Best Practices

Internal and Academic Audit
Soil Analysis & Preparation of Soil health card
E- tagging of Campus trees

Title of the Practice : Internal and Academic Audit

Objectives of the Practice

M. G. Science Institute is a Grant in Aid College, affiliated to Gujarat University and managed by The Ahmedabad Education Society. At M.G.Sc, there is a vision and mission to impart quality education to achieve all-round development of the students. This requires self-reflection and introspection along with collaborative teaching learning methods. For this, the Management emphasizes conduction of Internal and Academic audit. The objectives are:

1) To audit annual maintenance contract for various services and bill passing activities.

2) to audit student and teachers’ attendance and compilation of results

3) to audit internal marks assessment procedure

The Context

In today’s times, it is a challenge to lead students to academic excellence for all-round development. In such a scenario, Academic audit is the best practice to follow. Academic audit is a systematic and scientific process of reviewing the academic system for improvement of quality. This helps to assess the academic performance of both- the teachers and the students. It provides self-assessment based on quality principles and promotes integration across programs and disciplines.

By conducting academic audit, the accountability of each department is adjudged and the strengths and weakness are known. The audit can help to ensure punctuality, timely finishing of syllabi and understand the result pattern of the students. This enables the Principal to appreciate innovative teaching-learning methodologies as well as to suggest corrective measures if needed. The internal audit, on the other hand, enables the Principal and respective committees to decide the performance of annual maintenance providers.

The Practice

The management has appointed a reputed firm of auditors to conduct the internal and academic audits semester-wise. towards the end of each semester, the auditors arrive at the Institute and a list of required data is given to all HoDs to be kept ready for auditing. The audit members meticulously go through all the reports, presence sheets of staff and students, results, answer sheets, leave reports, etc. The audit of each department may take two to three working days. In all, the auditing process goes on for 15 to 20 days. Only when they are fully satisfied of the authenticity of data provided, do the auditors close the activity. A detailed report is provided to the Principal and the management to be reviewed and take action if necessary.

Constraints/limitations faced: Initially, some of the departments did not welcome the idea of their academic responsibility being subject to academic audit. Sometimes, departmental staff found it cumbersome to produce all the detailed data asked by the auditors. In due course, the process has become a habit and the reports are eagerly awaited. Departments also share their practises in day to day disbursing of activities.

Evidence of Success

1) Departments share their practises in day to day disbursing of activities. As a result, a standard format for attendance has evolved, where, previously, each teacher took presence as they pleased.

2) The teachers have willingly become more accountable towards their activities.

3) The students are more punctual and their results have improved.

4) The individual vendors for various services have also become more accountable and their services have improved.

5) The Management has appreciated the efforts of the Institute in improving academic performance.

6) The student result shows that each semester, there are at least ten to fifteen students among the top 50 students in the Gujarat University exams.

7) Since the attendance has been audited, the students have become more responsible towards their presence in the classes. They inform the concerned teachers well in advance in case they are going to remain absent.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

Any activity of self-introspection requires total commitment and dedication of members to improvement of quality. Initially, some departments resisted the idea of their academic performance being scrutinised by a third party. It was also a matter of stress for the department heads to keep all data ready for the auditors as per the dates given. Later, it has become a habit to prepare all required data from the beginning of the semester so that it is ready at hand when the auditors visit the department.

Year First Term Second Term
2014-15
2015-16
2016-17
2017-18
2018-19

Title of the Practice : Soil Analysis & Preparation of Soil health card

Objectives

(i) Capacity building of students and teachers in terms of knowledge gaining, sharing and enhancement of skill.

(ii) Empowering students with financial benefits by giving them work during vacation.

(iii) Joining hands with the Government to help the farmers in their work.

(iv) It is a tripartite project in which the Govt. of Gujarat, teachers and students work collectively for the benefit of society.

The Context

The Government of Gujarat has taken up the initiative to make a ‘Soil Health Card’ for each farmland so that if the soil is deficient in mineral nutrients the farmers can take steps to improve its quality. This project has been given to selected research organizations and M.G. Science has been one of them. During the years 2014-15 and 2015-16, the students analysed soil samples for five different parameters viz. pH, Electrical Conductance (EC), Organic carbon, Phosphorus and Potassium. Last year in 2018-19, the study of micronutrients like S, Zn, Bo, Fe, Mn, Cu, N was also done.

Out of these, four of them- Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu were analysed using a highly sophisticated instrument called Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer.

