Face to Face with Alumni

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“We require transformation and transition to meet future goals in terms of Alma Connect”, said Prof. V K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur who indulged in a face to face virtual meet with the Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur from India & overseas on 27 December 2022. He focused on some key areas where alumni support is needed to provide exposure to students and to initiate infrastructure development for IIT Kharagpur. The meet started with the recitation of Sararswati Vandhana which revitalized the spirits in a cold December morning.

The opening remarks were presented by Prof. Amit Patra, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur, who gave us a broader perspective on  self sustenance of the institute and pointed out the three C’s that includes Connect, Communicate and Contribute to communicate well with our Alumni. He added that apart from providing statistical data to them, we may encourage our Alumni to engage in meaningful dialogue. Once an active communication channel is established the process of contribution will happen naturally as our Alumni have always been very generous to their Alma Mater. Not only through monetary contribution, their knowledge, mentorship, guidance and participation will be helpful in various institute activities.

Shri Peter Chan, Distinguished Alumni and Chief Guest of the 68th Convocation of IIT Kharagpur addressed the Alumni and shared his experience of visiting his alma mater after 58 long years. He commented that, “So much energy is concentrated on the technical side of the institution but the wellness of the whole campus still lags behind for the staff and support staff including the cooks and malis. You all are one big family, unless you have the family feeling around the campus you cannot move forward in any organization. Being a part of the team is very important.” He concluded that he would give some ideas of implementation and suggestions for improvement. The Alumni can come forward and contribute their valuable feedback because at times you need outside perspective for a better scope of performance.

Shri Arjun Malhotra, Distinguished Alumnus read out the welcome address of Shri Ashoke Deysarkar, President US Foundation. He stated that, “We are at cross roads, past is when government paid for everything and future is where IIT Kharagpur has to pay a part of it. I think that this is a positive step towards building a capitalistic society. We have the talent, energy, vision and together we can build a better, bigger and more prosperous IIT Kharagpur. As an individual, Prof. Tewari cannot do it alone, we all need to walk with him like Gandhi in his Salt March. Together we will overcome the challenges and achieve all the goals that we laid down today.

Prof V K Tewari, while addressing Face to Face with Alumni said that, “IIT Kharagpur always uphold the nation’s pride, creates standards of globalization with domestic innovations, finest quality of research and affordable technologies, which is ultimately going to create and contribute towards the Self-Reliance of this country, India. In 2019, IIT Kharagpur was declared Institute of Eminence and from that time the Institute has aligned its activities towards the nation building, high class education with best in class students over the years, we have hone their skills in various domains along with a sense of entrepreneurship, innovation and sense of nationalism. The National Education Policy (NEP 2020) has been very popular among the globe and from the time of its inception we have been able to modify our course curriculum at the under graduate level and at the post graduate level which we have completed this year. We have also changed our MSc. Courses which were of 5 years in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Geology, Geophysics and have been changed into 4 years BS Degree and MS Degree. We have given lot of flexibility to students in terms of the entry/exit policy along with variation in multidisciplinary education. We have initiated the high end technologies to be provided and implemented in various disciplines. Artificial Intelligence (AI) out today has a lot to contribute, in 2020 it was decided that any student who joins the institute at UG, PG or at Research level have to undergo a course on AI & ML (Machine Learning), so that in his/her domain knowledge they would be able to apply them and leverage the befit of these technologies in IoT, Blockchain technologies etc. Our students are being prepared for the industry and in the new curriculum, we have given 6-8 months of industry experience to our students which is going to start from 2023 summer. The Alumni can help us to connect to these areas of exposure for the students to explore. Now the students can go to the other universities and have a one semester course there. We also have provisions for people coming from other institutes at this place and have the same course here.

The Career Development Centre of IIT Kharagpur is leading with 1600 plus placements among all other IITs and have about 45 international offers with 12 offers ranging from 1 – 2.6 cr which is also the highest among all other IITs. In every department and centre we are trying to inculcate entrepreneurship through product development. Out of the compendium of 75 innovations, top 25 innovations have been chosen for funding so that they can be developed into products among which some of them have already been industrialized and commercialized into products. The Alumni can help us and guide us so that these products are available commercially in 2-3 years of time. We are marching towards the Platinum Jubilee where we need the valuable guidance and initiatives of Alumni in mentoring and supporting us on the celebration of this grand accomplishment and to show the world what IIT Kharagpur was meant for in 1951 when it was established on the lines of MIT with the faculty to student ratio being 5:1, having 224 students and 42 teachers. Now we have more than 15000 students and 800 staffs. We are at par with other universities when it comes to faculty to faculty research basis and have the resources and infrastructure among the best of the world. To encourage our staff and faculty, this year we have given 35 awards to our faculties at the Associate and Assistant level in the form of Chair Professorships and Faculty Excellence Awards which would motivate them to work hard along with 32 Staff Excellence Awards (non-teaching).

