Interview: Prof. V. Rhymend Uthariaraj

Making successful engineers

Print edition : September 04, 2015

Prof. V. Rhymend Uthariaraj, Secretary, Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions.

AS Secretary, Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA), Professor V. Rhymend Uthariaraj presides over the massive exercise of interviewing students for admission to about two lakh seats in more than 571 engineering colleges in the State. The exercise takes place over the entire month of July every year, entailing counselling of a minimum of 5,000 students a day The interviews take place on the campus of the College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai.

When Frontline met him on July 27, Uthariaraj, who is Professor and Director, Ramanujam Computing Centre, Anna University, Chennai, said a student of engineering should receive not only theoretical knowledge but “practical exposure” as well so that he/she is absorbed by industry after graduation.

He said: “There is no doubt that there is a worldwide demand for graduate engineers. To develop new technologies and make technological innovations, we need a lot of graduate engineers with practical exposure. Of course, our students have good knowledge [of the subjects they have chosen]. But how to make them practically oriented is today’s issue. That is where we are lacking. Converting their academic knowledge into a practical exposure and making them successful engineers is our duty rather than saying that there is no demand for engineers nowadays.”

According to Uthariaraj, the key issue is how to “make the students knowledgeable and saleable”. To impart good academic knowledge, Anna University revises its curriculum every three years. To keep up with the latest trends in various technologies, it introduced electives in various disciplines. “So the academic part is well-defined. The other part is in the hands of the affiliated colleges, their teachers and students. The industry can collaborate with these colleges so that the industry-academic exchange can grow,” he said.

He said in order to improve the technical skills of students the colleges could adopt the university curriculum and pack it with practical exposure.

Uthariaraj said. “Here the role of students is important. They should obtain the skills in their areas of study. The colleges and industry could give projects to students or ask the students to bring a business model and work on it. The framework should be given by the colleges on how to proceed with the goal of not only providing knowledge to their students in their branches of study but giving them practical training.”

T.S. Subramanian