In this year, Coimbatore Institute of Technology (CIT) will cross an important milestone in the history of its existence. The Institute will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee as a testament for the 60 year of service to the society. From a tiny campus with 100 students in 1956 to a hub of technology and research with 6000 talented individuals from all over the country in 2016, CIT\'s journey has always been on the track of success. However, few realize that the vision behind CIT had been chalked up much before 1956.
Late Prof. P. R. Ramakrishnan, the Founder Principal of Coimbatore Institute of Technology, was a rare blend of academician, industrialist, philanthropist and politician. As a boy of high caliber who was born in a wealthy family during the time of British Raj in India, Prof. Ramakrishnan had the opportunities to make his choice of completing higher education wherever he aspires to and he made the best of it. In the pre-independent era, he flew to the U.S. to do his Bachelor\'s and Master\'s Degree in Electrical Engineering and subsequently became the first Indian MBA graduate from Sloan School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After a brilliant academic career at the MIT and seven years of stint with General Electricals, he came back to India with a mission to serve the society.
The years that Prof. Ramakrishnan spent at the MIT campus were perhaps the best of the things that happened to him and to the Indian education sector, which was in dire need of quality higher educational institutions as a part of nation building after independence. For providing first-degree engineering education, the country had only one IIT and close to 40 institutes with an annual intake of about 3000 students. Both quality and quantity in technical education had to be established as the government was contemplating about establishing a large number of industrial projects in the Second Five Year Plan (1956 - 1961). During this period, the Government of India was able to establish 11 Regional Engineering Colleges and 5 IITs through an act of Parliament and declared them as institutes of national importance. However, the growing demand for expansion of technical education and the inability of the Government to meet the social aspirations resulted in private initiatives to provide the alternatives and it was perfect time for Prof. Ramakrishnan to diversify his business establishments by entering the service of education. In 1956, under the administration V. Rangasamy Naidu Educational Trust in industrially alert town of Coimbatore, Prof. Ramakrishnan created a technical institute, which inherited all the possible quality aspects of his alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology including the name - Coimbatore Institute of Technology.
Developing the MIT\'s Indian Version
In post-independence India, growth of higher education took place in two distinct phases. Till 1980, there was a steady growth in the number of governmental institutes, which resulted in geographical dispersal of higher education facilities and broadened the base of technical education. In the last three decades, private entities elevated the Indian higher education system to be the third largest in the world. During this course of time, many technical institutions in India have tried to emulate the prestigious \'MIT idea\' of education, which is focused on innovation and research. While, many of them failed to identify the major characteristics of MIT, which has made it different from other institutions of technology, CIT could implement a high research track and active industrial collaborations in the campus, owing to Prof. Ramakrishnan\'s firsthand experience from MIT.
Indeed, high potential research activities clubbed with excellent teaching that emphasizes on fundamentals and innovative concepts are the strengthening factors unique to CIT. Hence, the management of CIT was never interested in increasing the number of academic disciplines beyond the borders of technical education to scale up their educational establishment. Instead, their sole focus was on providing a high quality education based on a global outlook to prepare the students to work in any thriving economy. \"With an existence of 60 years as an education trust and 28 years as an autonomous institute, we could have easily made student strength of 50,000 or above and we do not want to do that. Here, we talk only about improving our quality of education in every passing year rather than producing a horde of students with a certificate in hand,\" explains Dr. S.R.K. Prasad, Chairman and Correspondent, Coimbatore Institute of Technology.
A Comprehensive System of Technical Education
Today, CIT offers 9 Under Graduate Academic Programs and 12 Post Graduate Academic Programs in addition to M.S. and Ph.D. Research Programs. \"We have set up statutory bodies such as Governing Council, Academic Council, Board of studies and Non-statutory bodies like Planning and Evaluation Committee, Finance Committee, Library Committee, Curriculum Development Cell and Discipline Committee, for effective functioning of Autonomous system, which we have been running successfully since 1987,\" claims Dr. V. Selladurai, Principal, CIT. While, autonomous status has created an excellent opportunity to revise, redesign or introduce innovations in the curriculum, the Institute provides liberty for the faculty and students to think and implement their ideas with a focus on the timelines maintaining competent and high academic standards. As a result, emerging fields like Bioengineering, Nano Technology and Solar Energy have become active research grounds for both faculty members and students who aim for publishing research papers and filing patents.
