Centres of excellence

Published : Aug 10, 2007 00:00 IST

Marine engineering trainee cadets at Vels Srinivasa College of Engineering and Technology. Students get to work on a real ship at their Thalambur campus.-S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

Marine engineering trainee cadets at Vels Srinivasa College of Engineering and Technology. Students get to work on a real ship at their Thalambur campus.-S.R. RAGHUNATHAN

Private institutions, albeit expensive, meet the demands of the growing higher education market and offer professional courses.

SO what if you have to spend a lot, education is the best investment for a lifetime, says Ishari K. Ganesh, chairman of the Vels Group of Institutions. The answer came instantly to a question on the cost of private education. The private colleges are here to meet the rising demand for quality education that can prepare students for a successful career. In the absence of government aid, we cannot recover costs without charging higher fees from students, he said.

In Chennai, individuals like Ganesh have set up private education trusts to meet the growing demand for education.

The Vels Group has added to its campus a new dental college and hospital offering a BDS course this year. Its Pallavaram campus sprawls across 30 acres with separate buildings for each department. A quick run through the list of courses reveals the wide range of subjects on offer. There are the always-in-demand professional courses such as engineering, master of business administration and master of computer applications. Those interested in applied sciences can consider subjects such as biochemistry, biotechnology, bio informatics and microbiology.

A postgraduate course in industrial chemistry and management is offered by the department of chemistry to equip students to take up jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. The college offers full-time degree courses in information technology. The Vels Group also has colleges offering physiotherapy, pharmacy and nursing courses. The Vels Hotel and Catering Industrial School offers diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in hotel management. These colleges have their own placement cells. Besides, students also benefit from the Anna University Placement Cell. Indians are grabbing jobs in ships all over the world, says Capt. K. Vivekanand, Director of the Vels Group of Maritime Colleges. It is two highly skilled Indians who are today manning the Jahre Viking, one of the biggest oil tankers in the world, weighing half a million tonnes, he says We prepare our students for such tasks, to ride high on the waves, literally. One of the highest paying industries, the shipping sector is set to boom in India and is in great need of qualified professionals. Jobs are available abroad as well. There are companies based in Japan and Singapore that flag out ships and recruit from outside their countries. A B.Sc. in nautical sciences or a degree in marine engineering prepares students for jobs in this industry.

Those in the merchant navy can start minting money at the very beginning of their careers, says Vivekanand. It is a job that entails risk but consider this: you can go around the globe without having to pay for it!

One can choose to be a navigating officer or a deck officer who takes care of the administration of a ship and ensures the safety of cargo and crew. Or one can become a marine engineer who keeps the ship sailing. He must also keep the engines, boilers, and so on in safe working condition.

At the Vels Academy of Maritime Studies, students can experience actual ship conditions through a simulator. We have brought the ocean to the campus, says Vivekanand. Marine engineering students get to work in an original steel ship on their Thalambur campus. The maritime courses are recognised by the Director-General of Shipping.

Madras Christian College in Tambaram has started a postgraduate course in maritime studies and coastal resources management in conjunction with two universities in Indonesia and one university from Philippines. In its 170th year, MCC has 31 departments, 4,200 students, regular and self-financing courses and 220 teachers. More than half of the 220 teachers have Ph.Ds. The most important thing about our college is that we want to give a wholesome education where all the faculties of a student physical, mental and emotional are nurtured so that he can contribute to society, says V.J. Philip, the principal. The college has tie-ups with 13 foreign universities. It has a 20-year association with Davidson College, North Carolina, United States.

Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering & Technology in Chembarambakkam, established in 1999, has all the relevant courses for the aspiring engineer. It also offers full-time courses in MBA and MCA. According to its vice-chairman, J. Karthikeyan, the institute will soon have tie-ups with leading universities in Singapore, Malaysia, Beijing and Shanghai. Faculty development programmes, twinning programmes and student exchange programmes will be arranged with foreign universities. Students here are encouraged to go abroad for higher education and help is provided for preparing for TOEFL and GRE examinations. Companies such as Polaris, Larsen & Toubro and Wipro have recruited students from here. Sree Sastha also has a Teachers Training Institute and a College of Education.

The Alpha Arts and Science College in Porur has run successfully for 10 years. The courses offered in biotechnology, microbiology and bioinformatics are popular here. Workshops and seminars are regularly conducted in association with accredited foreign universities such as University of Queensland in Australia. The college also collaborates with the IT sector for soft skills training to suit industry needs.

The Alpha College of Engineering in Thirumazhisai, Poonamallee, was started three years ago, with a board of distinguished advisers drawn from leading industries guiding the college on international linkages and placements. Courses offered in engineering include electronics and communication, computer science, electrical and electronics and biomedical engineering. B. Tech in IT is offered as well.

Known for its computer-training institute, the Apollo Educational group has an arts and science college and a college of education on Poonamallee High Road and a polytechnic in Tambaram. The arts and science college has a 2.5 lakh sq ft building with modern infrastructure, a well-equipped library, computer and science laboratories and a seminar hall.

The college has facilities such as football, cricket and hockey grounds and volleyball and basketball courts. Yoga and meditation classes are held in this college. The group has an IT training company, Apollo Computer Education Ltd., with branches all over Tamil Nadu.

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