Centre of learning

Published : Jul 01, 2011 00:00 IST

The Crawford Hallat the University of Mysore. The university was Karnataka's first and is also the sixth oldest in India. - M.A. SRIRAM

The Crawford Hallat the University of Mysore. The university was Karnataka's first and is also the sixth oldest in India. - M.A. SRIRAM

Mysore city, with its myriad institutions, is now an important destination for higher education.

MYSORE city, known as the cultural capital of Karnataka, has always been considered a good destination for higher education. Many institutions in the city, such as the University of Mysore and the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), owe their genesis to the largesse and broad-mindedness of the royal house of Mysore, which, in its time, nurtured art, architecture, education and literature and set the trend for a proactive system of governance.

While retaining its old-world charm, Mysore has not lagged behind in embracing the changes that are sweeping the world. With a steady increase in the number of international flights connecting global destinations to Bangalore, 140 kilometres away, Mysore's accessibility to the world has improved. Considering the number of foreign students who choose to study in Mysore, this has greatly helped. Mysore has its own airport now. With a temperate climate throughout the year, it is not surprising that the cosmopolitan city is a hub of higher education in a wide variety of subjects.

It is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in India, with the highlight being, of course, the Dasara, which is celebrated with an unmatched splendour in the city. The royal palace in the heart of the city, the Brindavan Gardens, the Chamundi hills, the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery, St. Philomena's Cathedral, the zoological gardens and the Railway Museum are some of the prominent attractions. The forests of Nagarhole and Bandipur are very close and attract several thousands of wildlife enthusiasts throughout the year. The newer Mysore has offices and work campuses of prominent companies such as Infosys, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Wipro.

University of Mysore

The University of Mysore was the first university to be established in Karnataka and is the sixth oldest in India. It was founded in 1916 by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, who provided munificent grants of land, buildings and financial resources. It has been home to a galaxy of stalwarts in the fields of education, public administration, arts and sports and has also earned an international status for its academic programmes and research activities. The university has always been known to uphold the values of critical thinking, tolerance and open debate. With its heritage architecture and its valuable contributions to the city, State and the country, the university is the pride of Mysore.

The University of Mysore has a string of laurels to its credit in the 95 years of its existence. Currently, it has four constituent colleges and 183 affiliated colleges. The main postgraduate campus, located at Manasagangotri in picturesque surroundings, houses 41 postgraduate departments offering 75 postgraduate degree and diploma programmes.

It was the first university in the country to be assessed and accredited with five stars in 2000 by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and it was subsequently reaccredited with A+' grade. It has also been identified as an Institution of Excellence' by the Government of India and given a grant of Rs.100 crore to create a centre of excellence in biodiversity and sustainable development. It has also signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with more than 20 leading universities and institutions in India and abroad. This promotes collaborative research, student and faculty exchange, and also grants academic affiliations to visiting scholars. The university has a unique folklore museum with a rare collection of artefacts, and its publications division is credited with the publication of 2,000 titles.

Recent initiatives

In the past year, the university started the Centre for Proficiency, Development and Placement Services. Its objective is to collect data about employment opportunities and job skills, organise the required training courses, and arrange placements for students. The university has been recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as the State Agency for conducting the K-SET (Karnataka State Eligibility Test). The university has also established an independent digital resource centre where teachers, students and scholars can access more than 7,000 online journals and 20,000 e-books, both on and off campus. The university has come a long way under the competent leadership of Vice-Chancellor V.G. Talawar.


The Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) was established on June 1, 1996, with the mission of Higher education for everyone, everywhere. It started out with 20,000 students enrolled in its programmes; the number is now two lakh. The Open University offers traditional, professional, technical, and research programmes through certificate courses, diplomas, postgraduate diplomas, undergraduate and postgraduate and advanced research degrees like the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). It has 10 regional centres with over 1,000 study centres providing support services for students.

