Tuesday, 21 February 2017
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BRIEF HISTORY
Established in 1968, Calicut University has become a veritable lighthouse beckoning and directing millions of young men and women towards meaningful education. Today, it has emerged the largest University in Kerala with 25 Departments of postgraduate studies and research, under its direct control and 191 affiliated colleges spread across the five northern districts of Kerala–Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur and Wayanad – serving about 2.75 lakh students every year.
 Master Plan
Genesis

The University of Calicut came into being as a result of the foresightedness of the visionary leards like C.H. Mohammed Koya, C. Achutha Menon, and K.P. Kesava Monon who are no more with us now. They realised that the Kerala University centres at Cochin and Calicut were inadequate for a balanced growth of the higher education in Kerala.

They wanted new universities, in particular, a full fledged University which could open the doors of higher education to the youth of northern Kerala. At this juncture, matters took a turn for the better. The late C.H. Mohammed Koya, for whom setting up Calicut University was more than a cherished dream, became the Kerala Education Minister.

 

C.H. Mohammed Koya
Soon, with the encouragement of the then Kerala Chief Minister, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, he constituted a 22–member committee of experts to examine the question of establishing new universities in the State. The Committee headed by Prof. Samuel Mathai, the Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University, consisted of eminent educationists and public figures such as late K.P. Kesava Menon, late P.P. Hassan Koya, late P.K. Abdul Gafoor, P. Govinda Pillai and late K.C. Chacko. After several rounds of meetings at Calicut , Cochin and Trivandrum , the Committee in its report unanimously recommended the immediate establishment of a University in Calicut to organise post-graduate departments of studies and research and to affiliate all colleges in the northern districts. Formation of a federal university at Trikakkara, Cochin was another recommendation of the Committee. Armed with these recommendations, C.H. swung into action and appointed K.C. Chacko, Director of Technical Education as the Special Officer and M. Abdul Rahim, Municipal Commissioner, as Administrative Officer for the formation of the University at Calicut .
 

In the meantime, at the behest of the Kerala Government, the UGC’s special commission headed by Dr. P.S. Reddi, the Vice-Chancellor of Osamania University, visited the State to examine its proposal for new universities. Based on the Reddi Commission report, the UGC on July 3, 1968 gave concurrence for the creation of a University at Calicut.

C.H, a man of quick action, could not wait for the convening of the State Legislative Assembly to pass a legislation for the formation of Calicut University . On July 23, 1968 he got an Ordinance issued creating the University. Thus came into being the University of Calicut . Several other actions followed in quick succession: K.C. Chacko, Special Officer, was appointed the first Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University; the University was formally inaugurated at a public function on August 12, 1968; the Calicut University Bill was passed by the State Legislative Assembly on August 29, 1968; and statutory bodies such as the Senate, Syndicate, Academic Council, Faculties and Boards of Studies were constituted.

This was just the beginning. Much more has to be done – developing the University campus with all the infrastructure such as, buildings for teaching departments and administration, hostels for students, recruiting manpower and more importantly, designing and launching new academic programmes. To carry out these tasks, the need was for a Vice-Chancellor who could guide, develop and lay a firm foundation for the growth of the University. The search led to the most suitable person, Dr. M.M. Ghani, Director, Regional Institute of English, Bangalore . He assumed office as the first Vice-Chancellor on May 31, 1969.
 
While C.H. founded the University, the first Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ghani, an academic administrator par-excellence, devoted every moment of his six year long tenure in giving it a strong foundation, a prerequisite to achieve the goal of spreading higher education in northern Kerala. In his endeavour, he had the wholehearted support of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the 15-member nominated Syndicate.
Dr. Ghani Era
It was during the tenure of this team that a master plan for campus development was drawn to meet the most immediate and long term needs. The immediate requirements of buildings for the university offices, teaching departments and hostels were met speedily. The Vice-Chancellor’s office temporarily located at the Government Polytechnic, Kozhikode was shifted to the campus in October 1969. By June 1970, the four teaching departments of Botany, Chemistry, History and Zoology were shifted to the campus. In that year, quite a few of the teachers, students and administrative staff took up residence on the campus. Their presence on the campus added momentum to the development of infrastructure, much of which was completed in a record time of about three years. These included various types of quarters for staff, guest house, hostels, teachers’ hostel, health centre, library, campus roads, indoor stadium and water supply system.
 
