Government Engineering College (GEC) Thrissur Development Trust (GECTDT) needs Alumnus to step forward
American Bazar Online | March 3, 2015 | By Vinson Xavier Palathingal |
“Alumni & Friends Giving Back To GECT”
WASHINGTON, DC: The Govt. Engineering College, Thrissur, is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious professional colleges across Kerala. Producing some of the finest luminaries in the field of science and technology, the college is hailed for its invaluable contributions to the nation over the past 55 years. Since its inception in the year 1957, the college has consistently grown in both stature and status. However, as has happened with most government colleges across Kerala, the “government” tag has had serious implications on its growth. Shambolic infrastructure, abject dearth of facilities and poor maintenance have overshadowed the glorious milestones accomplished by these colleges over the past decade. In an attempt to put things right, some US based alumni of Government Engineering College, Thrissur started an exciting new initiative in 2013 called the ‘GECT Development Trust’ which aims to bring together the different alumni of the college scattered across various corners of the world in a mission to make the institution “the best engineering college in Kerala”. The trust has been working aggressively in collaboration with the current student body of the college. Standing testimony to the motto “Alumni & Friends giving back to GECT”, the trust was formed by four alumni of the college currently leading their lives in the USA: Binoy Abraham, Vinson Xavier Palathingal, Sasi Eswaran and Anto Chittilappilly. Two of the current GECT faculty members Prof. Krishnakumar (Dept. of Mechanical Engg. and acting Principal) and Dr. Nowshaja Iqbal (Dept. of Civil Engg.) are serving the trust to help coordinate the action on the ground.
Alumni of prominent educational institutions around the world have played pivotal roles in maintaining the standing and advancing the objectives of those institutions over the years. Most such institutions have fully developed systems in place to facilitate such alumni interaction and participation. However, the public/government label of institutions such as GECT have prevented the alumni and the college management to develop such systems for significant alumni input for the growth of the institution. Lot of people have asked a lot of questions when they heard about the formation of GECT Development Trust. One of the most intriguing one was: “Our college is a government college. Therefore, isn’t it the responsibility of the government to build and maintain proper infrastructure? Why are you guys into maintaining the facilities?” Our answer was quiet simple. “We the people” are the government in a democracy, and this is our property and maintaining this property is part our personal responsibility as citizens of this country. We want that spirit of leadership, commitment and involvement pave the way for GECTDT to play the most significant role in steering the college to become the most prestigious engineering college in Kerala.
The trust envisions setting up endowment funds modelled after such funds in major universities in the US that helps the universities to subsidize education of deserving children as well as to take care of various infrastructure development related needs. GECTDT aims to generate an endowment with a minimum fund of Rs. 3 Crores in the short term by collecting an amount of Rs 10,000 or higher from a minimum of 3000 alumni. With over 25,000 strong alumni group in place, GECTDT thinks that this is a goal achievable in a period of 3 years. Such an endowment is expected to give a return of about Rs 30 lakhs every year thereby making GECTDT a significant partner to the government for the wellbeing of the college. The vision of the trust includes raising the academic standards by seeking the collaboration of international educational entities, providing students with access to high quality libraries, facilitating practical training to students in top notch corporations, providing a safe and hygienic campus environment, implementing self-sustaining projects that are privately funded and managed and ultimately addressing the maintenance related issues of the college so that the faculty and students can enjoy an atmosphere that is conducive to crafting top notch engineers for the nation. The trust has started rolling with an initial corpus of Rs. 1 lakh each contributed by its four founder members. In just over a year the trust has collected over Rs. 50 lakhs. Most of the initial funds have been utilized to provide a facelift to the college.
