1) DIGITAL POLICY

Technological advancements have an impact throughout the world on the everyday lives of citizens, on how societies are developing, on the skills and competences required to take part in society and most importantly, on how to access knowledge and information. Although the transformations are taking place in different ways, at different paces, and with different means and opportunities, one common factor to higher education institutions is that they are all confronted with the question of how to adapt and shape higher education in an increasingly digital world.

The aim of digital transformation is to advance and improve the quality and relevance of higher education. This institutional policy statement spells out the principles and values that shall underpin the transformational process from the current state to a digitalized state, making every effort to shape an inclusive, ethical and purpose-based digital transformation.   We have also ensured that the highlights of our policy are in tune with the National Education Policy 2020.

The institution recognizes some of the major barriers to digital transformation as:

  • The human factor: Institutional culture is not changing at the same pace as technological developments. To address this issue, the institution will provide strong leadership support while ensuring that the different stakeholders, faculty, staff and students take part in the process and take ownership of the process. The leadership will motivate and mobilize the institution and combine it with capacity-building of faculty and staff in relation to their different type of task and mission. If needed, a specific unit will be created to drive digital transformation forward.
  • Financial investments: The institution recognizes that it is not enough to have the basic infrastructure in place and then be able to leverage the potential. The more access we have to basic infrastructure the more investment is required to further develop the potential of technology. Effort will be made to find the financial investment required to put in place new infrastructure to meet technological advancement.
  • Inequalities: Though technology is only a means to an end, it is an essential means to access information, data and knowledge. Knowledge is fundamental to the politics, economy and culture of modern society. It is essential for the individuals to take informed decisions in life. When technology is not available equally to all, it leads, inevitably, to different and unequal opportunities, serving to deepen the digital divide. The institution will play its part in building a knowledge society, at the same time, attempting to bridge the divide.
  • Ethical aspects: Online management of information and data also implies new ways of analysing and making use of data. Use of technology in attendance and admissions are only changes carried out to do the same thing with more efficiency through improved procedures and management. But to address ethical questions on the right to data privacy, the institution will formulate a code of conduct to ensure that stakeholders involved are informed and made aware of how data collected is to be used, thus creating a transparent and safe environment for data management.

2) IT POLICY

The college IT Policy seeks to maintain, secure and ensure legal and appropriate use of Information Technology infrastructure established by the institution on the campus. This policy establishes college-wide strategies and responsibilities for protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the Information assets that are accessed, created and managed by the institution. These include data, information systems, computers, network devices, intellectual property, as well as written or verbally communicated information.

Realizing the importance of internet and intranet services, the college established basic network infrastructure in the first decade of the millennium and has been upgrading services regularly. 

This document attempts to educate the college community of the rights and responsibilities of using the IT resources of the college by laying down the broad guidelines for appropriate use of the IT facilities available in the context of the college.

The policies enunciated here shall be revisited periodically as the IT sector is a rapidly changing field.

Purpose

The college is committed to providing integrated and comprehensive technologies to enhance teaching learning and to improve productivity and supporting internal and external communication and collaboration in alignment with the vision and mission of the institution.

Hence, it gives access to faculty, students and staff to a wide range of computing resources, digital information and communication networks basic to the academic, research and administrative functions of the college.

Appropriate Use of IT 

The academic community must:

  • Honour intellectual property, privacy of data, and the rights of others. 
  • Adhere to copyright laws and guidelines. Same rules of print media apply to digital resources.
  • Respect licence agreements regarding the copying and use of computer software, library online databases and files such as text, audio, videos and graphics.

Inappropriate Use of IT 

The following actions would be viewed as misuse of IT resources: 

  • Using false identity to access a computer system
  • Infringement of copyright
  • Downloading or storing pirated material
  • E-mail harassment and hoaxes
  • Intentionally access, create, store or transmit pornographic material
  • Damaging a system by introducing a worm, virus or spyware
  • Unauthorized attempts to alter data files or systems
  • Any action compromising the integrity or security  of computer, network, website or email systems
  • Use of technology to impersonate another individual, or for personal financial gain
  • Sharing individual or organizational authorizations and passwords
  • Damaging or removal of software, hardware, any activity in violation of government rules or college policy.