IIT KGP is also heading many national schemes like GIAN which is Global Initiative for Academic Networking along with SPARC which is Scheme for Promotion of Academic Research Collaboration across the globe. More than 1600 faculties have come here from foreign and more than 1700 subjects have been taught by the eminent faculties across the globe. More than 1 lakh students have been benefited across the NITs, IITs and other centrally funded universities and colleges. IIT Kharagpur has also successfully conducted JEE Advanced in 2021 and GATE 2022.

I would request the Alumni to connect us better with the other Alumni who are doing well elsewhere around the globe and recognize them. Along with them, we can create an expected corpus of 4000 crore. We have started a hospital under the name of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee where 260 beds were donated by the Alumni which has started its OPD from last year and is soon going to start the IPD. I request all my faculty friends and Alumni friends to run this hospital as venture capitalist of Section 8 companies. It will be a clinical hospital for our medical college students under the name of Dr. B. C Roy which will be established to impart MBBS education. I hope with your help, support, blessing and guidance, we will be in a position to have a Medical College with 100 students to start with. The government of West Bengal has supported us in various ways including the security of the campus and seen to it that this hospital comes up to serve the biggest district of Bengal, i.e Midnapur. I am confident that this hospital will be accessed by many as it will be a contribution to affordable healthcare in a place like Kharagpur.

Our illustrious Alumni Shri Vinod Gupta has recently inaugurated the A. C. Pandya Students Activity Centre in name of his Prof. A. C Pandya. Very soon we will be establishing the DRDO Industry-Academia Centre of Excellence with an investment of 200-300 crores and initiated the process of recruiting the Director for the same. We are working in close proximity with the government of India, our esteemed Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Hon’ble Shiksha Mantri, Government of India who has blessed, supported and motivated us to go ahead and given the responsibility to start the first campus this country abroad, IIT Malaysia scheduled to be operational from August 2023. We have received a very enthusiastic cooperation from the government of Malaysia to have IIT Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. With the 400-500 acres of campus, it will be huge boast to their economic development and establish the IIT brand in Malaysia while keeping the standards of IIT, JEE Advanced and others. The students will also spend a year at IIT Kharagpur for their respective curriculum. I am very much thankful to my Alumni Mr. Ron Gupta, Mr. Ashoke Dey Sarkar, Mr. Vinod Gupta and also met Mr. Sundar Pichai for their associations.

We have initiated and renewed our collaborations with different Universities in United States and United Kingdom including University of Warwick (WMG) and Manchester University in dual degree and PhD. We have recently signed an MoU with African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO) which has 36 African countries from where we have 8 students in the Agricultural and Food Engineering department for MS degree. Till date we have 63 international students on campus and we need your help to have at least one foreign faculty/professor for each department, centre and schools and have also initiated to employ Professors of Practice in this regard. This year we have accommodated more than 2000 students and I am very thankful to their parents for their cooperation. Currently, we are struggling a bit with the construction of hostels and infrastructure development for which I need our Alumni to come forward and take the lead to make these available. We need to augment the facilities at Gymkhana and we are looking for the scope to revamp the facilities of lawn tennis, swimming pool, hockey ground and food court.

The Government of India has also asked us to initiate a Department of Education which was laid on the thought that if we want top quality students in IITs, they need to be taught by the top quality teachers in Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Economics and Computers in schools. The government have thought that by 2030, they should have at least 30,000 top quality teachers for which the IITs have been chosen with proper induction of exams at par with JEE accordingly. I would request my faculty friends and Deans to indulge in more autonomy when it comes to decision making. We need innovations in subjects and changes is required in domain knowledge transfer of disciplines along with initiating newer courses. The theory should be revamped and substituted with practical industry ideas and expertise with industry experts as well. We have things coming up with IBM on the same lines. Though I am not happy with my performance, but I hope to get more support from my faculty friends and Alumni to make this Institution among the top 10 in the world.

The virtual meet was convened by Cdr V K Jaitly, Distinguished Alumnus and was followed by question answer round from the Alumni. The closing remarks were given by Shri Varadarajan Seshamani, President of IIT KGP Foundation India.

Times of India (Kolkata)

By : Poulami Mondal, Digital & Creative Media Executive (Creative Writer)
Email: poulami.mondal@iitkgp.ac.in, media@iitkgp.ac.in, Ph. No.: +91-3222-282007

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By Poulami Mondal

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