Prior to the National level Techfest ‘Dyuthi’ which was conducted in the month of September 2013, the entire college campus grounds were cleared of the overgrown grass and weeds through a combined effort of various students of the college. This marked the fruitful beginning of what is expected to be a sparkling revolution that could change the way people look at government engineering colleges and other public institutions. Recent projects that were undertaken by the trust includes painting of the college boundary walls on the north and east sides of the campus and sections of the main building, installation and commissioning of AC in the CCF lab, demolition and rebuilding of toilets in the main building, provision of water coolers and planting of fruit trees across the campus. Various professors as well as committed student volunteers have joined their hands for these projects. A big boost to the trust came from the 1982-86 batch students when they agreed to transfer Rs. 10 lakhs from the funds they have raised to the trust to renovate the CCF lab. Installing quality dustbins in the class rooms and common areas, furnishing the recently renovated East Amphi Theatre and potentially buying a lawn mowing machine for the entire campus are the immediate future projects planned.
Trust has established itself with the really worthwhile projects it has executed. Faculty and students are really excited about the trust and its activities and is helping the trust tremendously to grow its footprint on the campus. The founding Trustees of the trust Vinson Palathingal and Binoy Abraham recently visited UAE to expand the campaign to the Middle East. The trust has invited the UAE alumni of the college to identify one alumni leader to join the other four trustees. The trust intends to bring in more trustees to the board to expand the coverage to other major GECT alumni population centres such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. GECTDT conducted a public event on January 28th, 2015, to inaugurate the CCF lab and the bathrooms, and to formally launch the trust as an integral part of the GECT’s developmental future. Leaders from the government side such as Industry and IT Secretary Mr. P.H. Kurien, IAS, spoke during the event. Getting such leaders from the government to the campus and to keep them abreast of the developments at the campus is very critical and GECTDT intends to continue such engagement.
The trust is also planning a mega fund raising event in the near future with prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs from Thrissur district who have an interest in making GECT “the best engineering college in Kerala” and a “jewel of Thrissur”. GECT Development trust hereby invites all alumni and friends of GECT currently leading their lives in various parts of the world to be a part of this revolution and to make this prolific institution, the finest college in the state. Wealthy private citizens and corporations coming to the aid of the struggling government establishments is the need of the hour. This is the organic way of empowering the psyche of the people by awakening them to the fact that, in a democracy people are indeed the government and the era of total dependence on and waiting for the benevolence of rulers and governments is gone for good. Like the arts and literature of Kerala, the giving back spirit too is more vivid and refreshing in the minds of the alumni of Kerala colleges based in other parts of the world. If these colleges can tap into this enormous resource abroad, they can transform the look and feel of professional education in Kerala, one institution at a time. We at GECTDT intends to become that role model alumni initiative to spark such ideas and initiatives all over Kerala so that we can help the prestigious and historic educational institutions in Kerala regain the past glory and continue to lead the quest for knowledge and development. You can read more about our activities at our website www.gectdt.com Also, you can visit us on our FB page at www.facebook.com/groups/gectdt/, which is the most valuable tool that contributed tremendously to our success. (Vinson Xavier Palathingal is Trustee, GECTDT)
The Times of India ||
According to the AICTE’s submission to the HRD ministry, a copy of which is with TOI, the AICTE has mandated a total of 24,256 faculty members for UG courses in Karnataka. But there are only 17,901 faculty members, a 26.2% shortfall. The mandated faculty number for PG courses is 1,828, but there are only 1,450 — a shortage of 20.68%. As per appendix 7 of the AICTE handbook, which needs to be followed by all institutions affiliated to the council, there needs to be one faculty member (professor, associate professor or assistant professor) per 15 students and one HoD per department. Many colleges haven’t achieved this ratio. VTU vice-chancellor H Maheshappa told TOI: “As we speak, inspections are going on in Gulbarga and Belagavi. Next week, inspections will take place in Bengaluru and Mysuru. Action will be initiated against colleges which don’t meet the AICTE mandate.”
He said that in case the shortage is 10% or less, the college is warned and given time to fill up the vacancies. “A 25% shortage leads to a cut in student intake, and 50% shortage leads to the closure of college,” he said. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are together considered the engineering hub of the country with more than 1,200 institutions from among them. But the situation in the two neighbouring states and Kerala is equally bad. The shortage in the undivided Andhra Pradesh is 33.03% (UG) and 33.76% (PG). In Tamil Nadu, it’s 27.94% (UG) and 17.75% (PG), while the same is at 23.17% and 18.35% in Kerala. There is an overall shortage of 30.17% (UG) and 27.15% (PG) in the country. “We don’t get data on individual colleges in each state. We get an overall figure from each state that AICTE submits to us, which indicates the situation. There is a problem and solutions are being worked out. There are multiple reasons why this shortage continues to exist,” a source from MHRD said.
