Monday, December 19, 2011

EducationWorld Today

Among the first private professional colleges to be established in Tamil Nadu by higher education visionary the late Dr. K.C.G. Verghese (1940-2006), the Hindustan Group of Institutions (HGI), comprising six colleges in Chennai and Pondicherry, has been dispensing high quality engineering, aviation, applied sciences and business management education for over four decades. In July, the Hindustan College of Engineering (HCE estb. 1985) will complete its first year as the Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science (HITS) — a deemed (autonomous) university. Enthused by the academic and administrative freedom conferred upon HITS by the Delhi-based University Grants Commission, Ashok Verghese, joint director of HGI, foresees exciting new growth opportunities for HITS, which offers engineering and aeronautical degree programmes and boasts 6,500 enroled students instructed by 300 faculty.

“We plan to develop a centre of excellence in composites for aerospace applications in HITS and introduce new courses in mechatronics, motorsports engineering and chemical and robotic engineering,” says Verghese, a mechanical engineering graduate of Anna University with an MBA from Michigan University, USA, who manages HGI, which has an aggregate enrolment of 13,000 students and 1,000 faculty.

Following conferment of deemed university status on HITS, building advanced research capability has moved to the top of the agenda for Verghese, who is engineering a collaborative research nexus between the university and industry, while simultaneously deputing faculty to study at research institutes abroad.

Among the first research-driven initiatives is a deputation of electronics faculty to the John Abbot College in Montreal, Canada for an intensive six-month course on photonics. “The purpose of the intellectual exchange programme is to enable our faculty to study research cultures abroad, develop R&D capability and persuade the Central and state governments to fund research projects at HITS in collaboration with industry,” says Verghese.

Even as its management continues to sign agreements with foreign universities for joint research in aviation, automobile and mechanical engineering studies; for student and faculty exchange programmes and IT courses through videoconferencing, HITS is developing an international outlook as well. Every year the Hindustan Group offers scholarships for undergraduate studies to five students from Africa and other countries who excel in sports and games, and ten students from foreign universities who have excelled in cultural activities including jazz, rock, and dance, for further studies in its institutions.

“We want our students to learn from experts in different fields and develop their skills. Our future plans are to attract more international participation in our sports and cultural activities, draw the best faculty from India and overseas and pursue advanced research programmes funded by the Indian government and industry,” says Verghese.

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