The aim of the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), housed on a rambling eight acre campus in Salt Lake, is to provide technical training to faculty members of polytechnics and degree engineering colleges. The institute in Calcutta is one of the group of four — the others are based in Chandigarh, Bhopal and Chennai. It is mandatory for all technical teachers in government-run colleges to attend one of the NITTTRs for at least six weeks if they want to be promoted to the next grade.
The institutes offer short and long-term courses — the short courses can span five days or a couple of weeks while the two-year courses are on education management. The 146 short courses offered are in various technical areas (such as computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing, welding, concept mapping, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics), in management as well as in how to teach engineering. Since 2003, NITTTR has also been offering MTech programmes. Incidentally, all the courses offered by NITTTR is recognised by the All India Council for Technical Education.
The institute has state-of-the-art laboratories for different subjects. There’s a welding laboratory to provide hands-on training to students. Another laboratory has the Computer Aided Design/ Computer Aided Manufacturing system. “For example, Levi’s, the denim jeans brand, has come up with the idea of making bespoke trousers for its customers. A string of computerised systems work in succession to take one’s measurements, to send those over to the workshops located in the far-flung manufacturing countries, and finally to dispatch the made-to-measure trousers to their respective customers. The CAD/CAM system is needed to execute this entire process,” says the director, Sanjay Kumar Bhattacharya, explaining the importance of CAD/CAM. “We’ve got a fairly sophisticated CAD/CAM centre on our campus, which probably is one of a kind in this region,” he adds.
There is also an integrated computer centre, a vacuum furnace and compaction devices, toolmakers’ microscopes and the like. NITTTR has got one of the few six-axis robots in Asia.
Gautam Dutta, an MTech student of powder metallurgy department, says, “Our institution is better equipped than most top-rated technical colleges in the state.” “Every student has access to the technical equipment unlike in other institutes where students are not allowed to touch the machinery,” he adds.
At present, the institute has ten departments — civil engineering, community development and rural technology, computer science and engineering, continuing education, education, educational planning and management, electrical engineering, industrial consultancy entrepreneurship, mechanical engineering and science.
To join the short-term training courses, people who are currently teaching at a diploma or degree engineering college will have to produce a no- objection certificate from the concerned institute. These courses are free of cost for current teachers. NITTTR is also planning to set up a video-conferencing facility, which will be Internet-based and cheaper than the broadband-based video–conferencing now popularly used. This will allow teachers to access the training courses without having to travel all the way to NITTTR in Calcutta..
To study MTech at NITTTR, candidates have to qualify the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering or Gate.
The aim of NITTTR is to produce efficient professors, lecturers and research scholars, not industry professionals. So they encourage students to take up research. In 2012, 48 papers by the MTech students were published in various journals. Soham Das, a final-year MTech student will submit his thesis on welding this May. “I aspire to do a PhD next. We’ve got excellent mentors here,” says Das. He thinks the college should think about helping place students in the industry and not guide them only towards the education sector.
But then the very reason of NITTTR would be lost. After all, it was set up exclusively to train teachers.
WHAT IS IT?
A government college offering teacher training courses for faculty members of engineering colleges and MTech programmes
WHO’S THE BOSS?
Sanjay Kumar Bhattacharya is the director
Where is it?
Block- FC, Sector-III, Salt Lake, Calcutta-700016
Tel: 23374125 / 0479
Most teachers have PhDs; state-of-the-art equipment
Inadequate faculty members at the MTech level, no language lab, no placement cell