Sri Ram Venkata Subba Setty or in short, S.V. Setty, who lived in Karnataka a century ago, is an unsung hero of Indian aviation industry. Eight years after the Wright brothers’ historic first flight in 1903, Setty flew an aircraft in England to become the first Indian to achieve that feat. At that time, aviation was dominated by accidents, both minor and major, and Setty crashed while testing an Avro D prototype but somehow managed to escape unhurt. Without losing hope, he fearlessly studied the machine’s flaws and came up with a better design, which the company approved and asked him to test once again. This time, Setty did land safely. The prototype that Setty designed for Avro D was itself the inspiration for the Avro 504 - one of the most widely operated early trainer aircraft and the first one to bomb Germany during the First World War.
Two generations after Setty’s tragic demise in India, his grandchildren started an engineering college in North Karnataka named Smt. Kamala & Sri Venkappa M. Agadi College of Engineering & Technology to fulfil his dream of providing technical education to the rural population. With the majority of students coming from the nearby areas, this institute is not a highly popular one in the Indian technical education circle. Since its establishment in 2003, however, the institute has made significant contributions to empower the rural population with cutting-edge education and they deserve to be in the limelight.
Indeed, Indian technical education arena has many unsung heroes like Setty and the institute started by his grandchildren. While, mainstream media hardly talks about them, we at the Higher Education Review have always been committed to identify such organizations and people in the education sector. Engineering College of the Year, an annual practice that we have been doing since our inception, is a result of such efforts. This year too, we have come up with a vibrant set of technical campuses in the country that are working with different philosophies to make the country a paradise for innovators and technocrats.