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INSTITUTION IN FOCUS

Striving to achieve excellence

T. Ramavarman

A profile of Sri C. Achutha Menon Government College, at Kuttanellur, near Thrissur.

Photo: K.K. Najeeb

TOWARDS EXCELLENCE: At the Sri C. Achutha Menon Government College, Kuttanellur.

Sri C. Achutha Menon Government College, at Kuttanellur, near Thrissur, is on a path to rapid development. Into its 33rd year, the college is trying to implement effective strategies to achieve excellence in a market-dominated regime.

History

The college was established in 1972 as an Arts and Commerce College by the regime led by the veteran Communist leader, the late C. Achutha Menon, in the wake of the protracted strike of the All-Kerala Private College Teachers' Association.

Since it owed its origin to such a political contingency, it had to face extreme constraints of space and other problems in its early days.

The college was initially housed in the available space in the Government Training College in Thrissur town, and was then known as Government College, Thrissur. It started functioning with three degree courses in history, economics and commerce and two pre-degree batches in history and commerce. A B.Com. course was added in 1978 and M.Com. in 1984.

The constraint of space did not permit the college to start the science courses sanctioned by the university. However, the stage for the second phase of the development was set with the college shifting to the sprawling 25-acre campus at Kuttanellur in 1991.

Courses

Three postgraduate courses were started in the college in quick succession - MA (History) in 1995, MA (Economics) in 1996 and MA (English) in 1998. Now the college offers undergraduate programmes in five disciplines - commerce, business administration, history, economics and English. Postgraduate programmes are offered in the four disciplines Commerce, History, Economics and English.

The college was renamed as `Sri C Achutha Menon Government College' in its Silver Jubilee Year in 1998, which also witnessed several other developmental activities taking place on the campus, including the construction of a big library-cum-PG block.

Funds

Apart from the funds from the UGC and the State Government, the college authorities could mobilise substantial contribution from MLA and MP funds. The contributions made by the teaching and non-teaching staff and students also came in handy for the expansion of the facilities in the college.

The College Development Council, which has district collector as its Chairperson, collects Rs.300 from each student at the time of admission. The Government provides matching grant to that amount every year and the entire fund is being utilised for the strengthening the infrastructure of the college.

Facilities

The college now has two well-equipped computer lab, a language lab, a computerised library and a well-furnished seminar hall. A UGC-aided heritage museum, a data processing lab and a physical fitness centre are some of the specialities of the college. The general library of the college has a remarkable collection of over 35,000 books. All the PG departments have also good libraries. Standard journals are available in the department libraries and general library.

Organising seminars on serious topics of contemporary relevance is an important facet of the college's activities. The seminar on `coalition politics' organised as part of the jubilee celebrations was inaugurated by the renowned Marxist theoretician and activist late EMS Namboodirippad. The seminars on `History and theory', `State and society in pre-modern South India' and on `Women and literature' had also attracted national attention.

Eminent faculty

One of the factors that helped the college to carve out such a unique path of development was the presence of several versatile personalities as its principals and teachers at different points of time. They include C.K. Revamma, who was a noted musician, Appukuttan Erady, who has authored several articles in international science journals, and K.G. Sankara Pillai and teachers like poet Attur Ravi Varma, writer and women's activist Sarah Joseph, the late V.P. Sivakumar, short-story writer, and the late Gita Hiranyan, writer. The present principal T.R. Venugopalan is a known figure in historical studies. I. Shanmughadas who teaches in the English Department is a noted film critic.

Another unique feature about the college is that nearly 76 per cent of its students hail from the families whose annual income is less than Rs.25,000. About 48 per cent of the students enjoy stipend benefits.

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