Soil Analysis data

Year Number of soil samples analysed students involved Amount allocated by the   government
2014-2015 10,060 20 6,33,600
2015-2016 5,108 20 3,06,480
2018-2019 11,251 37 14,00,637

The Practice:

The Agricultural Department of Govt. of Gujarat proposed the institute to carry out the project of “Soil health card”. This is a very noble and timely project to help the farmer community. The Institute took keen interest in this mammoth task, and took up the project. The selected students and teachers were trained at the Soil analysis laboratory, Gandhinagar. They were provided with the technical know-how and methodology for the same. Different batches of students were allotted different tasks and thousands of soil samples received from different areas of the state were analysed by precise, timely and accurate teamwork. The results of the analysis were crosschecked by the government monitoring agency and they were found to be satisfactory. The soil health cards prepared this way are sent to the concerned farmers for further action. This helps the farmers to determine which crops to cultivate as well as to choose the fertilizer required for getting optimum yield.

Besides helping the farming community, the project of Soil analysis has helped a number of the students to gain the knowledge and a sense of achievement.

Evidence of Success:

Over the period of last three years, approximately 26,419 samples were analysed. All the results were handed over in clear, precise and methodical manner within a stipulated timeframe. The fact that the Institute has been assigned this important work time and again, is, in itself, an evidence of success.

The targets given in each of the years were achieved well in time. The work was performed during the summer break so as to give students enough time to work. About 5 percent of samples were re-analysed by the external agency of the monitoring committee of the government. The results were always in coherence, thus proving the accuracy and success of work done.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required:

As with any scientific project, there were a few problems related to samples, instruments and resources.
Many a times, the amount of soil samples received was not enough so more of the same were to be procured which extended the total time of the analysis.
Availability of funds was delayed at times.
Calibration and maintenance of instruments was regularly needed.
In year 2018-19 AAS was used for the first time, to analyse four micronutrients. However, its installation and functioning were found to be tedious.

Title of the Practice : E- tagging of Campus trees

Objectives of the Practice

1) The overall objective of the campus tree inventory was to collect information about individual trees and to tag them digitally.

2) Develop a way that will facilitate the sustainable management of the campus trees in a manner that maximizes the environmental and social benefits while minimizing the facilitating costs.

3) Increase the awareness of students towards the geographic location of campus trees.

4) To make a digital data bank of the recorded tree species and make it available through smart phone apps.

The Context

Trees are an integral component of M. G. Science campus environment. They add a distinct character and demonstrate the green health of the campus. Generally, trees are tagged with name plates which are nailed or wired on them. This is a cruel practise and often condemned. On the other hand, smart phones can be positively used to record and store important data. The knowledge of the challenge to tag trees and the potential of electronic media was used by scientists do develop an app for smart phones. Using this, the students could record trees, their location, their botanical features and usefulness, etc. and store the data within the phone. This way, the trees can be visited by any lay person using the location details and read the details of the tree on the phone itself.

The Practice

The vision and mission of the Institute is to lead the The Institute campus represents an excellent opportunity to explore the relationships of these trees as a living laboratory in measuring sustainability as a function of the interaction between campus users and their environment. Using electronic media to record and tag trees is a unique method, not used before. Taking inspiration from google maps and locational benefits they provide, trees on the campus were electronically tagged. Their photographs were stored along with some important botanical features and uses. All this information, which is within the smartphone, when shared with others, can be widely used as a pamphlet that can guide even a layman to all the different trees. The entire process would be environment friendly and sustainable.

In the present activity, total 50 trees were tagged with the help of Tree Tagging App developed at Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, with inputs from Dr. Alpana. Details like Tree number, common name, family name, botanical name, uses, were recorded. Additionally, a picture of each tree was also captured in order to identify it easily. The enthusiasm of students was tremendous and as a pilot project it was very well performed and usefulness appreciated by all.

In two separate visits during two days, about 16 students and Dr. Shukla recorded 50 trees.

Evidence of Success

The electronic tree tagging has been highly successful in raising the awareness of students and staff towards the green wealth of the Institute. This is a non-invasive and environment friendly method which is also user friendly. The activity has been taken up by CEPT university and other Institutes as well. The students of Botany department offer their services for making such tree maps for other interested organisations. The practise of e-tree tagging proves that environment friendliness can be achieved through electronic media and innovative practices.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

It was a challenge to develop an app which is user friendly and versatile. If the information is not shared then also it stays within a closed group only.