The KSOU offers 75 in-house academic programmes and over 232 programmes through collaborative arrangements. It has signed MoUs with over 62 institutions. Recently, it signed an MoU with the Virginia Commonwealth University of the United States to offer an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme. It is being offered as a pilot project to target professionals at the global level.

The KSOU extends 25 per cent fee concession to women students of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and scholarships to Schedule Caste (S.C.) and Schedule Tribe (S.T.) students. Students of the Backward Classes are helped financially under the mukta sanjeevani' fund. All the courses at the KSOU are credit-based and follow the guidelines and standards established by the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE), the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the UGC.

Last year, the university started offering degrees in LL.M (Master of Law), M.Sc (Master of Science) in Mathematics and M.Sc in Computer Science. There are plans for programmes such as a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) in Special Education, M.A (Master of Arts) in Kannada, M.Sc in Information Technology (IT), Computer Science, Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, and M.Sc in Environment Science and Technology. Masters courses in basic sciences such as physics, chemistry, and earth sciences will also be introduced to promote education in science through the distance mode. The KSOU is encouraging contacts with industry so that students benefit from such linkages. One of the big events slated this year is a global conference on Open and distance learning in a global environment issues and challenges, from September 21 to 23, where delegates from over 150 countries are expected to participate.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. K.S. Rangappa has three decades of research and teaching experience and has made novel and significant contributions to bio-organic and medical chemistry and drug discovery programmes. He is also known as an able administrator who has encouraged the KSOU to reach new heights.


The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore (a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi), was set up in 1950 with a network of inspiring and dedicated scientists interested in researching food science and technology. The focus is on cost-effective technologies, the use of indigenous raw materials, food safety, and health and nutrition for all sections of the population.

A 12-month postgraduate diploma in Food Technology was started in 1950. With the need to develop food science and technology in South and South-east Asia, the CFTRI was identified as the centre of knowledge and expertise to start the International Food Technology Training Centre (IFTTC) in 1964. The course was recognised by the University of Mysore as a two-year regular residential postgraduate degree programme. An M.Sc degree is awarded at the end of it.

The CFTRI has state-of-the-art facilities in the area of food science and technology intertwined with biotechnology and information technology and is a Centre of Academic Excellence'. Nearly 1,050 students (both from India and abroad) have completed their Masters courses at the CFTRI and occupy responsible positions in national/governmental institutions, multinational companies, and other international organisations.

The CFTRI's year-long certificate course in wheat milling is also widely recognised. The International School of Milling Technology (ISMT) has been conducting the course since 1981 and has so far trained 520 students, including 130 international students. Short-term refresher courses for industry personnel, working scientists, technologists, academics, and researchers are also conducted at the CFTRI. The institute has successfully addressed the diverse requirements of the participants of these courses. It also provides training in the technology of processing and preserving fruits and vegetables, plantation crops, spices, grains, lipids, proteins and animal products, and in flour milling and baking, packaging, thermal processing, plant cell biotechnology, sensory science, microbial safety, infestation control, pesticide residue analysis, food engineering and microbial fermentation.

The CFTRI has also been a premier research centre. Nearly 500 researchers have obtained their Ph.D degrees here. The institute was identified as an Associate of the United Nations University (UNU), Tokyo, Japan, in 1974 and the tasks specified for it were to provide multidisciplinary practical training to UNU fellows from different countries, and more than 160 fellows have completed their research programmes since then. This recognition has given an international impetus to the CFTRI's work in broadening its international linkages.


The JSS Mahavidyapeetha (JSSMVP) was started in 1928 with a small hostel for poor students pursuing higher studies in Mysore. It has grown into a gigantic educational movement today with over 300 institutions under its fold and with some 50,000 students.

