Xavier Institute of Engineering

By Fr (Dr) John Rose, SJ, Director
Fr (Dr) John Rose,SJ, Director

Fr (Dr) John Rose

SJ, Director

The Jesuits have been in the field of education since around 1540, when their founder, Ignatius of Loyola, established the Society of Jesus in the Catholic Church to help persons live out a humane life. Badly wounded in a heroic battle against the French, a period of convalescence caused him to make a radical change of life: instead of leading soldiers, he decided to gather a band of like-minded persons to devote themselves to God by being at the service of those in need. That led him, in adult life, to the learning of Latin and to higher studies which culminated with a Masters in the University of Paris. It is here that he appreciated the value of humanistic and scientific studies, and that is why the tradition of formation among the Jesuits is very academic, and though the Jesuits are involved in a variety professional work, they are best known, since Renaissance times, as the “Schoolmasters of Europe” because of their wide network of schools and universities which, however, is nowadays not limited to Europe but extends to the whole wide world.

Francis Xavier, a companion of Ignatius, was sent to India on a Mission by both Ignatius and the King of Portugal, and one of the first things he did in Goa, the headquarters from where he exercised his plenipotentiary powers, was to set up St Paul’s School in 1542 in what is now Old Goa. St Paul’s widened its influence by setting up other schools in the area and it eventually continued its existence, after Old Goa became uninhabitable because of malaria, in the famous Seminary of Rachol, a premier institution for the full training of priests. All over India are many Jesuit establishments, like XLRI in Jamshedpur, Loyola College in Chennai, St Joseph’s College in Bangalore, St Xavier University in Kolkata, Xavier University in Bhubaneswar, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad.

Xavier Institute of Engineering (XIE), Mumbai, is one of the 84 colleges in India that is managed by the Jesuits. It began in the early 1930s as a technical institute on the premises of St Xavier’s College, Fort, Mumbai, with the aim of providing basic professional courses especially connected, for example, with radio communication officers in the Merchant Navy. Soon the applications for admission, and the need for newer professional courses, were too many to handle, and that meant that burgeoning in all directions required a new and larger location. It was found in Mahim, near what was called “Fishermen’s Colony.” What was once a technical institute became a polytechnic, also continuing to serve maritime interests, and with the exponential development of Information Technology, the Xavier Institute of Engineering (XIE) was started in 2005 to provide quality
education in Computers and Electronics. XIE is now one of the three engineering colleges run by the Jesuits in India.

Geared to much more than mere gathering of knowledge and training of the mind, Jesuit pedagogy starts with the premise that problems are less threats than opportunities to realize one’s true potential, and that information stagnates if it is not used for further development, mainly in matters of spiritual and social concerns. Jesuit mentors are required to develop the critical sense of students so that they are kept from being credulous, superstitious, fundamentalist, or obscurantist. The Director, Fr.Dr. John Rose SJ, says: “XIE has a programme that offers personal care to every student, and fosters a holistic formation. The students appreciate the one-on-one chats with their mentors (ombudsman and the staff).”

"At XIE the students have easy access to the Staff, which, apprised of their difficulties, organizes extra classes for those with specific needs"

At XIE the students have easy access to the Staff, which, apprised of their difficulties, organizes extra classes for those with specific needs. “Classrooms are planned to contain no more than 60 students and the staff-student ratio is 1:15. The laboratories have state-of-the-art equipment. The ambience of the classrooms, and the opportunities for developing interpersonal and employment skills, contribute to the special package of benefits for students. The lifestyle of the staff invites unconscious imitation by the students,” explains Dr. Venkatesh, Principal. XIE provides an up-to date library, entrepreneurial cells, an “incubation centre,” and spacious classrooms. It encourages outside professionals to conduct special courses, and often invites its past students, who have done well for themselves, to share their expertise with the staff and students. One of the newest ventures of XIE is the setting up of an Interfaith Group that will organize celebrations during religious festivals.

XIE is affiliated to Mumbai University and follows its syllabus and examination system. While the competent Staff guarantees training of a high order, the management keeps in mind the changing needs of industry. According to Dr Venkatesh, various courses have been added on over the years: programming skills in Python, Embedded systems, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence.” These courses and the talents of XIE students have caught the attention of major industries and corporations: Reliance JIO, L&T Infotech, Capgemini, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Accenture, Mahindra Tech and NSEIT. Further, according to Dr Venkatesh, “There are about 57 companies coming into our campus to recruit our students. Our own alumni own companies like E-nexus, GDIZ, Oreon Web Solutions, Scintillate, Bytes, Qubelinks and Tejash Cyber Solutions.”

The creative potential of XIE students as well as their commitment to social concerns have provided innovations in hospital care. Holy Family Hospital in Bandra invited XIE
to equip it with the necessary software for the efficient running of their medical facilities. XIE provided iTVgoggles for the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. Says Fr Dr John Rose S.J. “With these iTVgoggles, patients can now read their breathing levels while undergoing radiation therapy. The benefits to the medical profession have been large, but they have been larger for the students themselves because of they have now a great urge to extend help to disadvantaged persons.”

Groups of students go to the rural areas on a regular basis to coach students in village boarding schools on matters of computer science. To give a broader based education to its own students, XIE organizes three festivals: “Transmission” for technical expertise, “Spandan” for cultural activities, and “SparX” for sports. These festivals are both intra- and inter-Collegiate. There is an open playground for those who wish to prepare themselves for state-level competitions. Besides, XIE hosts TEDx talks and Mock MUN.

The ispiration of XIE’s motto, “To attain the joy of excellence in the world of high technology” leads to the awareness that service to one’s neighbour is, in fact, a greater service to one’s own self. “Our future plans,” according to Fr Dr John Rose, “include starting an M.E. programme in Computers, Electronics & Telecommunications and BE in Automobile Engineering. A start-up company that aims to change petrol/diesel vehicles into semi and fully electrically-driven ones has asked for XIE’s collaboration and, of course, such a collaboration brings along with it opportunities for placements and for training personnel.”

Fr (Dr) John Rose, SJ, Director
John Rose, S.J, PhD has been the Director of XIE since June 2018; previously he was its Deputy Director and Administrator. He has a Master’s in Physics from Loyola College (Madras University), Chennai, and in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University, USA. His PhD degree in Electrical Engineering is also from Santa Clara University. He is an ardent supporter and promoter of Free and Open Source software. He, along with Dr Glenn Baptista and Prof. K.M. Kulkarni, in 2009 was the first to bring out a DVD called LAMP+ containing all the Engineering software pertaining to the Computer and IT syllabi of Mumbai University. He was also instrumental in establishing and heading the Linux Research Lab at XIE from 2011-13. His area of research is Variational Thermodynamic Methods, Transport Charges in Semiconductor Devices, and Embedded Systems. His favourite prayer is, ‘Lord, lead me from unreal to reality; from darkness to light; from death to immortality. Peace to all beings.'

Dr Y. D. Venkatesh, Principal
Dr. Y.D. Venkatesh has been the principal of XIE for the past 9 years. His PhD is from The National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. Prior to coming to XIE, he was a Lecturer at IIT-B. He also worked as an Assistant Professor, both at Fr. C. Rodrigues College of Engineering, Bandra, and at VITI, Mumbai.