A centre of excellence

Print edition : July 02, 2004

THE Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) is putting in place an on-campus correction path to mould itself as a university designed for the future. It has been correcting itself in both administrative and academic matters and has emerged as one of the pioneers in frontier areas of study such as Biotechnology, Biochemistry and Genomics. The MKU has been recognised as a centre of excellence in genomic sciences by the University Grants Commission and has received an initial grant of Rs.5 crores.

Prof. P.K. Ponnusamy.-K. GANESAN

"This is a university with 35 years of standing. This is the place where job placements have become easy owing to the credibility and quality of the courses offered," says Vice-Chancellor Prof. P.K. Ponnusamy. Big names in the field of Information Technology like IBM visit the campus for recruitment, he says.

"Our strength is in the four wings - university departments, affiliated colleges, the Directorate of Distance Education [DDE] and community outreach programmes," he says.

The MKU has a successful track record in distance education or correspondence course. Its DDE is an institution by itself. "We are extremely happy that our numbers (1.10 lakh enrolments) in the DDE are growing steadily. We are gearing up to meet the increase in volume," says Prof. Ponnusamy.

The thrust of the DDE has of late been on IT, in order to give a student-friendly service. With automation becoming the buzzword, the university in the first phase has provided the six study centres in Tamil Nadu with hardware and software to enable a smooth link with the DDE headquarters in Madurai. "The aim is to bring them under the Online Management and Monitoring System. The Salem and Chennai centres have already been brought under the system," he says. The next step is to focus on the 44 information centres located in other States and get them "linked". With the new facility, students can e-mail their grievances to the centres. The actual process of computerisation began two years ago and already the records of 40,000 students enrolled in the Madurai centre have been computerised. At the moment, the MKU is acting with foresight to bridge the distance.

Pointing to the growing stature of the university, the Vice-Chancellor referred to the grant of Rs.4.8 crores sanctioned by various agencies in the past two months.

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