The Academia-Industry Handshake

Article excerpt

New Delhi, Nov. 13 -- Forbes Marshall Limited, a Pune-based company working in the area of process efficiency and energy conservation, some time back, donated '50 lakh to the College of Engineering, Pune, an autonomous institute of the government of Maharashtra. This donation was in kind, not cash. The students had to develop a steam power plant on campus. One batch of students worked on the design, the next batch procured the material, the third worked on assembling it, the fourth looked after the distribution, and the fifth is working on steam generation. It's being done step by step, over four to five years. Now a generator is being developed, to be run by steam turbines and the power that will be produced will be supplied to one of the labs on campus. "So, thanks to a company, our students are now experienced in developing a steam power plant," says Anil D Sahasrabudhe, director of the college.

Established in 1854, the institute is the third oldest engineering college in Asia. The long history and the fact that Pune is a big industry hub in terms of automotive and mechanical industries has helped. "We have always had good opportunities and by the 1940s and 50s, when the industry started booming, we developed a strong culture of interaction with the industry - even before the IITs came into the picture," says Sahasrabudhe. Industry-related projects have come into the college even for the postgraduate programmes. As part of the 'sandwich' BTech programme, the students spend one year in any industry out of the four years. The fact that the industry became autonomous from 2003-04 allowed the administration to build a curriculum around industry-academia participation. "We have industry representatives in all disciplines in our Study Board, they suggest what is required and accordingly we tailormake our courses," Sahasrabudhe adds.

The College of Engineering is among seven institutes that scored high in a survey by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) of industry-linked technical institutes. In its second year, the survey, from May to June 2013, was conducted through institutes logging in to the AICTE portal. Participants provided information for evaluation on the basis of curriculum, faculty, infrastructure, research and consultation, placements and governance.

In 2012, the focus was only on engineering institutes approved by AICTE in six basic subject streams: Mechanical, civil, electronics and communications, computer and IT, electrical and chemical. This year, the scope was expanded to include all streams of engineering and management, pharmacy and architecture. The number of participated academic institutes has also jumped from 156 last year to 1,050 in 2013.

This is one of the most natural things to have happened and should have happened a long time ago," says Dr SS Mantha, chairman, AICTE.

Institutes on top

Computer/IT engineering: Sona College of Technology

Interaction: With 54 companies. Tie-ups with Cisco, Oracle, IBM and Infosys for interships, industrial visits and in-plant training

Patents filed: Three

Electronics and communications engineering: PSG College of Technology

Interaction: Industries represented in board of studies and advisory council.

Civil engineering: Walchand Institute of Technology (WIT)

Interaction: About 409 services assigned to WIT by industry

Electrical engineering: Kongu Engineering College

Interaction: Has 32 industry representatives on its board of governors. …