Deccan Chronicle | DC CORRESPONDENT | March 03, 2015 |
Hyderabad: Faculties in engineering colleges are being axed by managements who have lost hopes of getting approvals from the government even in the ensuing academic year (2015-16). With the Telangana government being strict with erring engineering colleges, the college managements see no hope of getting JNTU-Hyderabad affiliation to run courses. About 20 engineering colleges out of 170, which failed to secure approvals from the state government this year, have applied for “NOC” seeking closure. JNTU officials expect about 50 colleges to apply for closure by this month-end, resulting in removal of more teaching and non-teaching staff. The managements have stopped payment of salaries of faculty for the last four months and have started issuing termination letters.
Shocked by their abrupt removal, the faculty members are now approaching JNTU-Hyderabad to stop the issue of NOCs for closure unless their salaries and arrears are settled and they find new jobs. They argue that it was not their fault but of the managements’ who failed to meet the prescribed norms of having adequate faculty and infrastructure and they were now being made scapegoats. Some managements are forcing the faculty to work in multiple colleges belonging to the same group if they want to be continued in the job.
The Hindu | COIMBATORE, March 3, 2015 | |
Coimbatore : The conversation in many a drawing room in houses with Plus Two students should invariably be on what to study and where. In a few houses, that should have been settled as either the student or parents must have finalised one or both by now. That opinion might be against going in for computer science engineering or information technology courses, say academia watchers. The reason they say: the recent retrenchment in information technology companies. This has earned the IT companies negative publicity and that will influence the decision-making process. But, not all are ready to go with this view. A.K. Natesan, president, Tamil Nadu-Puducherry Chapter, Indian Society for Technical Education, says that the IT companies asked only middle level and senior employees to leave so that they could recruit more freshers – meaning, more engineering graduates passing out of colleges.
In the coming days, the recruitment will only be good not only for the information technology sector but also for the core engineering sector – mechanical, electrical, civil, textile technology and electrical and electronics engineering disciplines, says another education expert. Seconding this view, Chief Executive of Bannari Amman Institute of Technology A.M. Natarajan says that the reason for the core engineering disciplines doing well is the Prime Minister’s Make in India programme. In four or five years, when this programme gets translated into action, the student who joins this year in June may be ready for employment when the industries start looking for engineers. Notwithstanding the negative IT publicity or the Make in India programme, IT industry will be the biggest recruiter, says Jayaprakash A. Gandhi, career consultant and analyst, pointing out that 70 per cent students join IT or ITeS companies. He adds that the recruitment and rush for admission will only apply for the top and the second rung colleges and not to the bottom of the pyramid, where the story is completely different. There are more than 100 colleges in Tamil Nadu that are facing closure as the student strength is fewer than 100. The poor recruitment has largely to do with the pass percentage in the first year. There a few engineering college managements that are looking at converting engineering colleges into arts and science institution, he says, referring to a college in Namakkal. This is because as per the 2014 statistics, for every Plus Two student there are two engineering seats available. Another analyst says that if the trend continues, there may be a consolidation of colleges as many managements cannot run with fewer students. Mr. Natesan says that he can see that happening in the near future.
Arts and science colleges
Recruiters in industry say they are looking at skills more than qualification in students. A commerce graduate with good accounting or computer skills stands a better chance than an engineering student whose skill sets are average. A director of a college says that a leading IT company recently recruited 25 commerce graduates. They say that students of jewellery designing, fashion designing, English, etc. will also find good placements. And, their starting salary is likely to be between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000. K. Sundararaman, Principal, Sri Krishna Arts and Science College, says that in the past few years the trends has been that in addition to BPOs and banks, IT companies, pharmaceutical companies, hotels and consultancy firms also visit colleges. And, the salary the IT companies offer graduates from arts and science colleges is at 70 per cent of what they offer for engineering students. And, the new development is that mathematics and statistics students are in demand, thanks to demand from analytics companies.