Security

All computers connected to the institution’s network shall be protected with up-to-date anti-virus software and the latest operating system security fixes installed. The IT department will take care of the institution owned systems. Individuals must take similar action with personally owned computers using the institution’s network. The IT department will make known the minimum security requirement for personal computers.

Individuals are responsible for protecting their passwords for access to college resources. They must not divulge their password to anyone other than the IT Department.

Privacy & Confidentiality

The college owns and maintains the computers and communication systems used by its faculty, staff and students. It has the right and responsibility to periodically access files to service and repair these systems and to ensure that college policies and applicable laws are observed.

The IT Department remotely manages all college-owned computers from a centralized management console.

In general, information stored on these computers will be considered confidential and to be shared with specific individuals/groups for academic/administrative purposes.

Email

Email is a facility provided for the efficient functioning of academic and administrative work.

GSuite accounts are made available to all members of faculty, staff and students. Faculty and students are required to avail the facility for all academic purposes.

3) E-LEARNING POLICY

The institution will use ICT as one of a range of strategies for engaging and enabling students to be successful learners and communicators. We value the potential of ICT to support students’ learning in new and complex ways, particularly its ability to deliver personalized learning, and see it as a valuable addition to our pedagogy.

  • Access: Access will be provided to pedagogical innovations using technology to make a positive impact on student learning outcomes.
  • Inclusion: All students will have access to quality e-learning opportunities in their classroom.
  • Faculty training: There will be accompanying professional learning for teachers to ensure delivery of quality teaching. Skill development sessions for teachers will be provided both formally and informally.
  • Technology integration in teaching, learning and evaluation: Technologies will be used appropriately in all programmes to enhance and support teaching, learning and evaluation.
  • Optimized use of digital platforms: Digital platforms such as SWAYAM and ongoing ICT based education initiatives will be used for providing quality education, accessible to anyone, anytime and anywhere.
  • Government of India initiatives such as National Digital Library of India (NDL India), e-Shodh Sindhu and National Academic Repository (NAD) will be given publicity among faculty and students to encourage use of these resources.
  • Legal use of software will be followed and maintained and students made aware of appropriate use.
  • All parents/ guardians and students are required to sign a Student Code of Conduct document pertaining to e-learning.
  • Blended learning: E-learning tools will be an integral, but not exclusive part of learning in the classroom.
  • Responsible use of e-learning technologies: Students will be made aware of responsible use of e-learning technologies, cyber bullying and safety practices.
  • Courses that can meet the needs of life-long learners and curricula based course content covering diverse disciplines will be created.
  • Student privacy: To protect student privacy, the teacher can restrict access to the course site so that outsiders cannot see the resources that reside there, including students’ discussion responses, for example. Students’ privacy rights are violated when they are required to post photographs and other personal information on a course site, as in introduction/ice-breaker activities. Such activities should be voluntary, not mandatory. Also, references to personal details such as religion, caste, disabilities should be made public only with the student’s permission. If a teacher plans to publicize students’ work inside or outside of the course site—including, for example, their words in electronic discussions, e-mail, or assignments—their permission to do so must be sought.
  • A discussion policy will be established by each course teacher containing guidelines governing the students’ participation in chats and forums, including the degree to which the teacher herself/ himself will enter into student discussions.

If student participation in electronic discussions is required, this should also be clearly stated in the discussion policy. Furthermore, if the teacher is planning to grade students on their participation in discussions, the policy should clearly indicate what grading criteria apply in posted instructions for that particular discussion.

