A legacy of excellence

Published : Dec 31, 2004 00:00 IST

The main building of the institute. - PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The main building of the institute. - PICTURES: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Pune Institute of Engineering and Technology, one of the oldest engineering colleges in the country, is 150 years old and is gearing to meet the challenges of the post-globalisation world.

ONE of the oldest engineering colleges in the country, the Pune Institute of Engineering and Technology or PIET (formerly Government College of Engineering, Pune), was established in 1854 to train officers of the British Raj to construct public works such as buildings dams, canals, railway tracks and bridges. Initially the college was part of the University of Mumbai. In 1949, it got affiliated to the University of Pune.

Since then, PIET has produced more than 25,000 graduate engineers, 1,500 postgraduate engineers and 22 doctoral degree holders in various branches of engineering. Apart from its illustrious background, the college is renowned for producing outstanding engineers such as Sir M. Visvesvaraya (architect of the Krishnarajasagar dam in Karnataka).

PIET is the first government institute in Maharashtra to get accreditation for all its undergraduate courses from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), New Delhi - in July 2002. In 2003, the institute was honoured with permanent affiliation and academic autonomy by the University of Pune. As the first step towards autonomy, it started full-fledged autonomous B.Tech. and M.Tech. programmes from 2003-04.

With this momentous upgrading, there will be a paradigm shift from a State-owned, university-affiliated institute to a fully autonomous institute. It has also registered a Board of Governors with the Charity Commissioner's Office, Pune. F.C. Kohli, ex-Vice Chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is the Chairperson of the Board of Governors. The Principal has been designated as the `Director' of the autonomous institute and three Deans have been appointed.

Grants of more than Rs.75 lakhs have been given to the institute from the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the government. The Government of Maharashtra has sanctioned a token grant of Rs.25 lakhs for the construction of a classroom complex. There is also an increase in continuing education programmes for industry as well as academic institutes. The institute has signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with eight reputed industries/organisations to conduct training programmes in specialised areas.

In order to keep up with competition, the institute has come up with a perspective academic plan for the next five years, under the Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) instituted by the Central government and funded by the World Bank. The first instalment of Rs.15 crores has been sanctioned for the enhancement of academic excellence, modernisation of the institute, human resource development, a digital library and a tribal development plan.

The infrastructure proposed under the TEQIP includes high-performance computers, simulation and modelling facilities, scalable storage, high-speed connectivity (internal and external), connectivity infrastructure at network institutes, thin computing and edge computing devices, web farms and the latest software.

Some of the academic developments at PIET include a curriculum revision for all courses, modernisation of 42 laboratories, a new interdisciplinary postgraduate programme, strengthening of the doctoral programme with fellowships, improvement in research, consultancy and industry interaction and institutional reform for effective management.

PIET boasts of having the best student input from the State, a faculty with high professional qualifications, and excellent libraries, computing facilities and research. With the new education system, there has been an improvement in the performance of students since they are subjected to continuous evaluation. The education model is updated every year, keeping the staff motivated. The institute has also developed an independent examination cell.

The students enthusiastically participate in cultural activities and have won prizes and medals at various inter-university and inter-collegiate competitions. Almost all departments publish their reports and achievements and also articles in the departmental and college magazines. The college magazine has won awards for the best magazine of the year for several years from the University and the State government. Many students have performed brilliantly in various entrance examinations such as Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). Every year, about 110 PIET students pursue higher studies abroad.

Students of different disciplines have formed associations, which are guided by faculty members of the respective departments. The associations conduct numerous programmes throughout the year for the students. These include improvements to department libraries, technical quizzes, debates, national-level technical paper presentation contest, lectures by eminent personalities, and career guidance and talks on higher education opportunities.

Under the tribal development plan, the institute proposes to implement the reservation policies of the State and Central governments. The institute helps students to derive benefits from all available sources such as social welfare schemes, non-governmental organisations and government hostels. It organises coaching classes for students taking up GATE, IES, GRE and other competitive examinations The institute also arranges special courses for career development and communication skills.

PIET has also set up a training and placement cell, which organises campus recruitment programmes by inviting various companies to the college. The cell also arranges training programmes for the students to help them develop their personality, communication skills, aptitude tests solving ability and so on. The cell also assists students in getting sponsored projects and in in-plant training in various industries. It attempts to improve industry-institute interaction.

PIET is known all over India and abroad as a provider of dynamic and skilled engineers to industries. To its credit, the training and placement cell has got the ISO 9002 certification in the year 2000-01. Around 150 companies visit the campus every year for recruitment programmes. These include companies from the manufacturing, software, Information Technology, and automobile, sectors and from the military.

Major corporations such as Microsoft, IBM, Wipro, Infosys, Satyam, Texas, Veritas, Newgen, Tata Motors, Bajaj, L&T, Siemens, ABB, IPCL, BPCL, HPCL, MICO, Thermax, Cognizant, Kanbay, Ashok Leyland, Eicher Motors, Kirloskar Group, TVS, Mahindra, Godrej, Zensar, Essar, Sterlite and Crompton recruit students from all disciplines every year. About 75 per cent of the undergraduate and postgraduate students find placements every year. Around 20 per cent opt for higher studies in India or abroad.

Many companies such as Tata Motors, KOEL, PSPL, Nevis Network, L&T Infotech, Kalyani Brakes, Thermax and many software companies have come forward to offer projects for final year undergraduate and postgraduate students. Several courses have been started in collaboration with companies. Also, MoUs have been signed with some companies such as Infosys, TCS and L&T, who have offered training programmes for the students and the teaching staff. Some have donated books and infrastructure and have sponsored student programmes.

The Industry-Institute Interaction Cell strives to promote closer interaction with industry. The cell works to develop linkages with industries and research organisations, promote the culture of research and development, patent products developed in the institute, promote sponsored programmes, enhance testing and consultancy activity, conduct continuing education programmes and training for the staff of institutes and business organisations, arrange industrial visits for students and staff, exchange expert lectures with industry and institutes, increase participation of industrial experts in the preparation of academic syllabus, and so on.

After the formation of the cell, interaction with industries in and around Pune has increased considerably. MoUs have been signed with different industries. Companies like Infosys, Tata Motors, L&T, Kirloskar, Emerson, TCS, Thermax, are taking an active part in various activities in the institute such as conferences, competitions, training programmes, industrial visits, and lectures. They have instituted scholarships for students and made donations.

Recently, L&T donated a boiler and many heat exchangers to the Mechanical Engineering Department. Many industry-sponsored projects are in progress. A sandwich training programme is supported by many major industries from Pune, Mumbai, Nasik and other cities.

This year, being the sesqui-centenary year, many programmes have been launched, including national and international conferences, seminars, workshops and symposiums, by each department. The new extension building for Electronics, Telecommunication and Instrumentation was inaugurated.

The construction of a subway in the campus commenced in April. In fact, the institute has initiated a process of reforms to be better prepared to face the challenges ahead. They include managerial reforms with identification of senior faculty members for key posts such as Director, Registrar, Deans and Co-ordinators. The institute has initiated a drive to generate a corpus fund through the alumni association.

The modernisation of laboratories, the establishment of new laboratories and a digital library, the improving of the infrastructure, the striking of partnerships with other institutes and industry and the setting up of an ultra-modern computational platform for all possible ways of professional sharing will make PIET reach new heights. This progress is reflected in the qualitative as well as quantitative growth of postgraduate education, and the impetus to research and development, consultancy and other professional performance indices.

With technological challenges and globalisation, it is essential for PIET to take a quantum leap towards the achievement of academic excellence by re-engineering its education process with a focus on quality assurance.

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