With this year’s Budget proposal, the number of IITs would go up to 23 and the total number IIMs to 20: Number is fine, what about quality, ask education institutes
Business Standard | M Saraswathy & Kalpana Pathak | March 2, 2015 |
Mumbai: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the Budget. Institutions and their staff say the quality of faculty and research should be priority. The minister has said that two more IIMs will be set up, in Jammu & Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh. This will take the total number to 20. Further, Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad will be converted into an IIT, apart from setting up a new IIT at Karnataka. E Abraham, director, Xavier School of Management, said it is equally important to ensure a long-term pipeline of qualified faculty to teach in all the new central institutes, IIMs and engineering colleges, among others. In its Budget in July 2014, the government had announced setting up six new IIMs, in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra. Further, in that Budget, the government had announced the setting up of five new IITs, in Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Andhra and Kerala. With this year’s Budget proposal, the number of IITs (including those proposed) would go up to 23.
The Hindu | New Delhi, March 1, 2015 | |
New Delhi: In a breather to seven ‘C’ category deemed universities, UGC has given them one more year to rectify their deficiencies failing which they could face the possibility of denotification. These universities were identified from among 41 ‘C’ category deemed universities by an expert panel as they lacked the requisite infrastructure and faculty strength. “After detailed deliberations, UGC decided to give them a final opportunity for rectifying their deficiencies within a maximum period of one year and submit the compliance report within that time, failing which recommendation for the denotification of their status would be made to HRD Ministry,” UGC resolved recently at a full meeting.
Supreme Court, which has been monitoring the case, had directed UGC to inspect eight such universities which were said to be lacking in terms of the criteria for deemed universities. The apex court had last year directed UGC to examine all the reports of the 41 deemed universities and advise the central government. These universities had gone to Supreme Court after they were put in the ‘C’ category in 2009 by the Tandon Committee. Upon Supreme Court’s direction, a committee was set up under UGC vice chairperson H. Devaraj which heard all the 41 deemed universities separately. The universities, which were examined on nine parameters, scored poorly in several of them. Some of the parameters were conformity to the provisions of the UGC Act and UGC guidelines, aspects of governance, quality of and innovation in teaching-learning process, research output, doctoral and other research degree programme, faculty resources, admission processes and award of degrees.
India’s first Advanced Electric Drives Lab by Danfoss to boost innovation on energy efficient solutions for the industry set up at VIT, Vellore
India Education Diary | Thursday, February 26, 2015 |
IIT Madras to power 1 lakh houses in north India with its innovative 48V Uninterrupted Direct Current (UDC) technology
Deccan Chronicle | DC CORRESPONDENT | February 26, 2015 |
Chennai: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras will soon power on a trial basis about 1 lakh houses in north India with its innovative 48V Uninterrupted Direct Current (UDC) technology. Delivering the first extra mural Omnibus lecture series, titled ‘Can decentralised solar power help in overcoming power cuts in Indian homes?’ at the institute on Wednesday, Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a faculty member who developed the UDC technology, said that this first-of-its-kind system guaranteed uninterrupted power from the grid even during a black-out. DC driven brushless fans and LED lights consume less than half as much power as Alternate Current (AC) does. Also, all electronic equipment, like TV, computer and cellphone, use low-current DC power, and conversion of AC-to-DC for electronic devices results in loss of power. Their team, which included Institute Director Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi and a few other faculty members, have done trials in homes in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Trivandrum, Prof Jhunjhunwala said.
Power distribution companies needed to install a second power line with 48V DC power at homes, which provided limited, but uninterrupted power. “This minimum power can be used to run DC powered fans, lights, cell phone chargers, computers, etc. Thus instead of a total blackout, you can have a small amount of power to run your equipment,” he said. The professor of electrical engineering also said that they planned to put their technology to further test by lighting about 1 lakh houses in north India.“We are yet to decide the location as the Union government has to inform us of the location for trial. This technology will power all homes in rural areas in future,” he said.