  • Intellectual property rights: Students should be made aware of intellectual property rights and the course site should contain a statement that the course resources—together with the announcements posted and the words used in electronic discussions—belong to the course teacher and/or the university, not to students who might wish to use them. The statement should make clear that course materials are for class purposes only and cannot be distributed to others without violating the intellectual property rights and/or the privacy rights of the owners of these materials, whether the course teacher, students in the course, or those who created outside sources of information.
  • Plagiarism: Copying and pasting information from the Internet for assignments/papers without citing the source is plagiarism and engaging in it will result in serious action in conformity with the policies of the institution regarding plagiarism. It could lead to suspension/expulsion from the course or in extreme cases, from the institution.
  • Technical difficulties students face should be reported to the course teacher who will, in turn, refer the matter to the IT Team, through the Vice-Principals. Students should not expect help for certain kinds of problems: problems related to computers that students use off campus are typically their own responsibility.
  • The e-learning policy will be re-visited every quarter for updation as this is an evolving field.

4) GREEN POLICY

Maris Stella College is committed to conducting its operations and activities in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner, to create and sustain an eco-friendly campus with clear-cut goals and priorities in the management of water resources, energy sources and consumption, air quality, preservation of flora and fauna, conservation of the ecosystem and productive use of the land within its boundaries. It seeks to conserve resources and preserve the environment by harnessing the sun, catching the rain, providing green cover and managing and restoring from waste.

The institution recognizes that reducing and, where possible, eliminating the environmental impacts of our activities is an important part of our mission. We will strive to achieve environmental excellence through campaigns and policies aimed at creating awareness among stakeholders towards a clean and green consciousness by involving them in programmes, discussions and debates. 

We strive to be a leader among educational institutions and will work with our staff and students and other external entities to establish and follow principles, in conjunction with National Environmental Policies.

Our guiding principles and practices to achieve resource conservation, waste reduction, and sustainability overall are summarized below:

  • Conserve energy and other natural resources
  • Encourage employees to use public transport/ environment-friendly modes of travel
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle to reduce waste 
  • Minimize the production of hazardous waste
  • Adopt green procurement practices
  • Ensure staff and students  complete the environmental awareness training
  • Continue to review and minimize the impacts of our activities

Responsibilities

a)    Energy Conservation :

  • Turn off lights when not in use and use natural light when possible.
  • Turn off all computers, terminals, speakers and other office equipment at the end of every work day.
  • Activate the power down features on the computer and monitor to enter into a low-power or sleep mode when not in use.
  • Unplug equipment that drains energy even when not in use (e.g., cell phone chargers, fans, desktop printers).
  • Use LED lighting wherever possible.
  • Utilize videoconferencing and conference calls as an alternative to travel when possible. 
  • Limit the use of air conditioners.

b)    Reduce Materials Consumption :

  • Avoid using paper by distributing and storing documents electronically.
  • Print and photocopy only what is needed and double side the printing when possible.
  • Use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts.

c)      Reduce Fossil Fuel Consumption and Air Pollution

  • Use public transport or other alternative forms of transportation, whenever possible.
  • Use vehicle pools, when possible, over single use vehicles.
  • Work remotely, when possible.

d)  Minimize Waste and Increase Recycling 

  • Use durable reusable beverage containers, plates, and utensils. 
  • Print documents in black and white or grayscale whenever possible.
  • Recycle paper, paper products, plastic, binders, folders, catalogues, boxes, bottles, cans, batteries, electronics, toner and ink cartridges.
  • Sell e-waste to authorized buyers for recycling.

e)   Minimize Toxics and Hazardous Waste

  • Refrain from pouring toxic or hazardous substances down the drain. 
  • Reduce the use of toxic chemicals and use less toxic alternatives wherever possible.
  • Design experiments, when possible, to use less toxic or hazardous substances.
  • Purchase chemicals in the smallest quantities needed to avoid over-ordering.
  • Dispose of hazardous chemicals appropriately and in accordance with safety requirements. 

f)    Protect and Improve Biodiversity

  • Maintain and improve the habitat and biodiversity in and around the campus. 
  • Care for water bodies on the campus and those nearby.

g)    Commitment to Green Purchasing

  • Adopt green and sustainable procurement practices while purchasing material and services, to reduce the environmental impact.

5) RECRUITMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURES

Broad features of the recruitment policy and procedures of the institution:

Policy for Appointment of Employees:

  • Staff members shall be appointed purely on the basis of merit as per requirement. Their qualification, experience, knowledge of technology and general awareness, their ability to publish research papers of quality are the parameters. Internal qualities like integrity, zeal for work, team work, commitment and an eagerness to learn are expected in a candidate aspiring to be appointed.
  • Every employee shall be appointed through an interview by a proper selection committee. Employees recruited on ad hoc basis, shall go through an interview by the selection committee after ensuring there is a vacancy.

Recruitment Procedure

Selection Committee:

A Selection committee is constituted by the Principal to screen candidates applying for a particular post – teaching, non-teaching or contingent, within the institution. The selection committee includes the Secretary/Correspondent of the Society, the Principal, Vice-Principal, the Head of the Department, Subject Expert, Administrative Representative, normally, the Dean of Administration/Superintendent.

Mode of Recruitment:

  • All vacancies for teaching and non-teaching posts are advertised by the secretary/ correspondent of the institution in English and Telugu newspapers of wide circulation, among which one is a local daily and the others circulated all through the state.
  • Applications received are screened by the Head of the Department and with the approval of the Principal call letters with date, time and venue for written test are sent to the eligible applicants to be selected by the Selection Committee.
  • The qualified candidates qualified in the written test are informed to attend the interview.
  • The Selection Committee once again verifies the data provided by the applicants and tests their subject knowledge, general awareness, communication skills, caliber followed by a demonstration class.

Selection of Candidates:

  • Selection is purely on merit basis.
  • Preference is given to candidates with M.Phil /Ph.D/Net/APSET and previous experience.

Appointment

  • All the selected candidates are required to submit their original certificates to the Principal at the time of joining duty.
  • Any discrepancy in the data or information given results in the termination of the appointment.
  • The selected candidates, on accepting the appointment order, enter into an agreement with the institution and a copy shall be preserved in the office.
  • The selected candidates are asked to fall in line with the rules of service and sign an agreement to that effect.
  • The new recruits are also asked to submit their identity proofs such as Aadhar Card/ Passport/ PAN Cards along with the original certificates.

Probation:

  • Every employee shall be appointed on probation for a period of one year and an appraisal or feedback shall be taken at the end of the year by the Vice-Principals, Heads of the Department and students to decide on the continuation or termination of the employee. During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to any increment.

Regular Appointment & Annual Increments

  • On successful completion of the period of probation based on good appraisal by the Heads of the Department and students, the Management continues the services of the employees. It is the discretion of the Management to continue or discontinue the services of an employee and sanction an annual increment.

6) ADMISSION POLICY

The admission policy of the college is guided by the norms applicable to minority institutions and the government rules for admission to women from reserved categories.

Central to the admission policy of the institution and in line with its vision and mission, is the provision of equal opportunities to all students. Though the general criterion for admission is merit, as a Catholic Minority Institution, special consideration shall be given to Catholics.

The college is also committed to the uplift of the socio-economically challenged and the differently abled. Hence some allowances shall be made in the case of applicants from these sections.

The College shall grant preferential admission to outstanding achievers in sports/cultural activities/other extracurricular fields, on a case to case basis.

The Admission Committee, through a transparent process, shall scrutinize applications and select candidates as well as prepare and display merit list of the candidates and communicate the same to the students.

The college shall publicize its programmes and strengths on its website, through posters and the media to reach potential students and to facilitate the exercise of choices.

The parents shall take direct responsibility for monitoring the welfare and progress of their ward after admission. They may depute a duly authorized guardian to take responsibility for their ward only on grounds acceptable to the college.

As per the Madras High Court judgment dated 2014, educational institutions  administered by minority groups need not follow reservation for BCs and SC/STs for admission in both aided and unaided courses.

7) GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL POLICY

The Grievance Redressal Policy is to provide staff and students with a framework for the settlement of individual as well as collective grievances. A Grievance Redressal mechanism is in place to receive, examine and redress grievances speedily.