The JSS Law College (JSSLC) is a well-known institution managed by the JSSMVP under the leadership of its principal, K.S. Suresh. The college was started in 1982 and has ever since maintained its academic excellence. The JSSLC is acclaimed as one of the top institutions in the country for personal and professional development in legal education. It is the first law college in the country to achieve autonomous' status. This gives it the freedom to decide the curriculum. It also ensures that merit is the only criterion for admitting students. It has been accredited B+' grade by NAAC and is also widely and popularly recognised as a premier institution. The Bar Council of India has also recognised the excellence of the college. The college has a well-stocked library.

Students have easy access to all the technical and legal updates in legal studies. There are legal data banks available electronically. Mandatory chamber deputations, court visits, moot court participation and competitions, participation in legal aid and legal literacy programmes are the added advantages that a student gets at the JSSLC. There are special facilities for overseas students.

The JSSLC has taken the initiative to blend business management and the liberal arts with law by introducing the B.B.A. LL. B (Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Law) and B.A. LL. B (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law) courses. The college intends to introduce many more options combining the subjects of medicine and law, technology and law, and so on. The college also offers the traditional three-year LL.B (Bachelor of Law) programme and the two-year LL.M (Master of Law) with restructured course content. The college also offers online certificate courses in cyber law, law and medicine and medico-legal systems.

Students are provided counselling and career guidance for higher studies with the help of universities from the United Kingdom and the United States and given extensive training in legal skills. There are separate hostels for girls and easy access to banks, recreational clubs and health clubs. Practical project work forms a significant part of the courses.

The college recently held a national seminar on the conduct of legislators, and a national moot court competition in which 43 colleges participated. It has decided to allocate 50 per cent of its seats to candidates who clear the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and also prefer them in the seat allotment.

JSS Medical Institutions

The JSSMVP offers health care service and education in a wide spectrum of areas including allopathy, ayurveda, physiotherapy, naturopathy and yogic science, speech and hearing, and nursing. For clinical experience, all the health care institutions of the JSSMVP are attached to the 1,200-bed JSS Hospital located on Ramanuja Road in Mysore. Every day, on an average, the hospital treats 800 people in the outpatient department. Several health activities are organised regularly in rural areas to create health awareness. The JSSMVP has embarked on several major projects in recent years, including a 1,500-bed multi-speciality hospital and an ayurvedic hospital in Mysore.

The JSS medical institutions include the JSS Ayurveda Medical College, the JSS Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Science and the JSS College of Nursing. The JSS Ayurveda Medical College is located in Mysore and has been established with the objective of producing doctors with knowledge in ayurveda. The campus is at present located within the premises of the JSS Medical College and a full-fledged campus is under construction on a vast stretch of land in the foothills of Chamundi Hills. The ayurvedic hospital provides clinical training for students, and the 150-bed speciality hospital has specialised panchakarma, netraroga, kshara-sutra yoga and naturopathy sections.

The JSS Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (JSSINYS) was established in 1997 in Ooty (Udhagamandalam), Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu. It offers a bachelor's degree course in naturopathy and yogic sciences. The college is attached to a 100-bed nature cure and yoga hospital and is approved by the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN).

The JSS College of Nursing, established in 1997, is committed to providing quality nursing education and thereby improving the standards of nursing services in general. Students are trained at the 1,200-bed JSS Hospital. Students are provided with community field experience so that they can render preventive, curative and rehabilitative health care services to the community at large.

St. Philomena's College

St. Philomena's College (SPC) was set up as a science and arts college in 1946, when there was no science college in Mysore. Gradually, other courses were also introduced. It has a huge campus, spread over 25 acres (one acre is 0.4 hectare), on which the Bishop of Mysore used to reside. Now it is a college with undergraduate and postgraduate courses in practically every discipline. It offers new postgraduate courses every year, and a separate postgraduate block is being readied. One of its main strengths is that it has students from different backgrounds. They come from across India and 19 countries.

