The Isha–Mahendra Higher Education Partnership: Progress So Far
With Isha Foundation’s success and experience with initiatives such as Isha Vidhya and Isha Home School, moving towards higher education was a natural step. In an attempt to improve the quality of higher education, Isha Education joined hands with the Mahendra Educational Trust (MET) in May 2012, to improve the quality of education offered in their institutions. Mahendra Educational Trust is a respected group of institutions that includes engineering colleges, an arts & science college, polytechnic colleges, teacher training institutes, and high schools in and around Salem, Namakkal and Thiruchengode, in Tamil Nadu. Isha’s role is to help enhance major processes ranging from admission to the teaching-learning process, industry-focused training and placement. Our involvement included teaming up with corporate companies to enhance employability, innovation, and research & development.
We bring you some highlights of the progress made so far. Isha has strived to bring about a few industry interventions for Mahendra’s educational institutions.
MoU with L&T Construction
Formwork is the backbone of construction activity. In any project, formwork – which constitutes 10% of the cost of the RCC structure but involves 60% of the time – decides the duration, quality and safety of the project. However, the subject does not get its due in the curriculums of Civil Engineering courses.
The construction industry needs dedicated engineers who are skilled in handling sophisticated formwork systems and these specialists are usually nurtured by companies. In order to provide students with an opportunity to learn this subject, it was included in the syllabus the Civil Engineering course so that basic knowledge on formwork is made available.
The construction giant, L&T Construction designed a 140-hour curriculum for the final year students that Mahendra was happy to accept. Facilitated by Isha, an MoU was signed to this effect, and is in place for the next five years. This would be a huge value addition to the students, preparing them for industry conditions. Currently, a batch of 60 students and 6 members of faculty are undergoing the training.
IBM software training
Thanks to Isha’s effort in bringing in quality industry interventions, the software giant IBM has showed interest in training students of the computer science and information technology department at Mahendra. Training was conducted for a batch of 80 students and 20 members of faculty. Based on results, IBM will consider entering into an MoU to set up a Center of Excellence at Mahendra.
The ACC cement plant near Coimbatore was generous enough to host close to 200 students from the Mechanical, EEE and Civil Engineering disciplines to expose them to their industry practices. The students were extremely interested and expressed interest in doing projects at the plant. Similar visits are planned in the future as well and will include the manufacturing units of L&T Switch Gears, Roots India, CRI Pumps, Ampere Electric among others.
Mr. Narayanan Rajagopal, Senior Engineer, TCS Power systems, an experienced electrical engineer from TCS Power Systems visited Mahendra in September to share his experiences in power transmission and distribution, which greatly inspired the almost 60 students who heard him. About 10 final year EEE students expressed willingness to learn more and do projects with TCS Power Systems.