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Dr. Nirmala Prasad – The woman who built many women and institutions

Dr. Nirmala Prasad – The woman who built many women and institutions

By : Kaushik Subramanian

  |  6 Dec 2019 12:04 PM GMT

Amidst the
self-proclaimed educationists who run schools, colleges, and non-profit
organizations for profit, here was a lady who developed one of the city's best
colleges under her leadership. Dr. Nirmala Prasad was a renowned
academician, teacher, researcher, author, and an inspirational woman leader. She
is the reason why M.O.P Vaishnav College for Woman stands established as a
brand today. She nurtured the institution as its Principal from 1997 for 16

She was elected as a Syndicate
Member of the University of Madras thrice and was also a member of the
University Grants Commission. She was the UGC nominee for 13 expert committees
and has co-authored five books during her career. During her stint as the
principal of MOP Vaishnav College she came up with innovative ideas that were
embedded as part of the curriculum. Commerce students and graduates across
India are indebted to Dr. Nirmala for her textbook on Banking Theory, Law and

Though she is well
known for her work in tertiary education, many are not aware of her involvement
in school education. As the Honorary Secretary of Mary Clubwala Jadhav Girls Hr.
Sec. School, she brought in various reforms in the school. The school, adjacent
to the Madras School of Social Work campus in Egmore is a school that caters to
children belonging to the most underprivileged sections. She was instrumental
in setting up a computer lab at the school through which children learned math
and other subjects. She was always on the hunt for innovative ideas of learning
that would make education at school a meaningful experience for the children. She
believed that the facilities that a privileged child gets in a high-cost private
school should be made available to the poor and disadvantaged.

She believed in the
power of the native intelligence of humans and advocated the importance of entrepreneurship
as a means towards self-sustenance and liberation. Her reforms in schools and colleges were
devised anchored around this idea. She is credited with introducing the idea of
entrepreneurship cell in MOP Vaishnav College aimed at building a community of
woman entrepreneurs who would enter the world as job givers and not as job
seekers. She even implemented this idea at the Mary Clubwala Jadhav School
where children learned about business by setting up small shops within their
school premises once in a while. Education and financial independence, she
deemed, are necessary for women to cope in this 21st-century world.

Known for her no-nonsense
attitude towards work, she ensured that she got the best out of everyone. Colleagues
who worked under her had huge respect and adulations for her. Her absence has
left a huge void in academic circles. She was enthused about youngsters entering
development sector and encouraged such people whenever she met them.

With her demise, Chennai
has lost a revolutionary educationist and a great woman leader. May her
soul rest in peace.

Om Shanti.

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