- DR.RADHAKRISHNAN, PSG TECH
spoke to Dr. P Radhakrishnan, Principal, PSGCollege of Technology,
on the education scene in Coimbatore. Dr. Radhakrishnan, a graduate
from the Trichy Engineering College and a Post Graduate from
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, joined PSG in
1970 and has been with them ever since. His field of specialisation
is Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD).
The strengths of Coimbatore, as regards Education....
Most of the colleges have got excellent physical infrastructure and
very efficient managements. Take the PSG Group for example,
for over half a century now their contribution to the growth of education
in Coimbatore has been outstanding. And PSG Tech is not the only
institution that is top class. We have top class Engineering colleges,
Medical colleges and one of the best Agricultural Universities in
the country. Some of the top Engineering colleges which can stand
along with the best in India are in Coimbatore, like Bannariamman
Institute of Technology, Kumaraguru Institute of Technology, Amrita
College of Technology and many other excellent polytechnics.
The weaknesses, as regards education....
In all institutes there is a paucity of faculty. Even though the
new scales of pay have been introduced, a career in teaching does
not offer a good emolument when compared to a career in a related
industry. Teaching also suffers from stagnation in career. Though
there may be job security, there is no job satisfaction in the majority
of cases as there would be in a career, which would offer different
challenges. Also a career in an industry enjoys a much better status
in society than a career in teaching.
Even if I train faculty, the industry attracts them after their training
by offering more pay. Many of my professors have gone as HRD managers
in leading IT companies and other industries. Often, the professors
who have been trained, are lured away by being offered three or four
times the salary that they were drawing as teachers.
Education system - is it changing with the times?
The American system may require 16 years of education for one to work
there. This problem is only for students of Arts and Science colleges
and not for students of Engineering or other professional courses.
In the same way that the American Universities may have rules, we
also have got rules. But there can be exceptions to that. An intelligent
student can graduate in lesser number of years. And as far as software
is concerned, the expertise required to carry out this job can be
acquired in less number of years. In traditional subjects like Metallurgy
or other disciplines, they have to go through the basic fundamentals
and get a thorough grounding in them; so a minimum number of years
and schooling in the particular subject is necessary. For a career
in software you do not need the same kind of grounding. A student
with a B. Sc degree can do equally well if he has done a software
course at NIIT or SSI.
The Job market for students graduating from Coimbatore....
Over 90% of students are placed during the campus interview itself.
Placement is high, especially in the IT sector. In the traditional
disciplines though, placement is not high. Eventually most of the
students make a career for themselves in the IT industry. And Coimbatore
has always been known for its entrepreneurial spirit. So the avenue
for self-employment is always there for graduating students.
Opportunities available for students to exploit....
The Information Technology boom has thrown up opportunities for self-employment.
Earlier, entrepreneurship was difficult because the capital investment
was high and it takes a long time to reach profit or break even.
In software, this is not so. The kind of profit that can be had in
this industry can never be compared to any other industry. Also the
flexibility it offers in the sense that today the person could be
dealing in say a certain kind of software, tomorrow when there is
a new kind of software, the up gradation cost is small. This is the
greatest advantage of the IT industry. In a traditional industry,
after having invested a huge amount in machinery, if it does not do
well, it is very difficult to change.
PSG Tech's significant achievement....
I think the greatest contribution or achievement of PSG Tech has been
the entrepreneurial spirit that it has encouraged in its students.
Today I am proud to say that more than 60% of the small and medium
scale entrepreneurs in Coimbatore are past students of PSG Tech.
Of the 5,000 members in CODISSIA (Coimbatore District Small Industries
Association), nearly 3,000 have studied in PSG Tech. Shiv Nadar,
Chairman of HCL Technologies (1986 batch), Prasad, Armstrong
India (1955 batch), Vijaya Mohan, Vice-Chairman, Pricol,
A V Varadharajan, President ICCIC and Vice-President,
CODISSIA, Sarath Kumar, Executive Director, Bhabha
Atomic Research Station and Uma Maheswari of AIAC
are some of the eminent alumni who have passed out of our institution.
- Joseph Pradeep Raj R.
Photographs - V Ganesan