 
Convocation

By 1974, work on the construction of permanent buildings for each of the science departments, a block for four language departments and the administration building was under progress. When Dr. Ghani laid down the office at the beginning of the Fifth Plan period in 1975, the University had made considerable progress. The number of departments had increased from 4 to 11, UGC sanction had been obtained for starting seven more departments during the fifth plan period, the University Centre at Tellicherry had been established and the Trichur Centre was being readied.

Besides offering post-graduate courses, the Departments had begun to take up research projects with financial assistance from external agencies. Doctoral programmes in a few disciplines got stabilized. There was significant progress in the constituent colleges too. Their number had risen from 54 in 1968 to 70 at the end of 1975. Quite a few of these colleges had begun new courses.

Matching the impressive growth, there were several concerted efforts to bring about qualitative changes in the teaching and learning process at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Two of the most salient attempts in this direction were: a series of orientation and short-term courses organised to upgrade the knowledge and skills of teachers and the Examination Reforms Programme, a unique experiment that has served as a model to several universities in the country.

In the subsequent years of the Fifth, Sixth Seventh and the Eight Plan periods, the University made commendable progress on all fronts under the leadership of its successive Vice-Chancellors – Dr. Noor Muhammad, Prof. K.A. Jaleel, Dr. T.N. Jayachandran, Prof. T.K. Raveendran and Dr. A.N.P. Ummerkutty, Prof. K.K.N. Kurup and Prof. Syed Iqbal Hasnain. 

Expansion Phase
 Jurisdiction of The UniversityThe Fifth Plan period in particular, remains an important phase in the development history of Calicut University . Despite severe stress and strain it made significant progress by expanding academic programmes, improving the quality of education and by creating infrastructure to provide adequate support for on-going and future programmes. A major development in this period was the establishment of nine new Departments, seven with UGC assistance and two with the University’s resources. These were: the Departments of Economics (at Thrissur), Mathematics, Psychology, Philosophy, Mass Communication and Russian in 1976; the Department of Sanskrit and the School of Drama (at Thrissur) in 1977; and the Departments of Library and Information Sciences, and Life Sciences in 1978. The second most important development was the launching of M.Phil courses in Hindi, Malayalam and History in 1976, Arabic in 1977 and Physics in 1980. The first M. Phil programme to be launched by the University was English, in 1975.

The third major activity during the Fifth Plan was the commencement of the UGC sponsored College Science Improvement Programme at the Department of Physics under the University Leadership Project. The programme's objectives included compilation of a data bank on teaching of Physics in colleges, training of colleges teachers and assisting colleges in setting up small workshops/laboratories with UGC assistance.

The academic-support infrastructure created during this period consisted of a Botanical Garden with a green house, a Radiation Laboratory in the Department of Physics and a Central Workshop and Instrumentation Laboratory, later named University Science Instrumentation Centre. 

By the end of 1980, the administrative office and the Science departments of Botany, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Zoology had been moved into permanent buildings. The language departments’ building had neared completion. Yet another major facility that neared completion was the construction of a filter plant on the campus. With its commissioning in 1982, the University fulfilled the long-felt need for uncontaminated water supply on the campus.

During the Sixth and Seventh Plan periods spanning the 80s, the University in consonance with its policy focused primarily on consolidation and strengthening of on-going teaching and research programmes of the University Departments and constituent colleges. In pursuance of this policy, curricula of most of the courses were revised and some courses restructured on an experimental basis. To complement these objectives, the teaching Departments, particularly the under staffed ones were provided with additional faculty and, the laboratories equipped with new equipment utilizing UGC’s equipment grant.

With these initiatives, the University by the end of the Seventh Plan, had come to achieve the objective of uplifting the Departments to a higher level on the development scale. While the Department of Botany attained the developed status, four other departments- chemistry, Hindi, History and Zoology reached the threshold of the developed category. The other departments, though remaining in the developing category, launched news courses – post-graduate and pre-doctoral by some and job-oriented diploma and certificate courses by some others.
 
The University opened two new departments during the Seventh Plan period. The first one was the Department of Anthropology at Tellicherry in 1986 and the Department of Statistics in 1988 by bifurcating the Department of Mathematics.
 
Besides these, the University was chosen by the UGC to implement two major schemes – the Academic Staff College which was set up in 1987, and the University Leadership programme in History at the Department of History in 1988. To mitigate the problems of students in acquiring reasonably priced and good quality text books, the University set up a Publication Division in 1989. In addition to the text books for degree students, the Division has published over 40 research publications as non-text books. It also publishes five research journals.

