A chat with Dr Suresh Ukrande, Principal K. J. Somaiya Institute of Engineering & Information Technology on the college being conferred Best College Award for the Academic Year 2018-19 by the University of Mumbai.
1. How does it feel to win the ‘Best College in the City’ award?
It’s an absolute honour. Especially, being awarded by the University of Mumbai makes it a very proud moment as the University has been on the forefront for bringing out reformations in the Indian education system.
I am grateful to the University of Mumbai and its officialdom for recognizing the enormous amount of efforts we, at K. J. Somaiya Institute of Engineering & Information Technology, Sion, Mumbai (KJSIEIT), have put into the work. As an educational organization, we always strive to make a positive difference in the society through the mass of quality engineers, innovators, leaders and contributing citizens we produce. To be recognised in this regard feels great and the award goes to all the dedicated teaching and non-teaching staff of the institute. In fact, the strategy that has driven us to success in all our initiatives is teamwork and involvement of all faculty and staff members in various activities of the college. By providing an equal growth opportunity to each team member, the organization grows!
I want to thank the Management, Governing Body, Faculties, Staff, Students, Alumni and all the stakeholders for their contributions and everything they do for the growth of KJSIEIT. This award is an inspiration for us to keep moving ahead with pace and create a national impact through education.
2. Can you please share what does your college do differently to constantly achieve such prestigious awards?
You don’t exactly work for an award; you keep doing your duty honestly & sincerely, and it follows.
Established under the prestigious Somaiya Vidyavihar Trust in the year 2001, K. J. Somaiya Institute of Engineering and Information Technology (KJSIEIT), Sion, Mumbai is a premier engineering institute approved by AICTE, DTE, Government of Maharashtra, recognized by UGC under section 2 (f) and 12 (B) of the UGC Act, 1956 and is permanently affiliated to the University of Mumbai. It is accredited with ‘A’ Grade by the National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC) of India for 5 years with a CGPA of 3.21 and has 3 programmes accredited by National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
KJSIEIT is conscious of the need to align its educational and student development plans with national goals. Along with providing state-of-the-art infrastructure, we endeavour for all-round development of the students along with excellence in academics such that they can address the issues faced by the society through technology.
To nurture the inquisitive minds of students, KJSIEIT offers several platforms like Centre of Excellence in RPA, Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC), Software Development Cell, Extension Centre of Research Innovation Incubation Design Labs (RiiDL) – Somaiya Vidyavihar and several Student Cells and Clubs like Infinite Loop, Robotics Cell, New Leap Initiative, etc.
With an objective to build overall competency of students, the college organizes several co-curricular and extra-curricular activities like student development programmes, technical festivals, cultural festivals, sports festivals, competitions, etc., has affiliation to various professional bodies for student chapters and faculty chapters, offers finishing school programmes to strengthen Training & Placement, etc.
The Industry-Institute Interaction, as well as the Research & Development culture, is immense. The college has a large number of MoUs with industries that offer and facilitate internships, industrial visits, organization of job fairs and industry-supported development programmes. To enhance the R&D culture, the college has undertaken several live projects in collaboration with industries, organizes International Conference annually, provides seed fund to students and faculties for development of research projects and promotes student and faculty interaction with the outside world as well as participation in events organized by external entities.
Considering how the newer technological prospects and digitalization being facilitated by Artificial Intelligence are driving the major social and economic transformations, KJSIEIT is offering a Master’s Programme in Artificial Intelligence – M.E. (A.I.). The programme is designed keeping in mind the current needs and skillset required for applying AI in diverse domains, designing and implementing AI solutions, and improvising the existing solutions into AI-based solutions.
Since teachers are pivotal in any educational system, KJSIEIT organizes several technical and pedagogical training programmes for faculties throughout the year to ensure that they remain updated with state-of-the-art technologies & developments.
The college is also active in imbibing the social responsibility among students through like activities blood donation camps, training rural children, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, road safety seminars, adopting villages, etc. under NSS unit, green club activities, helping hand scheme for financially weak students, voter’s awareness drive, yoga & aerobics sessions to spread the message of fitness, etc.
In a nutshell, the college toils to produce multi-skilled industry-ready engineers and best humans with qualities like integrity, ethics, decisiveness, accountability, etc. through an array of innovation-driven technical, professional, cultural, sports and community engagement activities.
3. Could you share, what is your approach towards education in college?
Technology is evolving at an unprecedented pace; it has entered into classrooms as well. Students have grown with continuous access to the internet. In this technological era, our approach is to provide the students with practical, application-based education. We are creating new learning paths by providing a multidisciplinary perspective and developing engineers who can analyse the real-world problems as well as address it through innovation.
At KJSIEIT, we teach students to learn, unlearn and relearn, and think of creative technological solutions. We ensure to provide hands-on learning and upskill the students on essential communication, critical thinking, decision making, leadership and collaboration skills – the attributes that are required for all job roles and to be ready for the future world of work and business.
Understanding the connection between the innovative learning environment offered and the proficiency of the students, the college focuses on outcome-based education, emphasizes project-based learning, accentuates usage of ICT for teaching-learning and has adopted various innovative teaching methodologies to offer the very best learning experience to the students. The college also motivates the students to take up online certification programmes hosted on SWAYAM – a platform for Massive Open Online Courses by Government of India.
