Published: 20th November 2019
Thoothukudi's pride: How VO Chidambaram College is living up to the name of its founder, APC Veerabahu
We find out more about VO Chidambaram College, founded by freedom fighter APC Veerabahu, which is endowed with the latest facilities and provides quality education that is accessible to everybody
O Chidambaram College is one of the landmarks of Southern Tamil Nadu and has been the centre of knowledge in the Pearl Harbour of India, Thoothukudi. It was instituted by the eminent scholar and philanthropist, APC Veerabahu in July 1951, as a tribute to the Indian freedom fighter and great Tamil scholar, VO Chidambaram. This college was started with the mission of throwing open the portals of higher education to all, irrespective of caste, creed and gender. The college was started not as a commercial venture, for the glory of a particular family or community but to cater to the educational needs of the youth of Thoothukudi district, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds. Founded 69 years ago as an intermediate college with just 18 teachers and 196 students, the college has grown into a mini university almost, offering 50 UG and PG courses — both vocational and professional, and has produced 1,50,000 graduates till today. 11 departments have been elevated as research departments. Many of their alumni, including Dr K Pitchumani, Vice-Chancellor, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University and Dr P Manishankar, Vice-Chancellor, Bharathidasan University, have occupied prestigious positions in various government and private sectors.
In this era where education has become a commercial commodity, the doctrine of non-commercialisation of education which was the watchword of the founder, APC Veerabahu is being strictly adhered to even today by his successor. Neither capitation for appointments nor donations for admissions is being collected by the management.
Spread over a sprawling 5 acres, the college has a Golden Jubilee arch and the bronze statue of VO Chidambaram at the entrance. The spacious auditorium, well-equipped laboratory, well-furnished hostel, language lab, state-of-the-art computer labs and ICT halls, playground all set in a natural and green environment add a magnificent look to the institution.
NAAC has accredited the college with an A grade in the past continuous three cycles — 2004, 2011 and 2017. The college is marching towards greatness under the able leadership of the incumbent principal, Dr C Veerabahu, who is also a proud alumni of the college. It was under his dynamic leadership that the college had been accredited with an A grade and a CGPA 3.31 out of 4 in 2007 by NAAC and had been awarded 77th rank out of 37200 colleges in the India Rankings 2019.
A view of the indoor stadium
Apart from the regular courses, the college has instituted two new programmes — MSc Marine Environment Conservation and MSc Nano Science in the year 2014-2015.
The college seeks to prepare the students to face the modern-day challenges of the competitive world. The primary focus is on skill building and personality development rather than textual literacy. Around 20 value added courses have been offered by the college to provide additional skills for the students who choose to take on chellenging career opportunities. The college offers skill development programmes in association with IECD (Institute for Entrepreneurship & Career Development), Bharathidasan University. To provide opportunities in the area of logistics, Bachelor of Management Studies has been launched. The Marine Logistics programme supported by the Ministry of Skill Development & Enterpreneurship, (MHRD), is a recent initiative. These programmes aim to equip the individual with critical skills that are absolutely necessary to have a fulfilling career.
The principal of the college, Dr C Veerabahu
The institution which has 10 research departments has taken up a number of minor and major projects in the past ten years. It has received funding from various government agencies like UGC, DBT, DST, NCESS and from ICSSR for various science and social science projects. The findings of various researchers have been published in various journals.