Faculty perception on library facilities: a survey on NAAC accredited Autonomous Arts and Science Colleges in Coimbatore city.

Author:Sornam, A.S. Ally

The present article has made an attempt to study the faculty perception on Library faculties in Autonomous Arts and Science Colleges in one of the biggest cities in Tamil Nadu, India. There colleges got accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council of India, hence the standard of education and faculties in these colleges are generally behind to be the best. The study used a questionnaire and the results revealed that faculty have a low perception on the collection, services, ICT facilities, manpower and infrastructure facilities of libraries in these colleges.

Higher Education in India

India's higher education system is the second largest in the world, after the United States. The main governing body at the tertiary level is the University Grants Commission, which enforces its standards, advises the government, and helps coordinate between the Centre and the State. Accreditation for higher learning is overseen by 12 autonomous institutions established by the University Grants Commission.

Indian higher education system has expanded at a fast pace by adding nearly 20,000 colleges and more than 8 million students in a decade from 2000-01 to 2010-11. As of 2011, India has 42 central universities, 275 state universities, 130 deemed universities, 90 private institution, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 33government degree colleges and private degree colleges, including 1800 exclusive women's colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions as reported by the UGC in 2012.

Autonomous System in Higher Education

Highlighting the importance of autonomous colleges, the UGC document on the XI Plan profile of higher education in India clearly states that: "The only safe and better way to improve the quality of undergraduate education is to the link most of the colleges from the affiliating structure. Colleges with academic and operative freedom are doing better and have more credibility. The financial support to such colleges boosts the concept of autonomy. It is proposed to increase the number of autonomous colleges to spread the culture of autonomy, and the target is to make 10 per cent of eligible colleges autonomous by the end of the XI Plan period.

Objectives of Autonomy

The National Policy on Education (1986-92) formulated the following objectives for autonomous colleges. An autonomous college will have the freedom to:

* determine and prescribe its own courses of study and syllabi, and restructure and redesign the courses to suit local needs; and

* prescribe rules for admission in consonance with the reservation policy of the state government;

* evolve methods of assessment of students performance, the conduct of examinations and notification of results;

* use modern tools of educational technology to achieve higher standards and greater creativity; and

* promote healthy practices such as community service, extension activities projects for the benefits of the society at large, neighbourhood programmes etc.

Role of College Libraries in Higher Education

A college is considered as an academic institution of higher learning. In colleges, library occupies a prominent position and it is an important and integral part of the teaching programme. It is not merely a depository of books, but an active workshop instruments in the production of original thinking. The aim of college education and college libraries is interrelated. These libraries develop in each student a sense of responsibility in the pursuit of knowledge and stimulate the student to obtain, evaluate and recognize knowledge and to familiarize them with the trends of knowledge for further education and learning. Usually the classes comprise a large number of students and unlike school education, the college students get less individual attention from the teacher. The students therefore have to depend much more on the self-learning. Therefore the college library is the ultimate place for the students to supplement their class room learning. Therefore, it is essential that a college library should provide modern facilities, resources and services for comfortable reading and learning process in an academic institution. Not only the students, the faculty at large in autonomous colleges, where new, innovative courses are taught and the syllabi undergo frequent changes to suit the needs of industry are also dependent on libraries for their teaching and research.

National Assessment and Accreditation Council

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is an organization that assesses and accredits institutions of higher education in India. It is an autonomous body funded by University Grants Commission of Government of India headquartered in Bangalore. A bill - National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010has been introduced in Parliament of India to make it mandatory for every higher educational institution in the country (other than institutions...

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