students come closer in an environment of learning.
Programme Practice: The college administration uses egovernance modules in synergy with the UGC, Higher Education department of the Government of West Bengal and affiliating university that is Calcutta University. Entire networking is through website notification and email transmission to and fro the college. Admission to the college is completely online The teaching departments have individual email ids and connect with students through mail. History department has own Facebook page, named Tihaash in Bengali where every day HOD posts importance of that particular day in world and Indian history. All departments also have individual WhatsApp group for greater, swifter and more personal connectivity with students. Teachers connect with students through emails, and send study materials and links online.
Evidence of Success: The general finding of this practice shows that the use of internet devices in the classroom setting has an impact on both teaching and learning practices. The results suggest that teachers can be divided into two categories: the innovative teachers and the traditional teachers. Innovative teachers attempt to shift from a teacher -centered to a learner-centered approach.
They have changed their teaching style by transforming lessons in accordance with the internet tools. Students have become more tech-savvy and present projects through powerpoint.
Students have prepared a small film on the college, and are engaged in web-enabled learning initiatives.
Best Practices : 2017 - 2018
Title :Optimal Use of paper
Goal: The aim of this practice is to prevent misuse of paper as a part of our effort to generateawareness among staff and students about environmental issues, and to minimize environmental destruction and promote awareness among students about optimization of natural resources.
Context: Paper is derived from wood, which is procured through cutting of trees. This results ina huge depletion of natural resources globally. This is a direct cause of global warming. In fact, the realization that 35% of trees cut every year results in preparation of paper actually inspired the initiation of this practice of maximizing the use of paper in the college by all stake-holders involved. Students, teachers, members of non-teaching faculty came forward on realizing the necessity of saving as much of this resource as possible.
Use of paper in an educational institution is intrinsic both to curricular as well as administrative
planning aspects. But often huge quantities of paper are found to be wasted through mindless use of paper. Besides draining substantial amount of money, this wastage also has serious ecological repercussions and also does not portend well for the student community who are the future of our country.
Practice: As a result, in our college, paper-use is optimized through various means by allsections- teachers, students and office-staff as well. Since admission is online for the past few years, the necessity for printing vast quantities of application forms has drastically reduced. Prospectus are now available online instead of being physically printed. The office (including Principal‟s office) usually uses paper printed on one-side (considered waste or rough) for keeping day-to-day records. Teachers, if they need hard copies of any document, generally use one-side pre-printed paper but are mostly encouraged to use soft versions. Question papers for college examinations are often printed in small fonts – often two or more copies of the same question paper are accommodated in a single sheet, then cut and distributed among students. Unnecessary printing or photocopying of materials is being regulated by maintenance of a register where everyone seeking such services need to enumerate the exact number of copies, and are accountable for it.
Most correspondence between college and parent university and other institutions as well as inter-office correspondence are done through electronic mail, thereby reducing the use of papers.
Evidence of success: This practice has drastically reduced expenditure on printing andstationery as will be easily revealed by a study of our college budget over the last three or four financial years. Moreover, the practice has become ingrained among the staff of the college. Optimisation of use of paper has also led students, staff and non-teaching members to restrict electricity and water usage.
Problems encountered & resource required: Initially, there was a bit of skepticism about the efficacy of such a practice but gradually the mindset of all stakeholders has undergone a sea-change. We can now be justifiably proud of our endeavour to protect our environment and spreading consciousness about it.
Title :Library Orientation Programme
Goal: The habit of going to library and consulting library books for their studies is essential forstudents in institutions of higher learning. This enables them to cultivate their reading and analytical skills. But this habit was not really up to expectation in our college. The college library is well equipped with both text books and reference books. Every year a substantial number of books are added to our collection. Hence the faculty and the librarian of the college thought of a Library Orientation Programme in order to make the students more aware of the resources of the college library.
Context: Library work is a vital part of higher education curriculum. The primary mission of thelibrary is to support the educational and research programs of the students by providing access to rich physical and digital repositories of learning resources. But the footfall of students in our college library was not quite satisfactory till a few years ago. Relying solely on text books for their studies would not produce the desired result for our students. Hence we felt that they need our guidance in availing of the library resources. They should be made aware of library rules, the process of lending and returning books, etc. Only then they would feel comfortable in visiting the college library.
Practice: From the year 2016-17 an annual Library Orientation Programme is being organisedby each department of the college to familiarise their students with the college library. The programme is suitably named “Know Your Library”. This year too such a programme was held mostly due to the imitative of the librarian and the faculty. The librarian had informed each department of the particular date on which the programme would take place. On the designated day the departmental teachers took their students to the library where the librarian informed the students of the importance of library, laws and regulations, etc. through the duration of one class.
Evidence of success: As a result of the Library Orientation Programme, students have becomemore library-oriented and the library attendance register shows evidence of this. Students now visit the library during their spare time and the library resources are now being availed by them.
Problems encountered & resource required: The students were initially not properly aware ofthe importance of visiting the library. They had to be persuaded and cajoled into doing so. The Library Orientation Programme was the way of doing so. This practice has proved over the last two years of being both effective and fruitful, and hopefully this will get reflected in the results of the students in the near future.