Dr. Rajan Gurukkal, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Higher Educational Council,

Dr. T.M. Joseph, President, Principal’s Council,

Reverend Dr. Mathew Manakarakavil, Former Principal, Mar Ivanios College,

Prof. Prasannakumar, President, Kerala Private College Management Association

Dr. A Biju, General Secretary, Principal’s Council,

Dr. K.I. George, Principal, Mar Ivanios College,

Madhyama Suhruthukkale,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,

Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.


I am very happy to address the valedictory function of the Council of Principals of Colleges in Kerala, which is now celebrating its Golden Jubilee.

Let me at the outset, compliment the Council for its concerted efforts to bring together the heads of colleges for identifying and evaluating the academic and administrative issues which require urgent attention. I am informed that this inter-regional platform for principals of colleges has been successful in suggesting solutions to various academic and management issues in the higher education sector.

As all of us are aware, Kerala has some of the best colleges in the country and more than a dozen institutions had recently figured in the National Institutional Ranking Framework of the Ministry of Human Resources Development. I recall that Mar Ivanios College, where we are now sitting, had received the 29th position, just behind the University College, Thiruvananthapram. Let me at this moment, convey my sense of appreciation for all the colleges which secured a ranking in the recent evaluation.

Let me also remind this august audience that when I congratulate institutions, I am also complimenting the Principals who had been providing effective leadership to these institutions.  Without any doubt, we can say that behind every successful college, there would be the tireless striving and visionary leadership of a Principal. In the present context, the job of a principal is challenging, not only academically, but administratively and even politically.

Kerala was fortunate to have visionaries to head educational institutions. Take for instance, the founders of this Council, namely, Rev. Fr. T.C. Thomas, Prof. K.A. Jaleel and
Dr. M. Sreenivasan.  They are still remembered for the leadership they provided in building their institutions to better levels. I recall that Dr. Sreenivasan's statue was recently installed at SN College at Kollam, as a mark of respect and gratitude to his services.

With such role models to follow our Principals have a great responsibility in working towards excellence in higher education. The affiliated colleges were once expected only to work as per the directions of the universities to which they were affiliated. In fact, the ‘affiliated college model’ has been providing the core model for higher education in our country for more than a century.  However, the participation of affiliated colleges in higher forms of research and academic inquiries had remained somewhat limited. The goal of every college was often confined to attaining excellence within the geographical jurisdiction of a university. Sometimes, colleges were constrained to remain as mere examination centres of universities.

But, of late, this trend has changed and governments both at the Centre and State have acknowledged the potential of individual colleges. The evaluation by the National Assessment and Accreditation council [NAAC] had opened up avenues for expansion of the academic reach and output of colleges. The rise of Autonomous colleges also opened before our institutions, a world of opportunities for national or even global exposure.

Today, we have several colleges with Departments which carry out research with quality at par with the Research departments of universities. This has certainly enhanced the academic worth of our college teachers. But, I would request our Principals to evaluate whether this expertise and research potential of the teachers is actually trickling down to our students. Does the classroom experience in our colleges enhance the research capabilities of our students?

As you are aware, the Higher Education scenario in India is now undergoing several changes. First of all, as educational administrators, you have to cash-in on the demographic dividend that India is set to enjoy soon. For this, the emphasis has to be on skill development in our campuses.   The Ministry of Human Resources Development and University Grants Commission have set up institutional mechanisms like community colleges and Kaushal Kendras for creating better skilled human resources.

Principals have to ensure that their institutions provide a platform for students to acquire new skills along with their academic work.  Training in skills would make students more employable and industry-ready. I feel that our institutions should take the lead in the Skill Revolution that is going to change the destiny of India in the coming years.

The Greek thinker Socrates once called education, the kindling of a flame. Education should kindle in students, the flame of knowledge, which is not just textual information, but a clear awareness about society. In Kerala, the aided institutions run by various managements were the pioneers in including social outreach programmes as part of education.  Many activities of our colleges, aimed at the empowerment of rural people, women etc., amount to nation building through intellectual means. I hope our Principals would continue the good work by also persuading students to concentrate more on studies rather than party politics during student days.  They should also succeed in persuading teachers to improve their academic performance.


I must also appreciate the Principal council's decision to select a teacher from the Teacher Training area for the best Teacher award.  While congratulating Dr. S. Smitha on winning this award, I also convey my desire to see a revamping of the Teacher Training practices in accordance with the changing trends in higher education. At a time when the classroom itself is disappearing and the profile of the traditional student is changing, we need teaching methodologies and environments that would make learning more effective at various stages.

Let me conclude by complimenting the Council of Principals of Colleges in Kerala for celebrating its Golden Jubilee by organizing various programmes and for conducting this function in a befitting manner. I also congratulate the winners of the Debate competition and convey my best wishes to the Principals who have been honoured here today.

Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal


Jai Hind