In the Eighth Plan period the University was geared to further strengthen and bring about overall qualitative changes in the academic programmes so as to meet the challenges set before it by new social, economic, academic and technology imperatives.

During this period, the University established two departments funded by external agencies. The first one was the Department of Biotechnology set up in 1995 with financial assistance of the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, to conduct teaching and research programmes in Biotechnology at the post graduate level. The second was the Audio Visual Research Centre with cent percent funding of the UGC. The Centre produces educational video programmes for broadcast on DD Network – DD1, Vyas, The Higher educational Channel, DD Bharathi and Gyandarshan.
 
In the latter part of the 90s, the University launched a variety of cost-based courses to meet the demand for trained personnel in the areas of computer application and engineering, food technology, fashion design. The University also set up 11 teacher Education Centres to conduct the Bachelor of Education programme (B.Ed) course. In 1997, the Kunhali Marakkar Centre for West Asian Studies was setup at Vatakara to conduct teaching and research programmes with focus on West Asian Studies. In 1999, the Centre for Folklore studies was established at Vatakara. The Centre besides conducting a Master course in Folklore studies, conducts research and document the folklore tradition of Kerala.
 
The Colleges Scenario

The University to a large extent has succeeded in realizing the objective of making college education accessible to millions of young men and women of northern Kerala. The 54 constituent colleges with which the University embarked on its journey were more than inadequate to carry it further toward its goal. More colleges had to be set up. In the first decade of its history (1968-’77), the growth in the number of colleges was slow with only 20 colleges being added.

The next five years (1978-’82) however, remains an important phase in which as many as 19 colleges were established, keeping in view the sudden surge in student population seeking admission for college level courses. With this, the strength of colleges rose to 93. Eight more colleges were opened in the decade 1983-’92, raising the strength of affiliated colleges to 101. This decade, though not important from the viewpoint of numerical growth, stands out for the expansion and diversification of courses in the colleges. While some introduced graduate courses, some others launched postgraduate programmes. In the latter part of the decade in particular, 14 junior colleges started graduate courses and thereby elevated themselves to the status of first grade colleges. As over 85 per cent of the student population receives education in colleges, the UGC felt the need for proper planning and integrated development of colleges in the University. Accordingly, the University in 1988 set up the College Development Council headed by a Director.

In the subsequent decade (1993-2002), there was an impressive numerical growth. As many as 37 new colleges came into being taking the tally from 101 at the end of 1992 to 138 at the end of 2002. Today, the University has 191 affiliated colleges. Of these, 95 are arts/science/IHRDcolleges, 22 engineering colleges, 20 Arabic colleges, 20 training colleges, 12 nursing colleges, 8 pharmacy colleges besides 5 medical colleges, 4 Ayurveda colleges, 2 Dental colleges, 2 law colleges and 1 Homeo College. The distribution of these colleges in fairly even in the five districts which are under the jurisdiction of the University. The district wise break up is: Kozhikode – 52 colleges, Thrissur – 52 colleges, Malappuram – 53 colleges, Palakkad – 29 colleges and Wayanad – 5 colleges.

The impressive scenario of colleges owes much to the enthusiasm of private educational organizations, which own over 150 colleges. The remaining are run by the State Government. These 191 colleges have an annual sanctioned intake-capacity of nearly 31,000.
 
The student enrolment for regular courses in colleges has also registered a many-fold growth. In 1968, the University Departments and colleges together had about 44,000 students. The slow but steady growth in the first decade (1968-’77) registered a sudden surge in 1980 when the growth rate touched a high of 23.7 per cent taking the enrolment strength to 86,000 from about 65,000 in 1979. The enrolment crossed the one lakh mark in 1983 and touched a high of 1.24 lakh in 1991. In 1992 the total strength had declined slightly to a little over 1.12 lakh. An equally large number enroll as private students, especially for the pre-degree courses.
 
The Unviersity’s effort in giving a fillip to the development of sports and games by setting up a Department of Physical Education has paid rich dividends. In several track and field events, the University teams have come to establish their supremacy in regional and national meets. P.T.Usha, Shiny Wilson, Anju Bobby George are just a few athletes of the University who have made the nation proud through their stellar performance in international meets.