All grievances are directed to the Grievance and Redressal Cell.  The cell aims to look into the complaints lodged by staff or students and redress it as needed and thus promote and maintain a conducive and unprejudiced environment for its stakeholders. It attends to the grievances and complaints registered by anyone with regard to the activities of the institution, and in particular, those made by students. On receiving a grievance, the cell initiates the grievance procedure in accordance with the rules and regulations of the college and ensures an effective and fair solution to the grievance.

The cell meets periodically, examines the nature and pattern of the grievances and redresses it accordingly. If the grievance requires immediate attention, the cell calls for a meeting to address the specific complaint on an emergency basis. 

Objectives

  • To develop an organizational framework to resolve grievances of the students and other stakeholders.
  • To ensure effective solution to the stakeholders’ grievances with an impartial and fair approach.
  • To investigate the reason for dissatisfaction.
  • To enlighten the students on their duties and responsibilities.

Composition

  • Principal: Chairperson
  • Vice-Principals
  • Dean, Planning & Communication
  • Deans, Student Affairs
  • Three senior faculty members (One from each stream)

Functions:

  • Provides information about the cell’s objectives and mode of operation through the website and handbook.
  • Informs students of the process for registering of grievances during the induction programmes.
  • Acknowledges and analyzes grievances.
  • Seeks a solution through a decision- making process.
  • Reports the grievances and records how they were redressed.

The procedures are made known through the hand-book given to each student at the beginning of every academic year, and also in the Value Education and mentoring classes. 

Procedures

The Grievance and Redressal Cell shall receive and redress grievances related to the following:

  • Issues pertaining to teaching, learning and evaluation. 
  • Student- teacher, student- student grievances 
  • Grievances related to library and IT services.
  • Grievances related to sports, cultural activities.
  • Grievances related to behavior of stakeholders.

The grievances shall be redressed depending on their nature. Written and signed grievances may be forwarded through the mentors or by placing them in the Complaints Box provided on the campus. 

Department level counselling is offered where the matter can be resolved. Grievances pertaining to academic and internal evaluation shall be redressed at faculty / HOD / CoE/ Principal level.

As soon as the application is received, the Redressal Cell shall review the complaint and invite both the parties for discussion. Further action is initiated, as per need. 

The grievances are redressed speedily by issuing warning letters/memo/reformation/ remedies. Priority is given according to the urgency of the complaint. In all cases the complainant is informed of the measures taken. Checks in the system ensure there is no repetition of the same complaint.

Grievances regarding sexual harassment or ragging shall be dealt by the committees set up to deal with these issues as per the prescribed procedures.

8) RESOURCE MOBILIZATION  POLICY 

The Resource Mobilization Policy aims at achieving the goals and targets of the institution through optimal utilization of funds for the promotion of a learner-centric ecosystem. The policy focuses on:

  • Activities to secure new and additional financial, human and material resources to support the achievement of strategic plans, goals and overall growth.
  • Examination and assessment of the resources available for programme needs, policies, research, infrastructure upgradation and maintenance.
  • Analysis of funding landscape, identification of potential resource support from stakeholders and agencies.
  • Efficient budget allocation and maximization of internally generated income.

The college mobilizes and secures funding through the following agencies and strategies:

  • Annual Autonomy Grant from the UGC.
  • Grant-in-aid received from the state government towards the salary of aided staff.
  • Fees from self-financing courses.
  • Financial assistance from Management for infrastructure augmentation and equipment.
  • Funds generated from college activities such as Christmas fete, sponsorship of academic activities such as seminars and workshops by private agencies, consultancy and certificate courses
  • Optimum use of infrastructure by renting classrooms / buildings during weekends / vacation.
  • Governmental and quasi-governmental funding to institutions, through schemes such as RUSA and from private agencies such as United Board for specific programmes.  
  • Contribution from philanthropists, retired staff, faculty and alumni for specific purposes such as endowments, scholarships, etc.