Scholarly ethos

Published : Jul 13, 2012 00:00 IST

Crawford Hall, the administrative block of the University of Mysore.-M.A.SRIRAM

Crawford Hall, the administrative block of the University of Mysore.-M.A.SRIRAM

The tradition of providing quality education continues in Mysore, helping the city retain its place as a highly regarded centre of learning.

Any visitor to Mysore can easily connect with its royal past, which is evident in its palaces, wide boulevards and fine buildings harking back to another era. The erstwhile capital of the princely state of Mysore is a major tourist destination in Karnataka. This year promises to be a special year for the city as it prepares to celebrate the centenary of the grand Amba Vilas Palace, known as the Mysore Palace. The construction of the palace was completed in 1912 and marked the beginning of a glorious era of the Wodeyar kings which continued until India attained independence in 1947. The kingdom merged with the Union of India soon after.

The kingdom was known as a model state thanks to the steps taken by Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1902-1940) to bring about social and educational reforms. He constituted the first Backward Classes Commission in the subcontinent to address the problem of low representation of the backward communities in administration and education.

Wodeyar also encouraged education for all, and it was during his reign that free education was provided to Dalits in the kingdom. Recognising the importance of university education, Krishnaraja Wodeyar established the University of Mysore in 1916.

This tradition of imparting quality higher education continues in Mysore even today. The many educational institutions that have flourished in Mysore have helped it retain its place as a highly regarded centre of learning. The fast-growing city has emerged as a hub for higher education in the past few decades.

While the University of Mysore continues to be recognised as a prominent institution representing the scholarly ethos of the city, other institutions such as the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) and the Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences (BIMS) are setting excellent standards in imparting higher education in various disciplines. The Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara (JSS) Mahavidyapeetha runs institutes of high repute. These include the JSS Law College and the JSS group of medical institutions.

The University of Mysore, which is the first university to be founded in the region and the sixth one to come up in the country, has a rich tradition of scholarship. It is situated on a beautiful and expansive campus called Manasagangotri, which offers a panoramic view of the nearby Chamundi Hills. The administrative offices of the university are located in the majestic Crawford Hall, built in 1947. Planned originally to house the Representative Assembly of Mysore, it is now the venue for university convocations and other important functions.

The university has inherited Mysores tradition of promoting socially relevant education for nurturing individual excellence, socially conscious citizenship and inclusive development. It has under its jurisdiction 183 affiliated colleges in the districts of Mysore, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar, 49 recognised research centres and 26 outreach centres spread across the country. The university caters to more than 70,000 students, including 5,526 in postgraduate courses. Around 1,500 foreign students from 51 countries pursue higher studies at the university.

In the past year, the activities of the university got a fillip when the University Grants Commission (UGC) recognised it as a University with a Potential for Excellence (UPE) to encourage selected universities to reach world-class standards in their chosen domain(s) by providing additional funds to them under the scheme.

The university has started a Directorate of Research to cater exclusively to the needs of research students. In order to inculcate soft skills among students and to assist them in getting jobs, the university has started the Centre for Proficiency Development and Placement Services (CPDPS). It has added 17,000 e-books and 13,000 e-journals to its magnificent library, which is now accessible through an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). To look into complaints of sexual harassment, the university has started a harassment inquiry committee called Sparsha.

Its motto, Na Hi Jnanena Sadrusham (meaning nothing is equal to knowledge) rightly reflects its attitude. By 2025, the university hopes to be one of the top 150 universities in the world and one of the top 10 in India. It is no wonder that a large number of academics from the University of Mysore are currently employed as Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of universities across Karnataka.

Karnataka state open university

The KSOU was established on June 1, 1996, under a Special Act of the State legislature called the KSOU Act, 1992, to provide opportunities in higher education to people living in remote areas in the State and elsewhere, with particular emphasis on catering to the disadvantaged groups, mature adults (who comprise over 15 per cent of the student population), housewives and working professionals (who comprise close to 50 per cent of the students). It was set up to take over the distance education programmes of the University of Mysore. But the KSOU has now evolved an identity of its own. It offers need-based academic programmes based on feedback from society and industry. Accessibility, quality, flexibility and affordability are some of the major strengths of the university. It has 10 regional centres, 123 undergraduate study centres, 24 study centres for students pursuing Bachelor in Education (BEd)/Master in Education (MEd) and over 3,000 study centres under collaborative arrangements in different parts of the country.

In this academic year, 2012-13, the university plans to add 11 more regional centres in various districts in Karnataka so that the entire State is covered. The programmes offered by the KSOU are diverse and include degrees in Agriculture, Theatre, Handicrafts, Aviation, Information Technology, Yoga, Hospitality Management, Fine Arts, Environmental Studies, Food and Nutrition, and Management.