\"Innovation is the keyword in our campus now. We conduct lot of research in wide varieties of fields, which are useful to the government, society, industry and finally to the public at large. We have even got research scholar from international universities here,\" says Dr. Prasad. Being proactive in the realm of latest research has helped CIT to widen its reputation beyond the Indian shores. \"Here at CIT, we function in collaboration with reputed colleges and universities abroad in innovative technologies, which has enhanced the mobility of our faculty members and students to abroad,\" says, Dr. R. Prabhakar, Secretary, CIT. In addition to the tie-up with organizations like DAAD for student exchange programs, at present, CIT has an active collaboration with Bergen University, Norway in the areas of Nano Materials and Applications. CIT has jointly organized International Conferences with Oklahoma University, U.S., Texastech University, U.S., University of Kazan, Russia, Eastcoast London University, UK, Cardiff University, UK, Leigh University, Australia and University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Along with high-end research activities in collaboration with international universities, the faculty members of CIT take up consultancy projects of prominent industries in India and abroad, which provides the students latest industrials knowledge and hence stabilizes the training curve when they enter into the real job scenarios. \"Many of our faculty members are consultants of various industries in India and abroad, which has given us opportunities to strengthen our relationship with the industry. This includes MoUs and regular interface with them in terms of talks and seminars,\" says Dr. R. Sivasubramanian, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department who is in charge of Placement Cell of CIT. The institute has signed MoUs with leading industrial business associations like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Coimbatore District Small Industries Association (CODISSIA), Coimbatore Productivity Council and National and MNCs such as TCS, L&T, Robert Bosch, IBM, Oracle and many more.
With the growing number of industrial collaborations over the years, CIT has been consistently showing excellent placement performance. The industry has been offering jobs with diverse profiles to the students who are well prepared for the corporate world by the time they leave the portals of CIT. With over 150 companies, which are categorized as Core Companies, Circuit Companies and Dream Companies, the entire placement process of CIT is dynamic and self-correcting. Based on the feedback received from the companies, the institute identifies the skills that need to be sharpened and communicate with the HOD\'s and the faculty members. \"We are encouraged to see several industries returning, year after year, to our institute for recruitment. This reinforces our belief in the effectiveness of our curriculum and its suitability with respect to the dynamic corporate world,\" claims Dr. Sivasubramanian. Perhaps, that is the reason why CIT students bag higher salaries than other private institutions in the country with 15 LPA being the highest package offered in last year. \"Our graduates move up the ladder much faster in industries at both National and International levels compared to other similar academic institutions\", says Dr.R.Prabhakar, Secretary & Professor Emeritus, CIT.
While, CIT is all set to celebrate their 60th year of existence, Dr. Prasad and his team look forward to achieve something bigger - The QS World Ranking, a goal that Indian institutions have been trying to achieve but failed miserably till this date. He says, \"The need for an international ranking of universities and colleges has been realized and has become the order of the day. The roadmap of CIT is to find a place in the QS rating and the institute makes every effort to achieve this objective in the years to come.\" From state-of-the-art infrastructure to the process of learning based on a global outlook to make students ready to encounter challenges of new frontiers, CIT has everything apart from adequate number of international students and faculty members to be eligible for an international ranking. If the management could attract more number of students and professors across the globe to its campus at Coimbatore, CIT will be featured in the same pages of QS World Ranking along with the prestigious global universities. Then, there will not be a better tribute than this to Prof. Ramakrishnan who saw the dream of establishing MIT model of technical education in India 60 years ago.
Dr. SRK Prasad, Chairman and Correspondent
Dr. Prasad is currently the Correspondent of Coimbatore Institute of Technology (CIT), Managing Trustee of V. Rangaswamy Naidu Educational trust, Chairman Governing Council of CIT. He is the Vice-President of SHREE VELAGAPUDI RAMAKRISHNA MEMORIAL COLLEGE, Nagaram, Andhra Pradesh. He is a Fellow Member of Operational Research Society of India, He was also the Chairman Board of Governors National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Chennai, Ex-Member of Board of Governors IIT, Bombay, Ex-Member of Board National Institute of Technology, Warangal (NIT) and Ex-Member of Board of Governors Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. He is the Managing Director of Krishna Industrial Corporation Ltd and the Chairman of Kasbah Systems Software, which has produced world class products and services both for the domestic market and exports in the field of CAD/CAM/CAE, ERP and Optimization. He obtained his Post Graduate Diploma in Operations Research from Madras University and pursued his Master of Science (MSc) in Advanced Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, London.
His guidance, directions and vision enable CIT to reach better heights and to work towards global research with international collaboration.