COER: Nurturing innovation for a better future

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J C Jain

COER is fully conscious that current syllabi of various programmes are archaic in nature. Therefore, there is a strong need to supplement learning through innovative means to make passing out graduates industry-ready, says J C Jain, Chairman, College of Engineering, Roorkee (COER) in a tete-a-tete with Souvik Goswami of Elets News Network (ENN).

Give us an overview of the College of Engineering, Roorkee (COER).

The College of Engineering Roorkee, one of the oldest colleges in this region, was established in 1998 by Seth Roshan Lal Trust. It has a glorious past of pursuing excellence in teaching and research in Engineering & Technology and Management as well as sports and other curricular activities. The college supports excellence and innovation in academic programmes, promotes excellence in research, scholarship and teaching. COER is committed to support and motivate the best students and teachers who excel in their respective fields. Various programmes in COER are approved by AICTE, New Delhi.

The COER campus has a scenic beauty with its 75 acres of lush green lawns and meticulously constructed infrastructure. Fully facilitated classrooms, laboratories, computer centre, Internet Lab, spacious auditorium, well equipped library, hostels, Centers of Excellence, and Do It Yourself (DIY) lab add abundantly to the profile of COER.

Haridwar is all set for transformation for next Maha Kumbh 2021. How do you think an institute like yours can contribute to the region’s growth in the education sector in this context?

As you know, Kumbh Mela, which is celebrated every 12 years in any of the four cities of India and draws millions of people, is possibly the largest known congregation of humans on earth. Thus, during Maha Kumbh 2021, Haridwar region will become more crowded, more consuming, more polluting, and more connected. The question is if it’s possible to satisfy pilgrims’ needs of this much scale. Also, what should be done now and in near future to ensure the basic needs for water, sanitation, nutrition, health, safety of pilgrims.

College of Engineering, Roorkee (COER) is already contributing enough in these areas. COERians have established their presence not only in academics but humanitarian fields as well. Many students voluntarily work in NGOs for the help of underprivileged people of the region. Continuous contribution in various fields have made us stand on a firm-footing from where we can say with proud that we have the capabilities to build an eminent reputation not only in the education sector but for contribution in the regional and national development too.

Kumbh Mela is also prone to disastrous situations, wherein COER offers its physical resources, campus and infrastructure for whatever Government of Uttarakhand deems fit and utilise to alleviate the suffering for masses. COER with its committed and competent faculty can also contribute to the largest extent should there be need in any eventuality. If a huge population is concentrated in limited areas, it could lead to manmade/natural disasters. COER can contribute in the following manner towards preparedness for the Kumbh Mela:

  •  Setting up communications and surveillance stations.
  • Planning and executing route management to avoid congestion at bathing Ghats.
  • Control center to monitor movement of important persons/ teams etc.
  • Establishment of digital platforms as part of command and control Setup.
  • Warning stage helipad and rescue centers at COER campus. It can also act as advance storage area of equipment.

In case of disaster, COER can actually work as:

  • Camps (Relief and Rehabilitation)
  • Medical emergency units.

In terms of curriculum, how are you ensuring that passing out graduates are industry-ready?

COERians undergo complete personality grooming during their course’s duration. The curriculum is designed to make them industry-ready. Students get involved in practicals of each and every new concept they study. To supplement the learning and inspire research oriented learning and entrepreneurship, DIY is there. Industrial visits, tours and interaction with guest lectures add new dimension to learning and making people industry-ready. Various centers of excellence provide real time and hands on experience to be in sync with the latest in market.

How is your institute leveraging innovation and technology when it comes to imparting education?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a recent programme remarked that the focus needs to shift from quantity to quality of education; and technology can be a significant driver of quality education so that students can be provided a holistic and interactive learning experience can make our students future-ready. COER is fully conscious that current syllabi of various programmes are archaic in nature and therefore there is a strong need to supplement learning through innovative means to make passing out graduates industry ready.

In this regard, COER has following means in place:

  1. Transaction of existing syllabi is padded with latest research and practices on the subject by the faculty members.
  2. Through means of visits and tours to industrial establishment, the latest is shared with those who are actually practicing the envisioned learning outcome.
  3. Labs at COER have been totally upgraded with latest equipments which are in sync with current technologies. l DIY lab promotes innovation culture and inspires entrepreneurship.
  4. A number of centers of excellence within campus enable students to fully integrate with technology and practices in different arena of industry through hands on experiences.
  5. The research cell at COER undertakes current projects and tools forward to create patents. Centers of Excellence in COER envisages leveraging technology and various applications to improve student-learning outcomes, assisting teachers through ICT enabled classrooms, building teachers’ capacity using online and offline platforms for teacher training, creating and providing digital content for the entire education system. These technologies are upgrading the learning experience to become more immersive and interactive, allowing students to go beyond textbooks and classroom walls to fuel their curiosity.

What are the challenges of running an educational institution?

COER is recognised as an institution with values and commitment since we envision growth and development of India through current nurturing of youth. To develop and maintain an institution (Engineering & Management College) requires both initial capital expenditure as well as recurring upgradation and maintenance and thus in the absence of supportive policies and support from government, it does become a difficult task. Endeavours should be made to provide required wherewithal to promote learning, and all-round development.

So, maintaining a harmonious balance is a challenge for all the educational institutes. COER is also all set to take its flight in upcoming couple of years with a determined vision, mission and objectives. The days are not too far when the flag of COER will continuously stand firmly and sway/hoist with pride in the education sector of the nation and the world.

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