Also, as a frontrunner in technical education, the institute has a Wi-Fi enabled campus, Audio-Visual aids, state-of-the-art amenities and laboratories to augment the learning experience. In the direction of progressive empowerment strategies among many best practices, we have an integrated digital library with E-access facility, making KJSIEIT a storehouse of knowledge on recent technical trends.
By leveraging synergies between in teaching-learning and innovation, we ensure following cutting-edge trends in education for global competency.
4. Can you name some interesting innovations that the students or the faculty have done this year?
The students and faculties of KJSIET have always been keen to picture a better India by developing innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems in society. There is a ton of buzz about their innovations addressing diverse sectors like:
• Agricultural Research
• Sustainable Environment
• Rural Development
• Societal Need
• Robotics and Drones
• Security and Surveillance
• Waste Management
• Sanitation and Hygiene
• Smart Cities
• Smart Education
• Life Sciences
• Smart Communication
• Smart Vehicles
• Mobile Applications
• Web Applications, etc.
They’ve been developing solutions with technological bedrocks like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Internet of Things, Wireless Communication, Image Processing, Information Security, Network Security, Optical Communication, Satellite Communication, Remote Sensing, Earth Science, Antenna Homebrew, Microcontrollers, Embedded Systems, etc.
As an outcome, recently, our students have been winning accolades and prizes like:
• Kerala Government Engineering Design National Award in the year 2019
• 1st Prize in Smart India Hackathon 2019 organized by MHRD
• 2nd Rank in National Level Working Model Contest IET-KARMAVEER EXPO 2018
• Appreciation from NASA and Amateur Radio on International Space Station in the year 2019
• Student of the Year (Higher & Technical Education) Award from Somaiya Trust in year 2018
• Outstanding Boy Student (Higher and Technical Education) Award from Somaiya Trust in the year 2018
• Star Student (Girl) Award from Somaiya Trust in the year 2019
• Star Innovator Award from Somaiya Trust in the year 2019
• Best Student Project Award from Computer Society of India (CSI) in the year 2019
• Student of the Year Award by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the year 2018, etc.
I am happy to share that for inculcating the innovation culture in the institute and several other impactful initiatives, I have been conferred:
• Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan National Award for Best Engineering College Principal for the year 2019 by
Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE)
• Best Principal of the Year Award for the year 2018 & 2019 by Computer Society of India (CSI)
• Best Engineering College Principal Award for the year 2017 by Indian Society for Technical Education
(ISTE), Maharashtra and Goa Section
For encouraging and mentoring these innovations, the faculties of the institute have also been presented awards and accolades by various reputed bodies. In the last 5 years, the faculties have received more than 50 grants for their minor/major research projects.
KJSIEIT has established the Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) under MHRD’s Innovation Cell (MIC) to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at Institute level. Throughout the year, the IIC conducts several innovation-related Seminars, Workshops, Mini-Challenges, Idea Competitions, Hackathons, PoC competition to create and nurture student innovators.
Based on the performance for the year 2018-19, MHRD’s Innovation Cell has awarded KJSIEIT – IIC as:
• One of the Top 25 IICs in the Nation (among 952 IIICs) and
• One of the Top 3 IICs in Western/WRO Zone (among 159 IICs)
KJSIEIT prodigiously encourages, inspires and nurtures young minds of students by supporting them to work with new ideas and transform them into prototypes as well as products thus creating a vibrant innovation ecosystem in the institute.
5. Could you please share, as to what inspires and motivates you?
The satisfaction of beholding the students progress in their careers and the way they adopt our teaching & preaching to contribute to society gives a purpose to work profoundly each day.
We are fortunate that our efforts have been recognized by various reputed bodies. In the last few years, we’ve been bestowed:
• Best Institute of the Year Award for the year 2019 & 2018 by Computer Society of India (CSI)
• Best Engineering College Award by Indian Society of Technical Education (ISTE) for the year 2018
• Best Academic Affiliate Partner Award by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Mumbai for the years 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016
• Platinum Category Rank for the year 2019 and 2018 and Gold Category Rank for the year 2017 and 2016 by AICTE-CII IndPact Survey
• 3rd, 9th and 12th Rank in the year 2018, 2017 and 2015 respectively at National Level Robocon Contest
• 1st Prize in National Homebrew VHF Antenna Contest organized by Lamakaan Amateur Radio Club in the year 2019
• Winners of Lander Mission Design Contest – Touch the Jovian Moon conducted by LPSC, ISRO in the year 2018
• 2nd Prize for Annual Magazine AURA Yashwantrao Chavan State Level Magazine Competition in the year 2018
• Appreciation as Active Local Chapter by NPTEL and awarded ‘AA’ Grade twice
There are several other achievements that our college, faculties and students have bagged and these recognitions serve as great encouragement and motivation.
We derive our prime inspiration from our Chairman Shri Samir Somaiya, Secretary Hon. Lt. Gen. Jagbir Singh, Provost Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai and the entire Somaiya Vidyavihar Trust and Management. It is their support and encouragement that inspires us to take up newer initiatives in various dimensions, educate the leaders of the world of tomorrow, ensure best outcomes and influence the future on the basis of our Founder Padmabhushan (Late) Pujya Shri Karamshibhai J. Somaiya’s motto “Knowledge alone Liberates”.