The objective of the college is not to get the best students to achieve the best results, but to admit students with promise and get the best out of them. Students come in with average marks, but pass out with flying colours. Last year, the college had more than 40 distinctions and an overall pass percentage of 85 per cent. The focus is not restricted to academics. Students have the opportunity to join the National Cadet Corps (NCC) and the National Service Scheme (NSS). Seventeen of the teachers were trained by Infosys to train students in analytical abilities and skill enhancement. More than 25 companies come to the college for campus recruitment, and a number of students get placement offers even before completing their courses.

The SPC has an accreditation from the NAAC, while the UGC considers it to be a College with Potential for Excellence', making it eligible for a special grant. The college offers Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) (SPC was the first college in Mysore to start it) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees. These entail a lot of field work and students spend two days a week with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) and Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) courses it offers are in high demand, but there is also always a steady trickle of students for the arts subjects. Students can choose from 25 combinations in arts and 10 combinations in science.

There are 98 faculty members for 1,500 students. There is a wide choice of languages that students can study at the college Kannada, English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Urdu and French. They can also opt to study Arabic, Persian, Telugu or Sanskrit in private.

The college has been granted autonomy by the UGC for the 2011-2016 period and is working out an independent syllabus. There are only four other colleges with autonomous status in Mysore. The college celebrated its golden jubilee in 1997-98 and its diamond jubilee in 2007-08, which the then President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, attended. On August 13, 2010, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited the college and interacted with students.

School of Design

The University School of Design (SoD) was established in 2002 by the University of Mysore as an autonomous institute under the self-financing scheme. The school recognises that creative design can improve and change the quality of life and environment. It is already the recognised leader in Karnataka focussing on technological and professional design education. The course is approved by the Council of Architecture (COA), New Delhi. The school was granted Rs.31 lakh by the Tata Trust for initial infrastructure development. It has collaborated with the Technical University of Berlin in Germany since 2004 to facilitate transfer of expertise. A student-exchange programme under a scheme called the New Passage to India', funded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) of the German government, has been approved from the academic year 2010-11.

Basically, we teach design, building design, which is coupled with the Arts subjects, which becomes the base course over here, and gives students the opportunity to widen their ideas. Alongside, we teach technical subjects wherein design applications are strong. The same teachers teach the theory subjects and the technical subjects. The core teacher handles all the courses, so there'll be a connection in all the courses, said Associate Professor Champa, who is also the Principal. The school has practising architects as visiting faculty.

About 60 students are admitted every year. The school, housed in Senate Bhavan, offers Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) and Master of Architecture (Urban Design) courses and a diploma in interior design, which is for students who have finished their tenth standard. The SoD gives these students the option to enrol for a B.Arch. The SoD offers lateral exit and entry, which means that if a student enrols for B.Arch and then wishes to stop midway, he or she can leave the course after two years with a diploma in interior design. Such students get a grace period of five years to come back and rejoin in the third year.


The coursework at the International School of Information Management (ISiM) helps students to develop tools, technologies and systems for managing the wealth of information available on the Internet. How do you make a difference to society through information technology? That is the question we ask at ISiM, says Shalini R. Urs, the Executive Director and Professor of the school. Information schools spawn a new discipline while also being multidisciplinary. The method of teaching is also innovative. The syllabus is broad, and students and teachers enjoy a great deal of flexibility.

The ISIM was conceptualised and launched in 2005 in partnership with leading information schools in the U.S. Founded by the University of Mysore with munificent seed grants from the Ford Foundation and Bangalore-based Informatics (India), the ISiM is an example of public-private partnership in education. The ISiM follows the inverse of the distance education model: the students are present in the school while the faculty comprises a distributed network of excellence. As an information school, the ISiM is the first in India.

It offers a Master of Technology (M.Tech) in Information Systems and Management, a postgraduate diploma in Information Management (PGDIM), a Ph.D in Information Systems and Management, and Executive Education and Corporate Training programmes. It has already established itself as a quality provider of a niche discipline of study, with many students of the school placed in companies such as HP, HCL, IBM, Unisys, Web18, and Rediff.

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