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Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST)

IIEST director flags need for artificial intelligence and robotics courses

Appeals to alumni to pitch in

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 31.12.23, 06:34 AM
IIEST, Shibpur

IIEST, Shibpur

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The director of IIEST, Shibpur said on the occasion of the institute’s alumni day on Saturday that the 165-year-old college will lag behind newer institutes if it does not introduce programmes in fields like artificial intelligence and robotics.

The institute cannot “just live in the past”, director Parthasarathi Chakrabarti said.


“Given the changing scenario of technology, the institute needs to change all these programmes we are running. Time and again I have said in several meetings of the senate that this is the age of artificial intelligence and we have to bring in AI. Courses on non-conventional energy and robotics have to be brought in. If we cannot do this and if we cannot change with the changing technical scenario, others will go ahead,” the officiating director said in his address.

“You just cannot live in the past. We are a great institution and we have a legacy of 165 years. All of us need to understand.”

Director Chakrabarti appealed to the alumni to extend help and give direction in launching advanced programmes.

“I appeal to all these alumni who are spread across the globe and serving in different institutes. Come forward. It is not the money that the institute is looking for. You give the guidance on how these courses are to be modified. Come forward and be an integral part of the institute. Then things will change,” the director told the gathering of former students.

“Otherwise, we will keep saying we are not doing enough. The institute is declining.”

A decline in IIEST Shibpur’s national ranking drew sharp criticism from the alumni in the recent past. Over 4,200 former students of IIEST Shibpur signed an online petition in August 2022 calling for steps to arrest the slide.

The Global Alumni Association of IIEST Shibpur, which celebrated the 10th Alumni Day on Saturday, gathered feedback from former students in July 2022 on ways to improve the institute’s standards.

California-based Swapan Saha, who had floated the online petition last year, told The Telegraph in a text message: “Global alumni are ready to collaborate with IIEST administration in updating the curriculum to meet evolving demands in AI, Machine Learning, Robotics, and Sustainability.”

The former president of the Global Alumni Association, Anjana Ganguly Ray, who attended Saturday’s programme said: “While it is fine to launch advanced courses, we would want the director to effectively run the existing courses which are suffering for want of teachers and infrastructure in laboratories.”

“What would be the use of adding newer courses if we cannot take care of what are basic issues.”

Teachers at IIEST Shibpur had written to the director in late November imploring him to “redirect attention to more pressing matters like basic infrastructure, restoration of critical research facilities” to ensure normal academic activities.

Tapendu Mandal, the secretary of the teachers’ association, said: “Many students are being forced to stay in rented PG accommodation because of lack of hostel facilities. Research is suffering as high-end machines are not functional because the institute is not paying for the annual maintenance contracts.”

The director in his address admitted that the institute was encountering problems of maintenance.

He said now that the CPWD (central public works department) has set up its office they were hopeful that maintenance issues will be resolved.

Last updated on 31.12.23, 06:34 AM

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