Centre of excellence

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 20.09.12
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In July 2006, it became the first autonomous college in West Bengal. Next step? Becoming a university, perhaps. The college, of course, needs no introduction — St Xavier’s, Calcutta.

So what difference has autonomy made? As an autonomous college, it is entitled to frame its own syllabus and curriculum, conduct examinations and have it’s own system of evaluation. “We have introduced the semester system, which is of international standards. As a result, the responsibilities and work load of teachers have increased,” says J. Felix Raj S.J., principal, St Xavier’s College. The degrees, however, are still conferred by Calcutta University.

“The system has become more student friendly and continuous internal assessment has made students more responsible,” adds the principal.

A minority higher educational institution, St Xavier’s was founded in 1860 by a Catholic religious body, the Society of Jesus, and affiliated to Calcutta University in 1862. Over the years, the 152-year-old college has grown into a leading institution with illustrious alumni to boast of. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (Naac) recognised Xavier’s as an “A” grade institution in 2003. In May 2006, it was declared a “centre with potential for excellence” by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The college has about 5,000 undergraduate and 700 postgraduate students, while another 500 are enrolled in career-oriented programmes and certificate courses. The admission process takes place online.

St Xavier’s offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the arts, in science, commerce, business administration and education. It also offers professional degree and diploma courses.

In BCom, specialisations are available in accounting and finance, and marketing management. In humanities, honours degrees are offered in English, Bengali, political science and sociology. There are also courses in film studies, journalism and communicative English. The science subjects in which honours degrees are offered are physics, chemistry, mathematics, economics, computer science, statistics and microbiology. It also offers bachelors degrees in mass communication and videography and multimedia and animation.

At the postgraduate level, courses in computer science, biotechnology, microbiology, physics and commerce are offered.

The BCom course is the most popular. In 2007, the college started offering MCom too. Currently, there are 60 seats on offer for the postgraduate course. At least four weeks of internship is a must at the end of the first year. The college has collaborations with foreign universities such as St John and St Benedict University, Minnesota, Manitoba University, Canada and Fordham University, New York.

St Xavier’s has a very active placement cell. Every year about 350 students get campus placements. Last year, Google visited the campus as did Icra, PwC, Maruti, L&T, Mitsubishi Chemical, TCS, AOL, Wipro, Essar and Deloitte. “In fact, five of our students bagged pay packets of Rs 12 lakh per annum,” says Raj.

What of the future? Becoming a university is next on the agenda. “We are expanding into two more campuses, one on the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass and the other in Rajarhat. Postgraduate courses in almost all subjects will commence and we will offer honours in history, philosophy, geography, botany, zoology and geology,” says the principal.

The six-acre campus on E.M. Bypass will have educational and multimedia research centres and two 100-bed hostels, one each for boys and girls.

At Rajarhat, the 17-acre campus would house the engineering and management departments as well as a science research centre. Currently, the hostel can accommodate only 150 students. By next June, a boys’ hostel and a girls’ hostel on AJC Bose Road would be ready.

“Xavier’s was a great leveller for me. It made me the person I am today. I did graduation in commerce. The institution has got a tremendous value system and I met some of my closest friends in Xavier’s. It makes me very proud to see my college on its way to becoming a university,” says Sanjiv Goenka, chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group who is also a member of the college’s internal quality assurance committee.

Vital Statistics

WHAT IS IT?
A minority higher educational institution run by the Jesuits

WHO’S THE BOSS?
J. Felix Raj S.J. is the principal

Where is it?
30 Mother Teresa Sarani, Calcutta-700016 Phone: 2255-1101 email: principal@sxccal.eduWebsite: www.sxccal.edu

PROS
Excellent faculty, big classrooms, state-of-the-art library

CONS
Small campus, limited accomodation in hostel

Sharmistha Das

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