Financial Chronicle | Mydigitalfc | Feb 24 2015 | Op-ed |
Education is an essential tool for individuals and the societies that they live in to address the challenges of the present and seize the opportunities of the future. In India, we have been making such statements for the last two decades with increasing emphasis on higher education. The reasons are obvious. Higher education is now a tool that propels knowledge-based industries. This situation has led to a marked increase in the number of young people who desire to have access to education at an affordable cost. They know that the best way to get quality education is to have open access to the network of knowledge across the globe. The government has been making policy statements on education from time to time. Organisations like UGC and AICTE, besides several professional councils (medical, dental, law, and so forth), have been trying to push for change. However, the current scope and reach of education is limited by the capacity of institutions. Consequently, this resource is available to only a few. Many are still outside its purview. The digital revolution offers a potential solution to these limitations, giving a global audience unprecedented access to free, open and high-quality educational resources.
We must also realise that apart from the youth, people in general want to learn. In a way each one of us is a lifelong learner. By providing free and open access to education and knowledge, people can fulfill this desire. Students can get additional information, viewpoints and materials to help them succeed. Workers can learn something that will help them on the job. Faculty can exchange material and draw on resources from all around the world. Researchers can share data and develop new networks. Teachers can find new ways to help students learn. People can connect with others that they wouldn’t otherwise meet to share information and ideas. Materials can be translated, mixed together, broken apart and openly shared again, increasing access and allowing new approaches. In this scenario, anyone can access educational materials, scholarly articles and supportive learning communities at anytime. Education becomes available, accessible, modifiable and free.
Classroom teaching, where the teacher plays an important role, is being used in India and in other parts of the world for centuries. There then came a time when the whole world moved towards an open learning system. However, in the last two decades, it is the effective and expanding role of technology in the domain of education that has changed the entire game of learning and also educating. It is face-to-face education combining with open education. Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of unbridled sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide. Open education combines the traditions of knowledge sharing and creation with 21st century technology to create a vast pool of openly shared educational resources, while harnessing today’s collaborative spirit to develop educational approaches that are more responsive to the needs of learners.
The idea of free and open sharing in education is not new. In fact, sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built. Open education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate. Open is the definitive factor. Open allows not just access, but the ability to modify and use materials, information and networks so education can be personalised to individual users or woven together in new ways for large and diverse audiences.
Universities across the world are coming together to share their experiences this in changing education scenario. An organisation like Open Education Consortium is a worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organisations that are committed to advancing open education and its impact on global education. The Open Education Consortium realises change by leveraging its sources of expert opinion, its global network and its position as the principal voice of open education. We envision a world where everyone, everywhere has access to the education they need to build their futures. We seek to instill openness as a feature of education around the world, allowing greatly expanded access to education while providing a shared body of knowledge upon which innovative and effective approaches to today’s social problems can be built. The challenge for the present ministry of HRD is to address all these aspects linked with the growth of focused and quality education. What is important is to bring all persons who love education on a single platform through the use of modern connectivity. And this should be the main agenda of the government as of now. (The writer is the former chairman of UGC, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Pune and founder director of NAAC)
Nasscom to help increase employability of engineering students by taking some of the hottest IT courses such as Big Data analytics, cyber security and design engineering
The Hindu Business Line | Hyderabad, Feb. 24 |
The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is taking some of the hottest IT courses such as Big Data analytics, cyber security and design engineering to the tier-ii and tier-iii cities. The association has just signed an agreement with Jawaharlal Nehru Technology University and Telangana Academy of Skills and Knowledge (TASK) to offer these courses to the students in over 300 colleges in the new State. “There are serious gaps between the industry requirements and the skills offered by engineering colleges. We need to bridge the gaps. This agreement will go a long way in addressing this challenge,” B V R Mohan Reddy, Vice-Chairman of Nasscom and Executive Chairman of Cyient, said here on Tuesday. “We are aiming at making 15,000 engineering students employable in the pilot project,” Telangana IT Minister K Taraka Rama Rao has said. The State will revamp the syllabus keeping in view the requirements of the industry. “Though we faced opposition, we had taken action against the substandard colleges. This has led to serious discussion on the gaps in engineering education,” the Minister said.