With students eager to acquire new skill sets that are also relevant to job market needs, Indian universities have been battling it out to see who among them can best provide meaningful research and internship opportunities. Delivering job-ready candidates having the requisite hands-on experience can be quite challenging in a country suffering from a severe skills-gap vis-à-vis industry needs. However, Kalasalingam University (KLU) seems to have the answers to this puzzle and is surely leading the pack with their innovative strategies in the higher education space.
Established over three decades ago, the university was granted deemed university status in 2006 along with an accreditation by NAAC and NBC for its various engineering programs. The university has also obtained an ISO certification from RWTUV, Germany. Over the years, Kalasalingam University has opened multiple research centers, collaborated with foreign universities for twinning programs, and started practical schools to promote industry awareness and part-time courses for working professionals at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
With respect to foreign university tie-ups, KLU students are sent regularly on exchange programmes to institutions such as Soongsil University and Hannam University in Korea. Every semester, three to five students are sent to present papers at conferences abroad. In another tie-up with Tessolve, a semiconductor engineering services company based in Bengaluru and Coimbatore, KLU faculty are trained by the company and students get to intern for a stipend during the third semester. The students are then evaluated jointly by Tessolve and KLU and qualified students are employed by the company. Given their market sensitivity, KLU strives to ensure a smooth transition to the workplace for its students.
The university also ensures a dynamic academic environment for its faculty with ample scope for innovation. KLU allows researchers in its laboratories the flexibility to even make changes in the syllabus if they find something new and interesting. Recently, a portable toilet which could be used by deep sea fishermen ensuring their safety and also hygiene was designed and patented by the faculty of KLU. One of its most accomplished professors, Dr. M Swaminathan was recently awarded Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) by Cambridge for his outstanding research contributions in photochemistry, photocatalysis, environmental remediation, green chemistry and methanol fuel cells.
Stressing on the need for transparency in administrative governance, KLU has a unique Student Information System (SIS) through which all the students' academic requirements are made available to them, their parents and their local guardians in one database. This elaborate network lists students' performances semester-wise, with credits and attendance details on every course recorded, making reference a lot easier. "We believe in using technology to instill more effectiveness on the part of the teachers and simplify processes of learning for the students," says S. Saravana Sankar, vice chancellor, KLU.
Among its well-known research centers include the TIFAC-CORE in Network Engineering (TCNE), Centre for Biotechnology, Centre for Composite Materials and Centre for Multifunctional Material Research. Kalasalingam University was the first institution in the country to get n-CARDMATH, with a view to promoting research, development and advanced training in Discrete Mathematics. Inaugurated by Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the initiative is aimed at setting up a National Centre for Advanced Research in Discrete Mathematics. KLU also houses the state’s first Center of Academic Excellence for Data Science & Big Data Analytics, specifically for the benefit of B.Tech students to do international certification programmes.
Kalasalingam University organised, along with The International Institute for Knowledge Management (TIIKM), a two-day international conference on Nano science and Nano technology (ICNSNT- 16) at Colombo recently. A memorandum of understanding was also renewed to make KLU as academic partner and for both institutes’ collaborative research initiatives.