| Sameer Agarwal receives the President’s gold medal from Planning Commission member Kirit S. Parikh in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Guwahati, May 29: The IIT Guwahati authorities today called for consolidating the institute’s achievements to take it to even greater heights.
“The institute has now grown to the size that the five original IITs were in the mid-nineties and it can no longer be called a new institute, 14 years after its academic programme started. It is time now to consolidate our achievements and this has to be done by improving the quality of everything we have been doing,” IIT Guwahati director Gautam Barua said at the 11th convocation of the institute today.
Altogether 533 students from the BTech, BDes, MTech, MSc and PhD programmes were today awarded their degrees at the convocation.
Speaking of the various fronts on which the institute is trying to improve, Baruah said the student feedback process, which formed part of the faculty assessment, was being strengthened and a process of re-examining issues of student discipline had been started.
“We have initiated a review of the functioning of the academic centres at the institute with a view to encourage inter-disciplinary research, while at the same time not hurt the traditional department-based research activities,” he added.
He said the institute was able to put IIT Patna on the road to excellence within a short span of 10 months.
IIT Guwahati was entrusted the responsibility of mentoring IIT Patna last year.
It has given a special thrust to increase the quantum and level of research and development this year and the number of PhD students have increased from 366 to 407.
According to Baruah, the learning centre of Tata Consultancy Services had started functioning and it was hoped that once the current downturn was over, the company would find the atmosphere conducive to invest in a development centre in Guwahati.
Kirit S. Parikh, a member of the Planning Commission who delivered the convocation address, expressed concern that higher education in the Northeast was characterised as “single track”, focusing on general education and within that, a major concentration in the arts.
He said over 80 per cent of the three lakh students enrolled in colleges were in the arts stream, which bore testimony to the assertion that the standard of science teaching was poor and so was the level of college enrolment.
“It is evident that higher education in the northeastern region needs to become more relevant to the needs of the population. The thrust needs to focus on areas like agro-based sciences, biotechnology, organic farming and medicinal plants,” Parikh said.
IIT Guwahati had lived up to its brand name, which was a significant achievement, considering that it was established in the early nineties.
“IIT Guwahati is an institution of the 21st century and I foresee that it will be an anchor in moderating and benchmarking research and development activities that focus on development in the Northeast, in the larger perspective of economic growth of the nation” Parikh said.
The chairman of the board of governors, IIT Guwahati, M.K. Bhan, said in spite of all odds like recession affecting placement, the institute was coping well with such problems and looking ahead positively for other opportunities.