Debating India


Stress on women’s studies


Friday 2 July 2004, by SUBRAMANIAN*T.S.

IN its 20 years of existence, the Mother Teresa Women’s University, Kodaikanal, was buffeted between Kodaikanal and Chennai. But with the State government allocating 55 acres (22 hectares) of land at Attuvampatti and another 55 acres at Rifle Range in the Kodaikanal hills, the university is poised for rapid growth. "This is a major achievement after I took over [in 2002]," says Vice-Chancellor Dr. Anandhavalli Mahadevan. Praising the government for providing land, she said "it acted fast". Infrastructure development is taking shape now with a few departments already functioning at Attuvampatti. Dr. Anandhavalli started several courses in sciences after she took over, for "you cannot afford to alienate women from science and technology". The courses include M.Sc. in Biotechnology with specialisation in Medicinal Plants, M.Sc. in Physics with specialisation in Astrophysics, and M.Sc. in Visual Communication.

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K. Ganesan
Prof. Anandhavalli Mahadevan.

Dr. Anandhavalli has a doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences. She has research interests in Future Studies, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Women’s Studies. She has trained about 600 teachers in Environmental Education. She was Special Officer (Planning and Development) in the Madurai Kamaraj University from 1999 to 2001.

Since she "basically believes in networking with other organisations", the university has signed memoranda of understanding with several organisations for undertaking joint work. For instance, an MoU with the Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), a constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), allows the university’s students to work in the CIMAP’s six laboratories. Similarly, an arrangement with the Indian Institute of Astrophyiscs, Bangalore, has enabled students specialising in Astrophysics to use the Institute’s observatory at Kodaikanal.

The university has redesigned the curriculum with compulsory papers on Women’s Studies in order to enhance gender sensitivity.

See online : Frontline


in Frontline, volume 21, Issue 13, Jun. 19 - Jul. 02, 2004.

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