To enable its students to have exposure to international education and enjoy better job opportunities, the KSOU has collaborations with Virginia Commonwealth University, United States; University of Azteca, Mexico; and Horizon International School, Sri Lanka. All the academic programmes of the KSOU are credit-based and its contents are designed strictly in accordance with the standards laid down by the Distance Education Council (DEC) and the UGC.

Professor K.S. Rangappa, the dynamic Vice-Chancellor of the KSOU, said that the university had more than three lakh students on its rolls. He was confident that this figure would cross four lakh in the coming academic year. The age of the students enrolled at the KSOU ranges from 18 to 80. Several new buildings, such as the Administrative Block, Science Bhavan and a Convocation Hall, are under construction on the premises.

Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences

The Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences, located on the northern edge of Manasagangotri, is a stellar centre of the University of Mysore. The university started the Department of Business Administration in 1974. The department got a big boost in 2002 when B.N. Bahadur, an alumnus of the university and president of the B.N. Bahadur Family Foundation of Michigan, U.S., made a handsome donation, which together with a contribution from the university, went into the establishment of the B.N. Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences (BIMS).

The institutes mission is to develop performers and contributors from among its students. It has an excellent faculty, a fine blend of academics and practising managers. In addition to conducting a regular MBA programme, the institute offers a wide array of management programmes. It constantly networks with other business schools and corporations, which enables it to keep pace with the highly competitive business world and the changing needs of the managerial market.

The BIMS has equipped its classrooms with state-of-the-art equipment. According to Prof B. Shivaraj, Chairman of the BIMS, the greatest strength of the institute is the diversity of its students. In a class of 150 students, 120 are from Karnataka and the rest are foreign students, coming from 20 countries. The cross-cultural ambience is very good here, he said. In the past few years, campus recruitment has been extremely good at the BIMS with more than 90 per cent of the students getting placements. The BIMS faculty members are experts in their respective disciplines. With added support from industry executives, who are associated with the institute as guest lecturers, the students are exposed to the best academic resources. In fact, the BIMS organises special industry-institute interaction programmes every year, which brings students face to face with senior executives from industry.

JSS Law college

The JSSLC was started in 1982 and is the first law college in the country to achieve autonomous status, giving it complete freedom with regard to admissions and curriculum. The college has been given a B+ by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and is also recognised as an institution of excellence by the Bar Council of India.

The faculty, which has been drawn from diverse backgrounds and include several top practising lawyers, are well qualified, have practical knowledge and experience, and use evaluative, analytical and problem-solving methods of teaching. For the past 15 years, the university toppers in law have been students of the JSSLC, the college administration says. The diversity of students on the campus is hard to miss.

The JSSLC has made it a point to have a lot of diversity in its student body as the varied experiences enrich the quality of education. We have students from 12 countries, including Afghanistan, as well as students from across India, said Prof. K.S. Suresh, principal of the JSSLC. There are 517 students, including 124 foreign students; 50 per cent of the students at the institute are girls.

The college understands the importance of continuous innovation and the need for law students to have knowledge in diverse areas. The college is introducing a variety of courses to allow students to opt for courses outside their discipline. They will be given additional credits for these courses. All students will have an opportunity to add 25 credits to his/her course, which will be included in the marks card, said Suresh.

The college has introduced a practical/skill component, separate from the theory component, so that students can learn through practice. The students practical knowledge of law will be complete once he/she goes through a course at the JSSLC, Suresh said. The students of the JSSLC have done the college proud by winning prizes at leading moot court competitions across the country. Many High Court judges recruit students from the JSSLC to assist them. Court visits and participation in legal aid and literacy programmes are added advantages that the students get at this institution. Reputed multinational companies and legal firms regularly hire students of this college during campus recruitment.

JSS Medical Institutions

The JSS Mahavidyapeetha 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 in Mysore. Everyday, on an average, the hospital treats 800 people in the outpatient department. Several activities are organised regularly in rural areas to create health awareness. The JSSMVP has embarked on some major projects in recent years, including the construction of a 1,700-bed multi-speciality hospital and an ayurvedic hospital.

The JSS medical institutions include the JSS Ayurveda Medical College, the JSS Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Science, the JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing, the JSS College of Physiotherapy and three JSS Colleges of Nursing in Mysore and Sakleshpura (in Hassan district).

The JSS Institute of Speech and Hearing was established in 2001 with the objective of training professionals. It offers BSc and MSc in Speech and Hearing. The institute is affiliated to the University of Mysore, and its degree is recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India. The institute is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, a well-stocked library, and provides hostel accommodation for women. It lays special emphasis on student welfare and co-curricular activities.

Realising the growing demand for professionally trained physiotherapists, the JSS Mahavidyapeetha established the JSS College of Physiotherapy in 1999. Today, the college is the only such in Mysore to offer a bachelors and masters programme in physiotherapy. The department treats over 120 patients a day as outpatients and as in-patients.

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