The seventh semester engineering exams of Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Odisha were a month away, but, students from one of its affiliated colleges - Eastern Academy of Science and Technology popularly known as EAST, were on the verge of a strike. They were not happy with the management's decision to conduct their annual day function after the exams. From an academic standpoint, that may sound ridiculous. However, students were stubborn and they did not want the event to be postponed.
It would have been a messy affair had the management disagreed with the students. Dr. R.K. Mishra, Founder and Chairman of EAST, is one such person who is well aware about the student's psychology and he knew the perfect way to convince them during critical situations. With the experience of being in the education sector for more than five decades, Dr. Mishra stood with his students to organize the event within two days, which gave them ample time to prepare for their exams.
Shubashis Tripati, 2006 alumnus of EAST, was one among the many students who gathered in front of Chairman's office and he still remembers those days, "today, I know what we did at that point of time was wrong. As students, we were in different world. Maybe it looked like our chairman was supporting us, but in reality, he was guiding us to a safe path and I can say with full confidence that he is a good decision maker."
Dr. Mishra, who had served as a faculty member in several prestigious universities in the U.S. including University of Florida and the Vanderbilt University Medical colleges always wanted to serve the state of Odisha and the nation through an educational institution that is family friendly, cost effective and quality driven. The limited number of engineering college in the state of Odisha in the early 2000s prompted him to setup an engineering college and EAST became a reality in 2001.
Never Diminishing Reputation
In recent years, due to consistent government support, Odisha has become a major centre for learning in eastern India. Despite the support from government, most of the engineering colleges from Odisha are under fire today. During the last two academic years, only 26 thousand of the seats out of more than 46 thousand seats have been filled up leaving many colleges empty. It has been reported that, last year more than two dozen Engineering colleges had requested to shut down a few courses where the student intake is abysmally low. While mushrooming number of private engineering colleges, which do not care much about imparting quality education, are considered as the major threats to this vacant number of seats in the state, EAST looks like they are operating on a different turf.
With a capacity of 570 students in eight different undergraduate programs, the institute has never faced difficulties in filling their seats due to the high quality education that they have been imparting under a strong management team. "The ability of the management to bring big companies to the campus has been one of the major strengths of EAST. As a new institution, the placement from my senior batch was commendable," says Shubashis, who was recruited by IBM after graduating from EAST in 2006. The excellence in placement has been a habit for EAST. For the same reason, companies like IBM, Wipro, Infosys and 3M are continuing as regular visitors of the campus to recruit their future talents.
While, EAST achieves more than 75 percent placement for eligible candidates every year, 2010 alumnus of EAST, Rajashree Patel who works in Accenture Bangalore as Senior Analyst says, "My job position here demands lot of interaction with fresh graduates and many of them lack confidence to express their ideas, though they appear good in their score cards. Fortunately, I personally have not experienced that difficulty as my engineering education was good enough to make me confident to face the industry."
Revealing the secret behind making students confident in facing the industry, Dr. Santosh Kumar Nanda, Principal, EAST says, "Though the university curriculum is stagnant, we have tried our level best to impart quality education to the students. Pertaining to the changing industry demands, we have been inviting industry people for guest lectures and have been retaining the best faculty members under the best infrastructural facilities." Providing high quality education at the best value, attracting and retaining highly qualified trusted faculty and building a postmodern infrastructure for a continuous improvement in all respects of education, EAST is a prototype for engineering education in the country. With many more institutions like this, the country can soon be proud of its capacity to produce quality technocrats for next-stage technological innovations.
Dr. Radha Kanta Mishra
He is the Chairman of Eastern Academy of Science and Technology and he has worked as a faculty in several prestigious universities in the U.S. The most significant accomplishment of his research career is based on the elucidation of the mechanism of action of Fluexitin (PROZAC), which still plays a significant role in the treatment of millions of people around the world affected with Depression.
Dr. Gita Mishra
She is the President of Eastern Academy of Science and Technology and is a Board certified physician by the American Board of family physicians. She is a faculty member of the Meharry Medical College and the Vanderbilt University College of Medicines in the U.S. In the past she was the Director of continuing Education & Minority affairs for the TN State Medical Society.