Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Special Guest Editorials section. This one is by Dr K P Guruswamy

As any other student with mixed opinions and an unset goal, I stepped into this ESTEEMED INSTITUTION ‘University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering’. I never had a hunch that I would get so attached with this place that it makes me feel as my second home. Hailing from a small village near Maddur, I always had a penchant towards learning. I consider myself very fortunate to have received good basic education. During my initial days as an engineering student, I struggled hard with the system of education. My initial education in Kannada medium set some HURDLES to my post SSLC studies. Despite these initial setbacks, I continued to be a keen student in search of strong reasons for setting my GOALS. I was highly motivated by my Teachers and Lecturers. Till date I have not forgotten those days when my lecturers took great pain in making us aware of the basic concepts which are difficult to grasp. It made me change my approach towards education. Eventually, I stood out from others who thought education is all about working towards passing exams rather than understanding concepts. On the other hand, I DEVELOPED a strong liking towards my college. My way of learning things inspired by renowned faculties helped me scale new heights. As said, hard work always pays off. I could see my goal at a distance. I graduated with flying colors.

My next task was to follow my goal. I was elated when I qualified GATE. I was glad to rejoin my own college and very fortunate to have my mentors incessantly motivate me. My aim towards continuing in academics seemed more promising. Upon completion of my Masters Degree, in fact even before completion, I was offered a teaching position in one of the newly opened engineering colleges in Bangalore. There is always a difference between learning and teaching even though they are mutually benefitted. I recollect those days when I was nearly condemned by my senior colleagues on my teaching. The caution not only questioned my aptitude but also INSPIRED me to change my approach in teaching. From then on, I started considering college as my home and students as my family. I shuttled between the extreme behaviors without considering otherwise.

I believe in SPREADING KNOWLEDGE come what may. I strive hard to make all my students understand not only how to pass exams but also the basics behind the phenomena. Understanding basics is the hardest part which not just requires the classroom teaching but also practical work. I would like to convey my thanks to my supervisor who gave me a great opportunity to witness the evolution of laboratories. With enough exposure and experience, I then continued to carry on this legacy in another college where I joined as a faculty after 2 years. After 2 more years of my experience, I was offered a position in UVCE – which I had always considered my home. I welcomed this opportunity joyously. From the day I joined, I started working towards the upliftment of facilities in and around the department. I was very enthusiastic to serve my own college with a goal of nurturing students and showing them the right path. I encouraged my students to learn and think out of the box. I actively involved myself in the student affairs as a faculty advisor to all technical and cultural events. I have always tried to follow the footprints of my mentors and offer the best of MOTIVATIONS I can give to my students.

With an urge of continuing my education, I was very fortunate to get selected for Ph.D studies in IIT under quality improvement program (QIP). I am currently pursuing my Ph.D degree at IIT Roorkee. During my tenure here as a research scholar, I am witnessing several changes in the atmosphere, system of education and need for Research & Development. Most of these systems would be worthwhile when introduced back in UVCE. I hope to and I am looking forward to implementing these changes given an opportunity.

Importance of Higher Education:

Gone are the days when a bachelor’s degree would fetch laurels to a student. This can be attributed to two reasons – An increase in population of students moving towards technical education which yields less opportunities due to more and more graduates rolling out with technical degrees and degradation & dilution in the quality and system of education.

  • Serve our Country: India is scaling new heights in the field of Research and Development which is being propped by the younger generation. To qualify into doing cutting edge research, higher education is extremely important.
  • Aim Higher: Getting placed in top companies with promising salaries or earning money should not be the only aim in life. Higher education helps generate new ideas and set new goals.
  • Difference between Undergraduate and Postgraduate: A Bachelor’s degree is just a platform for strengthening the basics. Masters is all about advancing in these skills and helping to develop new Ideas in the subject.
  • Knowledge gained is never worthless – Somewhere, sometime in the future it may prove handy.

    Opportunities for Engineers:

    Engineering education is highly respected and considered as one of the apex amongst all other fields. Engineers make wonders and help in sustainable growth and development of a country. India holds the record of producing second highest number of engineers next to China. Our engineers have made India proud wherever they have settled down. New opportunities have opened up for engineers from all disciplines.

    As we all know two-thirds of the world’s multi-national companies have opened their operations in India. Most of these companies include software development. It is no doubt a very good sign of solving our country’s unemployment problem. But at the same time they have caused a strong influence on the talents that can be better utilized in core engineering fields such as Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. More than 60% of the fresh graduates irrespective of their background opt for jobs in IT sector. This trend has caused an acute shortage of talent in occupations involving pure science / core engineering disciplines. A survey conducted by IITs also estimates a very low percentage of students opting for higher studies in Engineering. Recruiting personnel are having a hard time in government agencies like ISRO, HAL, NAL, BEL, BHEL, NPCL, BARC, NTPC, NPC, IGARC etc. since the top talents are being absorbed by high paying IT firms generating a small revenue in home as compared to their profits abroad. With depleting talent and unqualified people competing for the positions, these agencies have been modifying the cut offs and converging to making Higher Education a mandatory requirement for Scientist positions. Besides, an extensive research program (a Ph.D) is highly recommendable for doing a quality research.

    The Ministry of Human Resources, Govt. of India has been working on attracting more students towards higher education in the apex institutes by offering them attractive remunerations. Engineers not just carry an opportunity in Industries but also in Academics in Research. The IITs have increased their intakes considering an increase in no. of students competing. There is a usual misconception amongst Indian youth that Universities abroad offer world class research and the Indian Institutions are incapable of doing so. The truth behind this lies in lack of motivation and proper flow of information in the student community. IITs are also experiencing shortage of faculties all over India. It is my sincere request to all the alumni, past students and current faculties to organize workshops, talks and talent search programs where students will be educated on Higher education opportunities for Engineers.

    Technical Related:

    India is facing new problems with growing population. No doubt it is producing a very high number of engineers, but, at the same time, it is producing very few quality engineers – Reason being innumerable number of engineering colleges, sub-standard education and dilution of syllabus, lack of laboratories and lack of proper faculties. Engineering education is becoming overrated in the country. A proper guidance is very crucial during the initial stages of undergraduate education. Many promising research projects are awaiting talented minds – space exploration, reactor technology, research in oil extraction, defense applications (army/air force/navy), aviation, telecommunications / mobile communications, urban infrastructure, satellite mapping, power generation, agriculture research, genetics, stem cell research, materials research, nanotechnology, robotics, instrumentation, satellite technology and communications etc. Software development is an integral part of all the above, but, without an active knowledge of the field, software development becomes worthless.

    To add more, most of the software development firms in India are mainly working on banking, insurance, healthcare, marketing, social networks, web development, business process outsourcing and customer support serving other counties and making their life easier. After joining IIT, I have witnessed that the Govt. is pouring in enough money for research but ironically, the institutes are unable to find apt people from younger generation who can utilize them and perform cutting edge research. There is a need of special talent search / retain team in the educational institutions which guides the apt students to pursue a career in pure sciences / core engineering.

    – Dr K P Guruswamy (For Sampada-21)

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